Friday, December 19, 2014

Global Warming:Degrees of Heat Transfer

Radiation is the transfer of energy between two objects by electromagnetic waves. Heat radiates from the ground into the air of the atmosphere.

In conduction, heat moves from areas of more heat to areas of less heat by direct contact. Warmer molecules vibrate rapidly and collide with other nearby molecules, transferring their energy. In the atmosphere, conduction is more effective at lower altitudes, where air density is higher. This transfers heat upward to where the molecules are spread further apart or transfers heat laterally from a warmer to a cooler spot, where the molecules are moving less vigorously.

Heat transfer by movement of heated fluids and air is called convection. Heat that radiates from the ground initiates convection in the atmosphere

Note: I save good money by applying the use of thermal insulation in my home. The walls and attic are the obvious places insulated to slow down the ‘conduction’ of heat. The double pane windows are also provided with a thermal barrier. Argon fills the air space between the double panes. It slows down the transfer of heat by slowing the rate of heat ‘convection’.

In the atmosphere, the 'solar' shortwave radiation that has hit and warmed the Earth's surface becomes 'thermal' long wave radiation that tries to escape to space. Increased levels of greenhouse gases decreases the degree of heat transferability of the atmosphere. At historically natural levels, greenhouse gases are a good thing. But at increasingly unnatural levels, they become problematic.

Transfer of Heat Energy:

Heat Transfer In The Atmosphere:

Earth’s Energy Budget:'s_energy_budget

Greenhouse Effect:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Global Warming: Final Solution

Steady incremental increases in the somewhat distant future of global warming are not likely because its major cause, world overpopulation, will be greatly reduced by wars, disease, starvation and economic disruptions brought on by resources depletion and environmental stresses. The single largest factor that has fueled overpopulation has proven to be the failure to provide women with equal education and rights across the globe. And since the mentality behind this and other ills will not be remedied in time to thwart the multiple ill effects of excess population density, we will all be witness to the "train wreck" in slow motion that early stage global warming was only a feverish symptom of. In short, global warming is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Note: Of course, if runaway global warming is triggered before the above happens, then Homo sapiens will have single handedly caused the Sixth Great Extinction that is the Anthropogenic Extinction.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Global Warming: Tail of the Dog

As long as world overpopulation remains the size of a problem that it is, then to the same degree so also will be global warming, resource depletion, environmental degradation, species annihilation, etcetera. They are merely the 'tail of the dog'. Chasing after them is like a flea ridden dog chasing its own tail in pursuit of relief. The problem is the fleas, not the irritations that they cause.

Relief will come not from proactive human solutions; but instead from reactive human wars, diseases, starvation and economic disruptions. Even incremental degrees of global warming will slow down as overpopulation provides its own fearful solutions.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tis The Season

The time is always NOW to declare your freedom;
to choose to declare that you do have a soul;
to know that you are personally responsible
for your own spiritual well being.

Value yourself and your relationship with others;
acquire greater meaningful fulfillment in living your life.
And know that we are greatest when we realize
our uniqueness as a part of the infinite whole.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Global Warming and Future Generations

All of the warmest years on record have occurred since 1997, the year that climate change skeptics claim warming trends stopped. Quantifying the degree of global warming has required world wide data collection on land, sea, air and from orbit in space. Mere isolated local and regional observations did not give the big picture.

Some locales may seemingly benefit from climate change in the short term future. But as global warming trends strengthen, the weather patterns will continue to shift in bigger ways as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate and amplification mounts. All in all, a warmer planet will alter the lives of every plant and animal species on Earth --
including our own, the Naked Ape.

Meanwhile, fearful conservatives in all walks of life cling to their antiquated views on life and choose not to realize the dangerous situation we are all in together. Indeed, their shortcomings may ultimately prove to be disastrous by prolonging the length of time that we seriously procrastinate. The momentum of CO2 buildup continues to increase. And even if we do manage to reverse our course, global warming will continue regardless because the existing level of greenhouse gases won't magically decrease overnight. Indeed, we can only slow the rate of increase. In short, we're really screwed.

Our descendants for many generations will live on a warmer planet regardless of what we do now. How much warmer depends on what we do or don't do in the future. We will survive, but the future generations may very well hold us in great disdain for our miserable lack of foresight and for our greedy expediency.

Global Warming: Deniers Doth Protest Too Loudly

Global warming is a terrifying possibility. The prospect of such a long lasting climatic effect inflicted upon Earth by our ignorance is horrifyingly terrible. To not feel the fears contained within this real possibility is called "denial".

Denial is one of three basic human defense mechanisms. When running or hiding isn't an option, we "stick our heads in the sand". The trouble with that is that we leave our posteriors exposed and ourselves in a very vulnerable position.

With the issue being one that requires group action in order to remedy the result of actions made in error because of insufficient knowledge, to not pursue a corrective course would be a sin -- the sin of omission. And to consciously further misuse and abuse the world that God gave us is a sin beyond redemption -- James 4:17.

HL Tauri: Planets Early Stage Formation Seen

"For decades, astronomers have worked with supercomputer simulations of the basic laws of gravity, fluid and gas dynamics and radiation transport to create physically consistent models of what protoplanetary disks should look like as they evolve over time. The mechanism of planet formation has also been explored through a variety of calculations and physics-based models."

