Wednesday, May 3, 2017

COAL ANYONE?

Ab opinion piece by Michael Bloomberg in the May 2 Washington post is titled:

TRUMP'S PROMISE TO BRING BACK COAL IS WORSE THAN A CON'

Knowledgable energy people will fully agree. Coal cannot compete with natural gas, which is available in prodigious amounts, worldwide. Some, possibly much of it, is theorized to be not of fossil origin, but came from a component of the atmosphere in early days of Earth's formation. It got trapped in underground fissures as did carbon dioxide and other gases, and methane also got dissolved in hot brine deposits in huge amounts. Coal plants are rapidly being retired from service and are being replaced by  natural gas and renewable sources. In the latter, there are a lot more jobs than coal mining. Ten times more.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

SPACE TRAVELERS ALL

Long before any human sets foot on Mars, you will be able to explore Mars and the moon virtually, in your living room, or perhaps, at lesser expense, in a Starbuck's type venue, as there are opportunities for big bucks to be made. 

You will don a helmet with a view screen and delve into, and navigate google maps, just as though you were there. You will be alone, though the worlds will be swarming with other explorers. Eventually other planets, Saturn's moons, will be open for exploration. Would-be astronauts won't leave a mark behind, nor any other residue from the visit. 

This is one of the next big technological developments, and will probably quell all desire and expense of space travel and promote better care of unique Earth, maybe the only place humans can call home.


Friday, April 28, 2017

NEW AGE

I wonder, what with forty-one dictatorships around the world, and a wannabe in the White House, whether one day historians will look upon this time as THE ERA OF THE ASCENDANCY OF THE PASKUDNYAKS.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

SECOND COMING

Author’s note: Trill is a fictional female acquaintance who makes it possible towrite in a style that is comfortable for me’

My Dear Trill,

This day, the celebration of a specfic resurrection that is written to have occurred in biblical times - a return to life after death  -  often takes on a broader meaning. “Coming back to life” can be a  renewal in any number of ways. We live in a time when ten disparate nations are in possession of over  sixteen thousand nuclear bombs. Some of the governments are headed by lunatics. Somehow, if civilization is to survive, things must change.
I cannot blame you for being apprehensive about the future, much less be sanguine. Historically there have been other times of stressed relations, misunderstandings, rise of empire building despots, and consequent wars. I am reminded today of the famous work, written in 1919 (following WWI) by William Butler Yeats


THE SECOND COMING 

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer; 
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; 
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, 
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned; 
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity. 

Surely some revelation is at hand; 
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi 
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep 
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? 


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Look for the Trump administration seeking a subsidy for coal burning power plants because they cannot compete with natural gas, which is available in prodigious amounts. Also, wind energy is cost competitive with coal to install and far cheaper to operate.

Trouble ahead in the White House with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner put in charge of a number of efforts, including foreign affairs. Whoa! Does that mean that the Secretary of State reports to Jared, and not the  president?

Trump's reversal of environmental control measures will create an uproar. Many jobs now depend on climate change abatement.

Common sense will eventually drive the legislature to provide medicare for all. One administrative system, modest charge, everyone covered. Rebates if don't use it and take care of health. A healthier nation. Everyone wins.

Friday, March 24, 2017

DECEPTION AND DEAL MAKING

Author's note. Trill is a fictional female acquaintance who makes it possible to write in a style that is comfortable for me.


My Dear Trill,

You write that you are despondent, confused by a churning world that has escaped your understanding. You are  not alone.
Commercial interests, a universal drive to encourage  people to consume and acquire possessions, is the engine of what is called progress. Rather than being guided, it operates by pushing boundaries as far as they can be pushed without breaking. You see this in television, which has largely become a medium for huckstering, even making a game of it, for example, and its adoption of the disgraceful role as the nation's greatest drug pusher (“see your doctor”).
Then there is the matter of utter falsehoods being foisted upon an entire population. Sad and troubling  is the election of a professional huckster to lead the country; a man with the reputation as a “deal maker” with a background in casinos, steaks delivered to your door, wine, golf courses, real estate, a failed  “university” (  a practiced liar, as if it isn’t commonly known that this is a necessaary attribute for deal making), and no governing experience at all: a man empty of empathy. We have elected a president who is skilled, howver, in pushing the boundaries, The worry now is that a mis-step could easily  take the nation into war. It appears that he has already given up the role as leader of the free world to Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany.
The marginal quality of our new President is common  knowledge, and draws much   critical commentary, a sample of which is illustrated by Richard Cohen’s recent opinion piece in the New York Times. Quote:
“If a budget can be a portrait of a soul, then this president’s is arid and shriveled. It is filled with contempt for the needy. Here is a man dismissive of the arts, the environment, the humanities, diplomacy, peacekeeping, science, public education and civilian national service — in short, civilization itself. If he could defund goodness he would. Charity is also ripe for the ax. Creativity needs skewering. Giving is weakness. All that counts are acquisitive instinct, walls and bans (of the kind that keep mother and son apart), displays of power, and the frisson of selective cruelty that lay behind his successful TV show. Everyone is now Donald Trump’s apprentice, at least as he sees it.”
How far this intrusion on Democracy, behaving more like a kleptocracy, will be allowed to go on is a matter of conjecture. My guess is that by mid-year the President will show signs of tiring of a job he doesn’t really understand, which is not meant to be styled to be run by deception and deal making, and the people will be really tired of him.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

SPACE TRAVELERS

      When you think about it, human space exploration is akin to dolphins leaping out of the water. Contrast this with fact that we are already space travelers, tooling around the sun once a year at 30km per second. We even grow our own food. 
      Further, our spaceship moves along with the solar system in its orbit around the galaxy, at 230 km sec. which occurs once every 230 million years. 
      Rockets can hardly match what exists in the cosmos.