February 21, 2007

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HORSESHIT?

Whenever I think about global warming predictions, I can't help but remember Michael Crichton's Analogy of the Horses:

Let's think back to people in 1900 in, say, New York. If they worried about people in 2000, what would they worry about? Probably: Where would people get enough horses? And what would they do about all the horseshit? Horse pollution was bad in 1900, think how much worse it would be a century later, with so many more people riding horses?

But of course, within a few years, nobody rode horses except for sport. And in 2000, France was getting 80% its power from an energy source that was unknown in 1900. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Japan were getting more than 30% from this source, unknown in 1900. Remember, people in 1900 didn't know what an atom was. They didn't know its structure. They also didn't know what a radio was, or an airport, or a movie, or a television, or a computer, or a cell phone, or a jet, an antibiotic, a rocket, a satellite, an MRI, ICU, IUD, IBM, IRA, ERA, EEG, EPA, IRS, DOD, PCP, HTML, internet, interferon, instant replay, remote sensing, remote control, speed dialing, gene therapy, gene splicing, genes, spot welding, heat-seeking, bipolar, prozac, leotards, lap dancing, email, tape recorder, CDs, airbags, plastic explosive, plastic, robots, cars, liposuction, transduction, superconduction, dish antennas, step aerobics, smoothies, twelve-step, ultrasound, nylon, rayon, teflon, fiber optics, carpal tunnel, laser surgery, laparoscopy, corneal transplant, kidney transplant, AIDS… None of this would have meant anything to a person in the year 1900. They wouldn't know what you are talking about.

Now. You tell me you can predict the world of 2100. Tell me it's even worth thinking about. Our models just carry the present into the future. They're bound to be wrong. Everybody who gives a moment's thought knows it.

I've always thought there was a solution to global warming that we can't even fathom yet. Some energy source that will become so cheap and so available that we won't need oil and won't even remember when we relied on it. We'll scoff at oil the way we scoff at horses.

My husband is waiting for Mr. Fusion. Maybe we're closer than we think?

SCI-FI to SCI-FACT: Plasma Converter

I'd love to think that someday our discussions of oil and landfills will be moot. I have faith in science and capitalism to make that dream a reality.

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CURRENT EVENTS

Over the weekend, I read a section of our local paper that reported on a fifth-grade school project. The children were asked to add one amendment to the Constitution. I was struck by two things: 1) how awful some of the ideas were and 2) how parrot-like others seemed. Lowering the voting age to 15, forcing people to recycle, and abolishing racism are just silly. I haven't spent much time with 11 year olds, so maybe I'm delusional in thinking they're capable of deeper thoughts than that. Surely they can understand basic concepts that make outlawing war and mandating jobs for everyone just not feasible. Right? Oh, who am I kidding: I fully expect my child to exit the womb with the mind of a 30 year old. This is really going to be rough for me.

But some of the more shocking amendments showed me just how much kids partially understand what's going on around them. One fifth grader came up with "Before the president can send troops into a war, he has to have a plan. And he has to share it with the country on CNN." Think she came up with that one on her own? Or the kid who said "Change the use of oil to corn juice. There's too much global warming now." Corn juice. He has gleaned something from the debate around him, but not enough to understand the subject. Thank heavens 15 year olds aren't voting.

Is it too much to ask that I'd hope that my kid would write "The Constitution should only be amended in extreme cases, never at the whim of fifth graders"? And that he could still get an A for that answer?

I started thinking about my imaginary kid and what I'd like his answer to be, and whether it'd make the paper, and how I'd blog about how proud I am of him. And then I realized that's 12 years from now, and how could I possibly still be blogging then...

Varifrank wrote today about how he's ending his blog as we know it. I've felt this was coming for a long time, not just from him but from everyone. How much longer will we all still want to hash out current events in this forum?

I, for one, don't see myself blogging in 12 years.

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February 19, 2007

SELFLESS SERVICE

On Valentine's Day, my husband reminded me that it was exactly three years ago that he left for Iraq. I can't believe how time flies. I told him that I was happy he wasn't leaving again this Valentine's Day, and he got a bittersweet look on his face and said, "I'm not..."

When people like Rangel and Murtha and Kerry say that the only reason people are in Iraq is because they can't get a better job, I wish they could meet people like my husband. There are soldiers like my husband who grieve at not being in Iraq. There are soldiers waiting for the day they can get out of Walter Reed so they can get back to their unit. They are not stupid, and it's not bloodlust either; they just take their Army values seriously.

He started his training this week, but so far they've just done the boring stuff like PT tests and jumping out of planes. My husband has qualified to learn Arabic or Farsi, so hopefully he'll get assigned one of those and he can get to work at being all he can be.

Did I mention I'm the luckiest wife in the world?

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February 14, 2007

WOW

I don't know how I missed this a month ago, but CaliValleyGirl pointed out the words from the MySpace of a soldier killed in Iraq. I really recommend reading what 2LT Daily had to say if you haven't already.

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February 11, 2007

RECYCLING

The German government charges the American armed forces for every pound of garbage that they dispose of, but they charge less for recycled materials than refuse. So, in an effort to reduce my "economic footprint" and save Uncle Sam some money, I dutifully washed plastic and cans and recycled every scrap of trash I could. I think my neighbors and friends thought that I was an Environmental Nut, but really I was just ticked that my government had to pay money to another government for my banana peels. Thus I breathed a huge sigh of relief when our plane landed back in the US so I could stop with the recycling nonsense. I haven't washed a piece of trash since.

LGF posted a Penn and Teller clip on the myths and complete bunk we've been fed for decades about the recycling movement. I highly recommend watching this show. There's a definite foul langage warning though, so maybe don't watch it while your kids toddle in and out of the room.

Now excuse me while I go put that empty Jim Beam bottle in the trash can.

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February 09, 2007

"IT'S NOT IRONIC. IT'S JUST COINCIDENTAL."

Via RWN via Polipundit:
Police chief's pick stuns black leaders: Whitman names Hispanic to head special operations

It doesn't get any more karmic than this, folks. The Black Police Officers Association is furious that a qualified black woman was passed over for a qualified Hispanic. There aren't any Hispanics in leadership yet, so this was affirmative action at its definition. But because it was at the expense of a black candidate, it's "a travesty."

This is what happens when skin color is allowed to matter more than who can best do the job. I have no idea who would be the best division chief here, but when it becomes more important to have a collector's set of races in leadership rather than actually valuing, uh, leadership, then we're all screwed.

MORE:

An excellent comment on Polipundit's post:

Diversity?

I have searched for a long time to find out what the value of diversity is per se and I have never had an answer. It has been like Diogenes walking the street of Athens looing for an honest man.He emphasized the point by walking with a lantern in daylight.

Presumably diversity broadens an outlook by exposing people to other perspectives etc. I have never seen this to be the case. Outside of cuisine what do most people know or care about China or any other culture. There are people of course who know all about specific facets of a culture such as the mosaics on Persian rugs, ceramics from India, etc. But the vast majority of people know little and care less and I don’t see them in anyway impoversied emotionally, physically, or spiritually.

I always mocked the denizens from NYC who claimed to be cultured as contrasted to the “rubes” from Middle America or from anywhere in New York State north of Poughkipsee. Their idea of culture was to be able to claim to be from NYC wherein you will find museums, opera houses, etc. They never spent an afternoon contemplating a Van Gogh etc.

You won’t learn anything new about physics, chemistry, geography, etc from diversity and most moral codes are the same the world over. The great aspect of America is that diversity becomes blunted when one becomes an American. It was always this way and being an American was something to brag about and not something to be hyphenated.

The old days were better. Straight ahead

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