Now we have pictures on great clarity confirming what a solar system looks like as young planets first begin to form:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Over Sized Pickups and SUVs: Un-American?

Over sized SUVs and pickup trucks irk me. Their behemoth size creates hazards in parking lots and on crowded roads. If you consider the 5% rule that one in twenty persons is of questionable competency, then that really adds up. My wife's friend was ran off the road by one of these "bad boys" who momentarily drifted into her lane (she's okay, but her car is not).

If you apply the five percent rule to people who drive undersized vehicles like Smart cars 'aka' mini vehicles, you are bound see them doing stupid things also. But the consequences are much less likely to be as hazardous to others.

When you consider the purchase price and fuel consumption costs of the biggest vehicles on the road and the fact that most of them (at least where I live) are used as single passenger transports, then I'd say that this is a waste of resources. True, it's their right. But when our national well being is weakened by serious trade deficits, I feel that our military expenditures on overseas ventures are being somewhat wasted on these self-indulgent behaviors of 'mama's boys' and 'daddy's girls' who likely never had to serve their country. Conspicuous "over consumption" is not in line with the conservative and patriotic ideals that I believe in.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Choose Life

We consciously and actively choose to become better human beings (or not). We choose to either apply what we learn or laggardly allow inertia to hold sway. Freedom of Choice is an inescapable responsibility in everything we think, feel and do.

Choose not to decrease soot emissions and breathe dirty air, then watch cancer and other health issues increase. Treat women as chattels and lose their productive abilities. Lie to yourself and others so that you can hide your deficiencies and stifle your personal growth.

Cause and Effect is unavoidable. It's called Reality. Denial or failure to recognize the Truth becomes neurosis and then psychosis. Unanswered opportunities become challenges and then crises. Whether the issue is trade deficits or gingivitis, negligence is self destructive whether it's at the personal level or the international level.

Individually and as groups we can consciously commit to courses of action that are rational and wise. Then we can alter those directions as feedback from our actions occurs. The failure to take action in the first place because we are paralyzed by fear is called the "sin of omission".

Choose life.

October 8, 2014

Super Black Hole: Sagittarius A and G2

"In 1974, an unusually compact source of radio waves at the exact center of the Milky Way, some 26,000 light-years away. Named Sagittarius A, after the constellation where it appears in the sky, it hints of something strange: a trickle of X-rays from the same spot, tendrils of agitated gas surrounding it and, most telling, a small group of stars racing around madly for no obvious reason.
Tracking the motions of those stars enabled astronomers to estimate the mass of the unseen object directing the action. From there they built a convincing case that Sagittarius A* was in fact a black hole — the biggest one in the galaxy, with a mass 4.3 million times that of the sun and a diameter of about 25 million kilometers.... when Sagittarius A* was acting up, it was at least a million times as energetic as it is today. Put another way, it briefly shone as brilliantly as a million suns.
"In fact, other researchers may have already caught Sagittarius A* in the act of such a feeding frenzy, albeit on a much smaller scale. Every day or so, Chandra captures modest flare-ups during which the black hole brightens up to a factor of 160 for a few hours.... those events are burps caused when an asteroid or comet, at least 10 kilometers across, passes within about 100 million kilometers of the black hole, quickly getting shredded and consumed."
And now a large gas cloud known as G2 is whipping past the black hole at 10 million kph. It is the first time scientists have ever seen such a thing.... the black hole’s potent gravity has warped G2 into a long, snaking blob, with the leading part already coiled all the way around Sagittarius A*. At its closest, G2 will pass about 25 billion kilometers from the event horizon, far enough that it is unlikely to get entirely sucked in. But the cloud is so elongated that it will take a full year for all of it to clear the black hole, and there is plenty of room for surprise.
G2 might make fireworks another way, because Sagittarius A* is probably surrounded by smaller black holes. Much as hair collects around a bathtub drain, the most massive objects in the Milky Way tend to spiral downward toward the center. As a result, an estimated 20,000 black holes, each about the size of a city and containing a few times the mass of the sun, are thought to be circling Sagittarius A*. As G2 blows past that dark swarm, the smaller black holes may scoop up bits of loose gas and light up with bursts of X-rays that could be visible to Chandra or NASA’s NuStar space telescope.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Four Horsemen

The "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" ride whenever competition for resources and territory reaches a critical threshold. And there are those among us who welcome them as harbingers to the subsequent Second Coming of Christ. They believe we are now living in the latter days just prior to the Apocalypse and are quite willing to facilitate this event. Thus, they see no need to reverse population overgrowth in a proactive manner.

The Islamic State, an outgrowth of Wahhabi Muslim fundamentalism, is an answer to their prayers. At last, a definite sign of the anti-Christ. As for the Islamists, this Christian fundamentalist thrust is what they most desire to justify their Jihad. Behold, neither group is spiritually awakened enough to fully realize that God and Allah are the One and the same Supreme Being.

