The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life     
. . . still studying and learning how to live
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Personal Reflections ... Politics ...

ON A PERSONAL NOTE: I wanted to have a “quasi-feminine” weekend: gardening, baking cupcakes, writing about feelings and spirituality for my blog . . . but instead I had to shift into maximum male mode. I got into a minor anger tiff with my brother, and I had to troubleshoot a CPU fan failure on my home computer. I started humming “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” to myself while driving up to the computer super-store on Monday morning, looking for a replacement CPU heat sink cooling assembly — I was thinking about the B-52 scenes from Dr. Strangelove after the crew received the “go code” and headed off to attack Russia.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to ride the rodeo-bull H-bomb into oblivion like Slim Pickens, nor did my computer blow up like that bomb (and I also didn’t wear a cowboy hat while fixing my computer). By Monday evening, my computer was back in action with a goodly amount of cooling capacity, keeping the CPU unit from self-destructing (like the CRM-114 communication device did in Strangelove, the movie plot device that blocked the recall signal that could have saved the world). Oh, and I had a beer with my brother after I got my computer back in shape, and so I cooled that overheated situation down too.

Now, on to the fun stuff, some POLITICAL PONDERINGS:

FIRST: Trump is such a bad Presidential candidate that he would only have a prayer of winning if he faced an abysmally bad opponent, someone clearly worse than any of the various people that the Democratic and Republican parties have proposed to the public over the past generation or two for the nation’s highest office. And Hillary Clinton is such a bad Presidential candidate that she could only think about winning  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:33 pm       Read Comments (4) / Leave a Comment
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Public Policy ... Technology ... Weather ...

The world today is a really, really complicated place, and it’s hard sometimes to figure out what makes it better and what makes it worse. One confusing issue regards natural gas as a major energy source. There are some big disagreements as to whether we should encourage or discourage the production and use of natural gas. On the plus side for natural gas: as with petroleum and coal, it’s a practical way to provide energy where ever and whenever you like, in large or small quantities; it can be stored without energy loss; it’s relatively cheap and easy to produce, especially given newer drilling technologies such as fracking; there is plenty of it in the USA and in many other places around the world; and it burns relatively cleanly, without smoke and with half the carbon dioxide by-product that coal emits per unit of energy obtained (e.g. the BTU), and 2/3 of what oil emits.

Natural gas requires infrastructure to safely utilize, e.g. a network of storage tanks and pipelines and pumping stations — but most of that already exists in the US. It’s not quite as portable as a petroleum product (e.g. gasoline and diesel fuel), given that gas is harder to contain than a liquid. Thus, natural gas may not be a good fuel for most transportation needs, although there are some buses and trucks that can utilize it. But for many uses including home heating, power generation and commercial/industrial processes, it seems to be superior to both coal and oil.

Given that human-made climate change is now widely recognized and accepted as a real and significant phenomenon, a phenomenon that could have very costly and disrupting effects on human civilization in the coming decades; and also given that climate change is largely driven by carbon emissions from fossil fuel use, it would seem that we should encourage  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 5:22 pm       Read Comments (2) / Leave a Comment
Thursday, May 19, 2016
History ... Photo ... Society ...

“What’s this?”, you of a younger persuasion might ask upon viewing this picture. Why, this is what the 1960’s looked like! (The 1970’s too, but they were kind of depressing for being mostly a lethargic, warmed-over version of the 1960s.) These here are the remains of honest-to-goodness phone booths! Yes, once upon a time, people in public places depended upon coin-operated telephones to stay in touch with the world. And “Ma Bell”, which is what we lovingly called the AT&T telephone monopoly back then, generously provided its patrons with a glass-enclosed private area (a “phone booth”) with a small seat (which you can see here) and a little desk surface just beneath the phone box.  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:32 am       Read Comment (1) / Leave a Comment
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Current Affairs ... Politics ...

All I have tonight are some random thoughts — admittedly I haven’t had many inspiring insights to share here lately. So for now, I’m just going to blurt out a handful of things from the top of my head. I’m not going to try to justify them with cites to other sources and articles, I’m not going to dig deeper as I usually try to do. Hopefully I can get back to that soon.

So . . . . these are my unstructured thoughts on the national political situation as of today. Again, I apologize in advance, this will not be one of my better posts.

I’m going to talk about Trump vs. Clinton . . . wow, what a lousy choice!!! Has America ever been given a worse choice between Presidential candidates? If you are grinding a partisan axe, which a lot of people are, then I’m sure that you disagree. Perhaps you see Secretary Clinton’s candidacy as “historic destiny” given that she would be the first female President; perhaps you believe that Clinton will continue the march  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:24 pm       Read Comments (2) / Leave a Comment
Saturday, May 7, 2016
History ... Spirituality ...

Here’s a bit of East meets West. Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Torah, has a line that was favored by the industrial-era European and Euro-American entrepreneurs who exploited the riches of the natural world so as to provide the human species (well, the better-off portion of that species) with vast amounts of wealth and comfort. That line is found at Genesis 1:26. I’m going to quote the line from the plain-vanilla New Revised Standard Version of the Bible:

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

This line was probably written by the Torah’s Priestly source sometime in the 6th Century BCE in ancient Israel.

So, this writing reflected the mindset of a very early Jewish tribal tradition on the far eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. But over the many centuries of Euro-Mediterranean history, the Torah was co-opted by the westward and northwardly expanding Christian religion, which integrated the Pentateuch into the Christian Bible; it thus became part of the heritage of Europe. Once science and technology started to revolutionize  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 12:27 pm       Read Comment (1) / Leave a Comment
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