I write this on Nov. 11, 2014 Veterans Day

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Assisted Living: Adapting TV Remote Control for Dementia Patients and the Elderly

For the elderly (especially those with dementia), being able to watch TV independently is a challenge. One thing you can do to help is make the remote easier to use by minimizing unnecessary choices. When my mother first started having difficulty using the remote, I marked and color coded the buttons she needed. Then as her dementia progressed, I made cardboard cutouts and used painters tape (which sticks and re-sticks without residue) to affix them to the remote control. The very last thing I did was the superglue a fat plastic bead to the PLAY button for easy recognition.
Note: I had attempted to put photos here, but that did not work.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Global Warming: Climate Change Basics

Greenhouse gases slow down the escape of heat radiating from the Earth's surface. Greenhouse gases are increasing. The resulting average international temperature increases are marked by an upward shift in world wide weather patterns. When Milankovitch cycles, climatic patterns on Earth brought about by "orbital forcing", do finally begin to push towards naturally occurring global warming trends, these cycles will be amplified by our unnatural levels of greenhouse gases. Even if we had stopped releasing them yesterday, these gases will remain for millennia. So, what now then?

Keeping Savings In Cash Is Costly

Scott Burns says:

The purchasing power of our money is declining about 2% a year.

If you have been invested in a simple, traditional balanced fund that was a 60/40 mixture of stocks and bonds— such as the Vanguard Balanced Index fund that I mention regularly— your investment would have nearly doubled over the last 5 years. The recent 5-year annualized return was 13.23 percent.


The Space Between Is NOW

The "space in between" the past and the future is 'the now'.

When followers of Jesus asked Him for signs and about the timing of future events in Mark 13, He told them neither He nor the angels in heaven knew. Actually, Jesus already had told them where to concentrate their attention. At the beginning of His public ministry in Mark 1:15, Jesus announced what time it was for His and our generation: “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand….”

The time is now and "always will be".

Caffeine: The World's Favorite Drug

The world's favorite drug is caffeine.

"For hundreds of years coffee was used in its raw form — astringent and bitter — boiled or rolled with animal fat into a crude approximation of energy pellets. People clearly were chomping the coffee berries for the buzz, not the flavor. Yes, modern coffee tastes great. But it is 400 years of selective breeding and refinements in growing, harvesting, roasting, and brewing that have taken it from its unappealing natural state to the aromatic, smooth, flavorful beverage it has become. And without the caffeine, nobody would have bothered with the plant in the first place."

"Arabica coffee is the species native to the mountains of Ethiopia, where it evolved with a blend of drenching rains, abundant sun, and a narrow band of acceptable temperature. Arabica is the smooth-flavored coffee Americans have come to love, the coffee that gourmet coffee connoisseurs swear by.

"The other common commercially grown coffee species is Robusta, which is heartier and more productive and can grow in warmer temperatures, out in the open at low elevation. Robusta beans are often blended into commercial coffees, like Folgers. But virtually all Colombian coffee is arabica."

"To brew Americans' average fix of nearly three cups of coffee daily, America imported 3.5 billion pounds of coffee in 2012, more than any other nation. The coffee Americans drink annually would fill more than 6,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

"If it's the flavor that makes us wild about coffee, why did our grandparents drink twice as much coffee as we do today? In those days the coffee was often roasted and ground long before it was consumed. And then it was run though a percolator, overextracting the bitter flavors. To most coffee lovers today, our grandparents' coffee was pure percolated plonk. It tasted worse, and they drank twice as much of it.

"For most of us, though, it's likely that we are interested not so much in a flavor experience as in a cup of coffee that is, more than anything, unobjectionable. If we phrase the question a bit differently — asking not what makes a good cup of coffee, but what makes a cup of coffee good — the answer is easy: caffeine.

"But most of us know little about caffeine. Even the most basic coffee distinction — between the robusta beans that become cheap diner coffee and the arabica beans that supply chic coffeehouses — is poorly understood. It's the lowly robusta that packs twice as much caffeine. Among the gourmet brews, people commonly perceive that a dark roast, with its strong flavor, has more caffeine than a mild-tasting, light roast. But that, too, is wrong. Because some of the caffeine has been burned off in the longer roasting, darker coffees have less caffeine than light roasts, bean for bean....."

Mecca Before Mohammed

While Mecca today is the holiest city to Muslims, it was an oasis town and major crossroads on Arab trade routes long before Muhammad's birth in the year 570.  Governed by merchants, it witnessed constant blood feuding among nomadic, kinship-based tribes that roamed the surrounding desert.  But for a month every year, desert clans declared a moratorium on fighting and embarked on a pilgrimage, descending on Mecca to trade and worship at the shrines of ‘360 polytheistic idols’. The city's religious focal point was a hollow stone temple, the Kaaba, surrounded by effigies but devoted to the powerful pre-Islamic god Allah (which in Arabic means "the god").

Improve Phone Security for the Elderly

Junk calls and telephone scammers are a real problem for everyone (especially the elderly). Different personal situations require different countermeasures.

Using a predictive call blocker is one way. It automatically cancels computer generated robo calls. Other calls from undesired numbers can be individually blacklisted by you after they register on the caller ID. As soon as you hook it up, your junk calls will be halved immediately. As you block more and more other numbers, the unwanted calls will taper off to almost zero.
[Note: My elderly mother couldn't properly block calls, so I reviewed the incoming call list each time I visited. Sometimes now it's a week before an unwanted number shows up.]

For more restrictive access, there is a White List Call Block that allows you to program in the only numbers you want to allow (and all others are blocked). In addition, you can arrange with the phone company to require a code be entered before long distance can be successfully dialed each time.

Other situations might require you to have only a princess style phone that you have superglued the buttons on.

Another take on this is to have the carrier drop long distance service
at your loved ones home (1-800#s are still dialable).

Use A-10s Against IS

The only warplane that can seriously counter IS advances is the A-10 " Warthog". When I hear of its use against IS fighters, then I'll take our stated desire to defend Iraq seriously. It's  the only fighter jet that can fly low and slow enough to tell friend from foe on the ground. And it is deadly.

Robots Learn To Lie

"In 2009, Swiss researchers carried out a robotic experiment that produced some unexpected results. Hundreds of robots were placed in arenas and programmed to look for a "food source," in this case a light-colored ring. The robots were able to communicate with one another and were instructed to direct their fellow machines to the food by emitting a blue light. But as the experiment went on, researchers noticed that the machines were evolving to become more secretive and deceitful: When they found food, the robots stopped shining their lights and instead began hoarding the resources — even though nothing in their original programming commanded them to do so. The implication is that the machines learned "self-preservation," said Louis Del Monte, author of The Artificial Intelligence Revolution. "Whether or not they're conscious is a moot point."

An "age old question":

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Parked Cars Tell A Story

As I park my car in the summer heat, I look around and, as I roll my windows down bit to allow excessive heat build up to escape while I'm gone, I note that almost all other cars are sitting in the blazing sun with their windows cranked all the way up. Then I put up my windshield sun block to reduce the greenhouse heat gain. I make it a point to park facing into the sun as much as possible in order to minimize the heat gain; but, if I cannot, I add little sun block screens that attach with suction cups to the other glass. When I get back in my car, the car is very warm (but not hot) and my A/C has the interior cool and comfortable in a very short time.

I muse that no wonder people are unwilling to do anything about global warming when they're so unwilling to even take care of their own personal business in such a simple and easy way as taking a moment and a little foresight to take better care of themselves and their cars.

Note: When I trade in my cars after 10+ years, the salesman salivates when he sees a dashboard not cracked from long term over exposture to the sun's rays and upholstery that is still viable because of protection from blistering heat. He knows the car will be a easy resell. And when he sees my maintenance record of regular oil changes and then he test drives it and feels the steady purr of an engine that's not been abused by lead footed driving, he knows that their company's one year limited warranty on used cars is unlikely to be used.

In short, it's a win-win in beating the heat.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rise of Tick-borne Diseases

"The little buggers are stealthy, feed on blood, and can transmit a variety of dangerous bacteria... for example, Lyme disease, for which ticks are the only known transmitter, is the most notorious. Lyme affects 300,000 Americans every year — 10 times higher than previous estimates."

"What other tick-borne diseases are there? More, it seems, every year. Among them are the Heartland virus, which can trigger fever and liver abnormalities; babesiosis, which mimics the symptoms of malaria and has increased 20-fold in the lower Hudson River Valley since 2001; and perhaps worst of all, Powassan disease, which kills about 10 percent of its victims and leaves 50 percent of its survivors with lasting neurological damage."

"Currently, there is no vaccine for Lyme disease or other tick-borne
illnesses, which is why health experts say that prevention is critical."

"Deer ticks live for an average of two years and have three main life stages: larval, nymphal, and adult. During the winter, ticks usually become dormant. But warmer winters have seen ticks breeding throughout the year, increasing the populations of larvae and nymphs in the spring. Warmer and moister air may also extend the life cycle of ticks, so that nymphs — the stage most likely to transmit infections — continue to be active all summer. Lyme disease rates have shot up accordingly. Research shows that warmer temperatures may also be expanding tick habitats, and extending their life cycle to three years."

"Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can affect humans, dogs, cats and other mammals. Its primary carrier is the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis), which often
feeds on rodents in its early stages. Later, the tick can attach to a dog or human and transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease."

My Comment:
It behooves all of us to keep the tall grass and brush at bay. And keeping rodents and deer to a minimum is essential / which means not putting feed out for birds that attract them. Keeping your dogs and cats treated against fleas and ticks is a must.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Abortions Drop 13% In Texas

9200 fewer abortions occurred last year in Texas because of new abortion restrictions and clinic closures. Pro-lifers are celebrating this initial result. The number of unwanted children will increase as additional restrictions kick in. After having worked for the welfare department and as a public school teacher for a combined 32 years, I hope those doing the celebrating are prepared to increase the level of support for financial and social services that many of these children will desperately need. I especially hope that they are not blocking sex education and use of contraception for teens. The "just say no" approach is no more effective than the new law outlawing male masturbation (spilling seed) will be.
Read the Waco Tribune Herald:

Monday, July 7, 2014

K-T & Permian Extinction Events' Massive Lava Floods

The asteroid that has long been believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs hit the Yucatan peninsula
and formed the Chicxulub crater 65.5 mya. However, by this time, the dinosaurs were mostly long gone (as evidenced by the severe lack of dinosaur fossils around the world in the three meters below the sedimentary layer containing the "iridium" left by the asteroid strike).

About 300,000 years prior to this dramatic event, volcanic emissions and basalt flows on an enormous scale had already occurred on the subcontinent of India and formed the Deccan Traps. It is believed to have been caused by India drifting (15 million years prior to this, India had separated from Pangea and moved northward) over a "hotspot" (mantle plume) and/or a meteor strike hitting slightly off its western shore (Shiva crater) that shocked the Indian continental crust and opened up fissures. This had led to such increased CO2 and sulphur dioxide emissions that 75% or more of all plant and animal species on land and sea died off.

NOTE: About 250 mya, the Great Dying extinction at the end of the Permian Era was caused by excessive volcanic basaltic flows that formed the Siberian Traps (5 miles thick) that also caused phenomenally extensive coal fires. The CO2 of this global warming event raised atmospheric temperatures on land to as much as 140 degrees F. and also acidified the oceans. This volcanic activity is believed to have been triggered by multiple asteroid strikes on Pangea's to be Antarctica (Wilkes Land crater).
[The concentration of seismic waves from a meteorite impact at the antipode (opposite side of a sphere) on the earth would be the cause of many of the massive lava floods of the past when fissures were opened.]



P.S.- Sulphur dioxide is a toxic gas that causes acid rain. Both volcanic emissions and the burning of coal release it into the atmosphere, thus making the Great Dying especially toxic.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ancient Sunni-Shiite Conflict Continues

"Saudi Arabia and Iran are competing for influence over the entire Middle East and are willing to fuel civil wars in pursuit of their goals. Many Sunni-ruled nations have large, restive Shiite populations.... Sunni rulers fear that these populations could become radicalized by the Syrian conflict and stage uprisings of their own. "

Comment: Over twenty years ago, an older ex-Jewish fellow (who'd been born in Egypt during the Battle of El Alamein in 1942) that I knew quite well, told me that when the Middle East blew up that the trigger would be Syria. He didn't explain the particulars if why, but this has its roots in biblical historic times and very ancient events that keep repeating in this regional crossroads between three continents.

Comment: The Shiites are concentrated most heavily at the source of the Persian Empire (Iran) while the Sunnis mostly originate at the source of the original Babylonian Empire (Mesopotamia / present-day Iraq).
So, when you read about the Shia-Sunni schism after Muhammad died, keep this secular historical background in mind.

Shiite groups:
Lebanese militant group Hezbollah
Syrian president Assad's Alawites

Sunni groups:
Al Qaida
Taliban / Pushtans
Boko Haram
In fact, ISIL appears to be ifar outside of Sunni Islam. The kind of “Islam” espoused by the ISIS Takfiris is an extreme version of the Salafi-Wahhabi school of thought (think Egypt). These people reject the five major Islamic madhhabs (schools of thought) including the four Sunni ones. If you reject all four Sunni madhhabs, how can you call yourself Sunni?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Stop Perverse Subsidies

Why do we provide government subsidies to tobacco, oil and coal companies? Why are agribusiness profits guaranteed? And why are NFL profits tax exempt? There are many other perverse forms of corporate welfare. As long as they they remain unquestioned, then we have no right to think of ourselves as being fiscally responsible. Instead, let's just admit that we are indeed a socialistic nation -- even the one percenters.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Assisted Living etc: Livening Up The Walls

Whether your loved one is in assisted living or a nursing home, one quick and effective way to cheer up the room is to add color to the walls by stapling pictures from calendars to the sheet rock walls. [Note: hold the stapler at an angle so that the staple goes in at an angle so that one end sticks up well above the wall surface. This makes removing the staples easy. And your pictures don't get tattered so that you can reuse them.]

I ordered calendars to supplement the free calendars I already had on hand. I only used the pictures that were the most colorful and cheery. Mountains, waterfalls, flowers, sunsets, etcetera was what my mom enjoys the most. Use what suits the personality of your loved one the most.

I tend to overlap the sheets very slightly to create a collage effect; but, sometimes keeping the pictures separated is better. It depends on your personal taste.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Is Low Inflation Hurting Global Economy?

People who think in terms of having a "growth economy"
and "inflation-adjusted cost of a loan" so as to keep loans
 'less expensive', do not like low inflation.
Chamber of Commerce thinkers see that when prices
barely move, many people postpone purchases because
the same price will still be available
in six months.

I see that overpopulation and high inflation are
what's really scary in the long term. And if people can postpone
purchases and increase savings and decrease debts, then that is what
creates a solid economy. Economists who work for lenders sing a
different song.

In short, I'd say we're at a good spot right now.

Austin Assisted Living: Emeritus' Vista Oaks, Lakeway TX

A few months ago, I moved my elderly mother out of a high priced assisted living facility into a much more reasonably priced one. This new placement is superior in every way.

The caretakers are not run ragged because of 'bottom-line' dictates and the administration is familiar with all of the residents' needs. The building is on a single floor and no elevators are required. Employee morale is high and turn over low because they are valued. In short, if you are looking at assisted living facilities, avoid the larger ones with too many "moving parts" -- there's too much room for communication breakdowns and confusion.

The Four Stages of Spiritual Development: Scott Peck

Scott Peck, author of books such as The Road Less Traveled, describes four stages of spiritual development:

I is chaotic, disordered, and reckless. Very young children are in
Stage I. They tend to defy and disobey, and are unwilling to accept a
will greater than their own. They are extremely egoistic and lack
empathy for others. Many criminals are people who have never grown out
of Stage I."

"Stage II is the stage at which a person has blind
faith in authority figures and sees the world as divided simply into
good and evil, right and wrong, us and them. Once children learn to obey
their parents and other authority figures, often out of fear or shame,
they reach Stage II. Many so-called religious people are essentially
Stage II people, in the sense that they have blind faith in God,
and do not question His existence. With blind faith comes humility and a
willingness to obey and serve. The majority of good, law-abiding
citizens never move out of Stage II."

"Stage III is the stage of
scientific skepticism and questioning. A Stage III person does not
accept things on faith but only accepts them if convinced logically.
Many people working in scientific and technological research are in
Stage III. They often reject the existence of spiritual or supernatural
forces since these are difficult to measure or prove scientifically.
Those who do retain their spiritual beliefs, move away from the simple,
official doctrines of fundamentalism."

"Stage IV is the stage
where an individual starts enjoying the mystery and beauty of nature and
existence. While retaining skepticism, he starts perceiving grand
patterns in nature and develops a deeper understanding of good and evil,
forgiveness and mercy, compassion and love. His
religiousness and spirituality differ significantly from that of a
Stage II person, in the sense that he does not accept things through
blind faith or out of fear, but does so because of genuine belief, and
he does not judge people harshly or seek to inflict punishment on them
for their transgressions. This is the stage of loving others as
yourself, losing your attachment to your ego, and forgiving your
enemies. Stage IV people are labeled as Mystics.
Peck argues that
while transitions from Stage I to Stage II are sharp, transitions from
Stage III to Stage IV are gradual. Nonetheless, these changes are very
noticeable and mark a significant difference in the personality of the

Comment: If one realizes the above, then one can be more tolerant about
the spiritual beliefs of others -- or lack thereof. At the same time,
if you are aware of where various others are on the
above developmental scale, you can better decide how open you can
afford to be with them.

Don't Know Much About the Bible?

"Don't Know Much About the Bible: Everything You Need to Know About the Good Book but Never Learned" is an excellent book (and audiobook) for anyone who is willing to look at
the deeper meanings contained in it. Of course, spiritual truths abound;
but human foibles of famous are also highlighted. Abraham and Moses
were both saints and human. Many many wonderful points that the Bible
make are given credence that just reading the Bible by itself does not
necessarily allow. However much you appreciate the Bible now, that will
be multiplied exponentially as you see things you'd not seen before.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Moldy Homes Don't All Have Water Leaks...

My elderly mother spent
a lifetime keeping her windows and drapes closed and the AC and heater
at a barely comfortable setting. She often had a drippy nose that
perpetually bothered her. I tried to tell her that she had a mold
allergy caused by the musty smelling house. She lived northwest of
Houston where humidity is a factor. She refused to believe me.

A year ago, I moved her into assisted living. After we had her moved in,
her drippy nose slowed down, but we could still smell some of the
mustiness from her possessions. So, I gradually got rid of all her
clothing and the mattress and bedding. After it was all gone, her
problem was almost over. Now, it's only on days with an atmospheric high
mold count that her nose ever drips (a reminder of past foolishness).

The following link helps explain:

Julie Rehmeyer (formerly an ME patient and now close to fully recovered
subsequent to mold avoidance and detox) reports on the findings of a new
study in PNAS showing that the VOC's made by mold in homes can result
in neurological symptoms.

Julie was recently made a contributing editor for Discover.

>Joan Bennett didn’t believe in sick building syndrome. As a specialist in
mold toxins, she had even testified in trials in support of insurance
companies denying claims to homeowners who claimed that they had been
sickened by toxins from their moldy houses.

>Then Hurricane Katrina struck, Bennett’s home was flooded, and she evacuated. “A month
later, as a form of psychological sublimation, I decided to travel back
and sample my home for mold,” she said. Her house smelled horrendous,
worse than any mold she’d ever smelled. She donned a mask and gloves
and protective gear, but even so, she felt awful – dizziness, headache,
malaise. She walked outside and felt better. Then it struck her: “I
think there’s something in this terrible mold I’m smelling.”

>Ironically, even though sick building syndrome is what drew her to this work,
Bennett says that she’s not planning to emphasize that aspect of her
work in the future, because it’s so unpopular at the National Institutes
of Health, upon which she is dependent for funding. “I am convinced
that there is something real there,” she says. “I wish I could convince
some funding agencies.”

Note: The above original article was originally published by the Discover magazine.

Poor Driving Habits Yields Poor Fuel Economy

The biggest cause of poor fuel economy on the highway is poor driving habits. There is a 41% decrease in fuel economy from 50 mph to 80. That is like paying $1.38 more per gallon of gasoline.

The faster you go above 50 mph, the incrementally worse your miles per gallon is. Also, the harder you accelerate, the more fuel you waste.

When I bought my first car, I installed a vacuum gauge on the engine. This reflected the amount of fuel that was being sucked up in through the intake manifold. I soon learned how to keep the needle in the green (reflected optimal fuel efficiency).
My rules:
1) stay below 55mph (if traffic flow permits);
2) accelerate slowly and steadily (avoid racing to get to the next traffic stop -- leave that to those drivers who don't look or think ahead);
3) ease up on the throttle going downhill while also picking up as much speed as is safe / if traffic flow permits, gradually allow your speed to decrease a bit going uphill.
4) drive with your windows up to reduce wind drag

I, also, organize my life so that I save time and money by minimizing the number of trips I make. And because I live in a metropolis, I plot my route to make as few left turns as possible. And if you have access to INRIX traffic app, then check it as you are departing.

Other gas mileage tips:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Use Mower To Mulch Yard Leaves

For many years, I have been amused
by people who rake and bag (or burn) yard leaves.
They spend money on fertilizer for their yard
(that isn't totally used by the plants).
Then they get rid off the world's best organic mulch
by not utilizing leaves.
Thus, they hamper the build up of humus in the soil and perpetuate a
cycle of foolishness.!/entry/leave-leaves-alone,51c1bd92da27f5d9d0e3f6a2

Preventing Frozen Water Pipes

In the South, homes are not always
built towards preventing water pipes from freezing. For example, my
typical subdivision house has pipes in the unheated garage attic. Other
pipes run through the outer garage wall.  So, when the temperature is in
danger of going below 20 degrees F., I set affected taps to slowly
dripping. Cabinet drawers under sinks are left open.
If I have to be
gone for the days that there's hard freeze danger, I set the taps to
dripping and then shut the water off at the main. The thermostat is no
lower than 55.

To Be Happy, First Be Grateful

What is the connection between happiness and gratefulness?
Are people who are happy grateful -- or are people who are grateful happy?

Lasting happiness comes from grateful living. That is, happiness comes to those
who acknowledge and appreciate the real value of what makes life worth

As you walk through your daily life, Stop, Look (and
listen) and then Go some more. Allow childlike wonder and curiosity to
allow gratefulness to  grow within. Allow gratitude to rise up within

Listen to:

Or -- Perhaps you might prefer reading the transcript. That option is shown.

Global Warming: Plateaued?

No! Global temperatures have not
risen as rapidly as they did in the previous two decades, but the world
is still getting warmer due to man made emissions. 9 of the 10 warmest
years on record have occurred since 1998. 
Overall, the world has warmed by 1.4°F.

What has tempered the rate of increase is that the
deep ocean waters below 2300 feet have heated up since the year 2000,
even as the temperature of surface seawater has remained stable. Warming
over the last decade has been hidden below the ocean surface.
the sun has not been shining as brightly. Over an average of 11 years,
the sun's energy output rises and falls, subtly influencing Earth's
climate. The last solar maximum occurred in 2000; since then a prolonged
solar minimum has kept the sun dimmer than usual.
Another cause is
due to an increasing influx of sunlight
blocking particles into the stratosphere -- vast quantities of
pollution from coal burning China and several mid-sized volcanic
eruptions. These particles work in the opposite way to greenhouse gases,
reflecting solar radiation away from the Earth.

9 of 10 Poorest States Are Red States

Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana and South Carolina.

"It should come as little surprise that in the heart of America’s South,
where the marriage of free markets and “traditional values” is
celebrated by the routine casting of votes for red-state Tea Party style
Republicans each election cycle, that the American dream is shown to be
at its weakest."

"Southern red-states consistently ranked at the
bottom in regards to  opportunity for those born in one economic class
to elevate themselves out of poverty or into wealth. The
findings come as little surprise that pro-corporate, anti-union
economic policies lead not to prosperity, but social stratification and
the enshrining of an economic aristocracy"
[My Comment: Remember the
Confederacy's demographics. Also consider their rather medieval
agrarian roots. It's not a surprising statistic.]

Creationists Worry Too Much

Creationists worry too much. If one accepts that God created all things and that God is infinite, how can one vehemently and absolutely deny the possibility that perhaps God put evolution in motion in the first moment of creation. Life is perpetual and everlasting change.

Just as birds evolved over tens of millions of years from theropods during the Mesozoic Era, man has been around an extremely long time. And just as the dinosaurs became extinct, we will also one day disappear -- 100,000 years ago there were 3 species of humans.

Hopefully, we will grow and develop into an improved species more worthy of God's love. Tolerance of each others' differences will be the criterion by which this shall be measured. So, if someone believes that the Earth is 6000 years old, who am I to shun them? But, if I believe that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second, they need to be tolerant of me.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Physics of Transparency

"When a package of light energy (or photon) hits a solid object, three things can happen:
1) light can disappear - if the photon has the same vibrational frequency as the electrons and the material it strikes, those electrons absorb its energy, changing the photon from light into heat.
2) light can also be scattered - the surface electrons can grab the photon's energy and then eject a photon of the same wavelength, which is how you see pretty much everything that doesn't emit light on its own.
3) transparency - if the photon doesn't have the right vibrational energy for absorption and if the atoms and the material are arranged and patterns that discourage reflection (such as the random jumble of molecules in glass or air), then the photon's energy passes from atom to atom, some emerging on the other side still bright and shiny. Then you have transparency."

from Discover magazine
July 2012
by Jason Daley

Alzheimer's Slowed By Vitamin E

High doses of Vitamin E slow down deterioration of moderate stages of Alzheimer's disease by about six months when high doses were given daily for two years. This translates to about two hours less help from caretakers per day, which is not insignificant.

Airport Security: Spoons As Distress Signals

A British charity is telling girls whose parents want to send them abroad
for a forced marriage to put a spoon in their underwear. Airport
security officials who spot the spoon in the metal detector will take
the girls side for a search. They will be taken to a safe space where
they have that one last opportunity to disclose they are being forced to

British authorities handle nearly 1500 forced marriage cases a year most involve in ethnic Pakistani girls.

My Comment: Since this trick might soon uncovered in the "misogynistic"
tribal subculture perpetuating these ancient practices, I'd suggest that
the girls consider other ways to conceal a metallic object in the
genital area.

Note: it occurs to me that anyone could employ metal deployment in genital area tactics to alert airport personnel for other reasons.
Key: making sure that the metallic item is so
incongruous in the genital area so as to be obviously out-of-place. That
is, a "something is not right here" message.
But in case the metal detector alarm is not triggered, the person needing assistance can at
least exhibit wild unsubdued behaviors (or feign fainting or even a
seizure) and force the issue. Submissiveness will be rewarded with
sexual abuse in a land that is in another world.

The Week -- Aug. 30, 2013

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Best and Worst Days to Drive in U.S. Metros

I live in Austin. It is one if the worst US cities for traffic congestion.
Understanding the "nature of the beast" helps one to better survive and adapt.
example, as a school teacher, I always preferred working in my
classroom until the traffic died down after 7:00pm. rather than wasting
an extra half hour an suffering the extra wear and tear and energy on my
vehicle and myself. I didn't have to trundle papers home and when I did
get home, I was in a good mood knowing that I was done for the day and
my  classroom was ready for action in the morning. And I slept better,

Best Days to Commute in Metro Areas:

I live by my INRIX traffic app:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Japan's Population Crisis

Japan's birthrate is plummeting after peaking seven years ago at 128 million. Japan's population has been falling and is on a path to decline by about 1 million people a year. The marriage rate has plummeted - and with it the birthrate. Out-of-wedlock births are rare.
Why are not the Japanese not getting married? The Japanese men are shying away from marriage because they simply cannot afford it. The young Japanese man has good reason to believe that his standard of living would drop immensely if he had to house and support a wife and children, especially considering that his wife likely would not be working. In Japan, marriage usually ends a woman's working career. Once they have a child, women face strong social pressure to quit their jobs and assume very traditional roles serving both the husband and the child. Childcare is scarce and expensive.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Zoysia Japonica in Central Texas

A number of years ago, my next door neighbor (who had never spent much on water for his lawn nor had any good will towards his fellow man) abruptly decided to sell his house. His side yard had been bare dirt with just a smattering of Bermuda grass. Suddenly, there was thick grass sprouting up where it'd been bare dirt before. After a while, I could see that it was an unusual kind of grass. And, at first, it looked a lot like the Zoysia sod that another neighbor down the street had laid down.

A year later, the neighbor was ten months gone when I spotted Zoysia sprouting up in my yard where I'd filled in a low spot in my front yard with top soil. It has now been several years since and it has now spread to other parts of my yard where shade had thinned my carpet grass. My former neighbor had planted Zoysia japonica by seed and it was now spreading itself around. [On-line it says that the only kind of Zoysia that spreads by seed is Zoysia japonica. The other neighbor must have installed Zoysia that spread only vegetatively because it never shows any seed heads and looks significantly different than what's invaded my yard.]

Note: At this point in time, I'm now beginning to rather like the Zoysia japonica. I have observed that it takes a lot less water than St. Augustine (but only a bit more than Bermuda grass). It tolerates both shade and full sun. These three grasses are now battling it out in my front yard. Each has a portion of the yard that each is best suited for -- but the Zoysia will be the eventual victor in another twenty years (from the looks of it).

Note: The Japonica only spreads by seed to where there is bare dirt. Where it is established, it sends out runners. My other next door neighbor has good solid St. Augustine sod and there's been no encroachment at all (there's a driveway between our two yards).
He also has high water bills / mine is diminishing due to the Zoysia japonica.

Note: I only water by hand late in the evening. By experimenting, I've found that the Zoysia japonica comes back fast from water neglect -- but the St. Augustine does not. The 2011 summer (drought and high temperatures) further proved that only the Bermuda grass and the Zoysia japonica can be considered durable with low watering levels.

Note: The Zoysia is also more tolerant of fallen Live Oak leaves than the St. Augustine.

The only thing I do not know is the variety of Zoysia japonica that my first neighbor used. On-line, it says there are four varieties and that they are all strains of Meyer Zoysia.
So, if you're looking to replicate this, talk to a grass specialist first. Also, talk to your neighbors. I myself would rather have had a choice in the matter. [This stuff is tough stuff. Whether or not that is good or not depends on your situation.]

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Texas Outlaws Male Masturbation

Humorously, male masturbation (a man "spilling his seed") is now
generally  illegal in Texas. This article from Waco reports that the
state legislature has outlawed masturbation by males.
No mention is made of female masturbation
(supposedly because the Bible does not specifically prohibit such).

Male Masturbation Outlawed in Texas:

Texas Tribune-Herald:
Especially read about Branch Davidians in above entry.

Religious Views On Masturbation:
As you can see, 'absolutists' aka 'literalists' of any religion rely more
on rigid tenets to maintain self-control.