On Carbon Emissions

Journal Entry (Saturday November 5, 2022)



We can’t cut carbon emissions enough to avoid the worst aspects of global warming. No formulas needed here. People lots smarter than I am have already done the math. If you are yet to be convinced of the existential danger we face, ask your children what they think. Either way, keep in mind that reality has a tendency to follow its own path regardless of what we “believe” it will do. Our best hope to secure a technological future that doesn’t kill the planet is to begin removing carbon emissions as soon as possible. The technology to do just that is being studied and in at least one case implemented. There is a geothermal plant in Iceland that is removing carbon dioxide and injecting it back into the earth so it can be calcified and “frozen” in deep rock layers. You can even provide support for this project. You can become a Climeworks Pioneer https://climeworks.com/. That’s fine and dandy, but it’s not enough to reverse the effects of Climate Change on its own. Professor Klaus Lackner at ASU is doing ground breaking research on this problem https://pit.asu.edu/center-negative-carbon-emissions. A lot more funding is needed, and recognition that, if not our best hope, atmospheric scrubbing will play a key role in abating the most severe effects of climate change. If we could just stop fighting wars long enough to divert maybe one fourth of our military budget into this research, we would be able to make great strides in a much shorter period of time, perhaps even averting the worst consequences that we currently face.

To try and put this into some sort of perspective, to have a 66% chance of preventing the average global temperature from rising above 1.5C without carbon dioxide removal, we need to cut carbon emissions to almost zero by 2040. To have a 66% chance of preventing the average global temperature from rising above 2C without carbon dioxide removal, we need to cut carbon emissions to almost zero by 2075. Keep in mind that a rise of 2C would have severe impact that would alter the planet in ways that some scientists are not convinced would be recoverable.

The material for this post was taken from Elizabeth Kolbert’s book “Under A White Sky.”



On the Best Time to Ride

Journal Entry (Friday November 4, 2022)



Odd numbered years of course. Why? There are no significant elections in odd numbered years. This gives our over-amped population the largest window they get to decompress before the political parties (one in particular) once again stir them into inhuman madness. I suspect at least one person reading this (I don’t know who you are, but I know you must be out there) thinks I’m being overly dramatic. I’m not. This has been the shape of things political for the last seven years or so, and this appears to be the new collective insanity that will be with us until who knows when.

What does this have to do with the best time to ride you ask? I have found from experience that people are very kind and generous to touring cyclists, that is generally speaking, but my only experience with long distance touring by bicycle was in an off election year. I think this says a couple of things, first and foremost, our new election strategy which is to scare and/or anger the voting public has the potential to spill over into other facets of life, and already has. I believe it also tends to alienate some people from reality. It seems to me that someone on a bicycle could be categorized as a “target” in some parts of the country, target of political angst. (I have red states in mind here, I don’t think that’s a far-fetched proposition.) Another reason to be apprehensive is that I am, simply put, something of a coward.

I could try an experiment. In 2019 I crossed the country following the “Southern Tier” route. I suppose I could try that again in 2024, between September and November, and see what happens. I’m not that curious. Reason number two above steers me away from that plan. Instead I’m going to cross again in 2023 during the months of May and June, using a route further north. Fingers crossed. It has been said that discretion is the better part of valor. I believe it was Shakespeare’s Falstaff who said that in King Henry IV. Not a lot has changed really in 422 years. At least when it comes to valor, I’m inclined to take Shakespeare’s advice.



On Shitposting

Journal Entry (Thursday November 3, 2022)



I’m really tired of it. It seems to me the collective intelligence of our nation has sunk to about a third grade level. The only difference is that more hate words are used than the average third grader has yet to learn. Where is this coming from? Of course we have to acknowledge that Trump is largely responsible for making Shitposting popular with his party, but the deplorable speech he uses is deviously calculating. (Let’s not forget the role that Rupert Murdoch and his media outlets have played in this evolution — to a large extent by giving Trump and his minions permission to go down this path and by allowing his own talking heads to use this themselves.)

Elon Musk is now starting to get into the game. It’s not a game. It is going to have serious consequences — it already has. If it doesn’t stop we will find ourselves devolving out of Democracy into a political state where one mindset, if not one party, rules the land. The mindset I’m referring to is hate, and woe to any person that falls counter to that mindset.

Keri Mangis has written a detailed explanation of Trump’s speech. He is a master at this genre. Here is what she uncovered. His speech is characterized by four distinct patterns the are designed to stir emotions, hate for one, but no less an emotion than anger, he does it using these linguistic tools.

  • Passive voice
  • Metaphor instead of literal language
  • Superlative modifiers
  • Opt-out clauses (such as “maybe” or “I don’t know”)

Taken together these things can be used to stir anger and hatred in the listener while releasing the speaker from direct blame for doing anything harmful. After all he didn’t really say anything bad.

The point here is not really what Donal Trump says, the point here is his intent and the result of what he says. I think you can guess what I have to say about both of those, so I’m not going to drone on any longer. Just remember one thing please, if you participate in this game, you are pointing all of us towards a future which could very well end our 250 year experiment with Democracy.



On Trash Talking, Shitposting, and Fixing Social Media

Journal Entry (Wednesday November 2, 2022)



I date myself using the term “Trash Talking.” No one trash talks any more, now we “Shitpost.” Viewed in the light of modern social media, this was inevitable, but there is a big problem with this. To trash talk someone typically implied you were likely doing it to their face. This gave the recipient a chance to rebut. Now trash talking has become shitposting and the recipient, or target, has no platform on which to reach the reader of the shitpost, at least not one that readers take the time to investigate. To make matters even worse, the typical shitpost is viewed by a much wider audience today than trash talk was a decade ago. The audience can be world-wide. To make matters even worse still, it seems that a large part of our population is not capable of sorting out fact from fiction. Not to mention the problem that there are media types today apologizing for behavior that a decade ago would have been recognized as intolerable, even by the most depraved psychopathic killer.

One approach to solving this would be to ensure that everyone receives a quality education. An education that teaches everyone to be a critical thinker, to research every opinion before taking it to heart, hell, to recognize what an opinion looks like. This is probably a stretch goal. Besides that, another huge problem is the lack of restraint exercised by thought leaders that should know better. (If they had been given a quality education? Some have, and that’s an even bigger puzzle.) Sharing fiction expressly designed to influence those NOT so well educated, shouldn’t be tolerated, but of course, it is.

How do we fix a technology that allows and perpetuates shitposting? I think it can be done, but I have to qualify this by saying Zuckerberg and Musk have no motivation or intention to entertain any idea designed to make their platforms safer for society. The proposal goes something like this: Before any thought can be placed in the ether, a respondent should be named. The respondent should be given an opportunity to counter the claim/statement before it goes “live.” The platform would manage the “posters” and “respondents” such that they both have similar “expertise/experience” making the dialogue at least somewhat responsible. I realize this would make social media “less fun,” but it might encourage people to become more tolerant in the long run, and perhaps even help people to obtain that noble educational goal of learning to be a critical thinker. It’s worth a try.

There’s no reason why something similar to this couldn’t be done for the broadcast media, but since social media and broadcast media are both “for profit” endeavors, I don’t give this idea much of a chance. It’s too bad, it could work in a world were people cared about their future and their children’s future.

Albert Einstein said “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

That is true. So rather than take my suggestion as a possible solution, likely to fail, it might be better to solve this another way. I just don’t know what that other way looks like. One thing I feel strongly about is that siloed information stacks that are each biased in their own way will only serve to divide us.



On "On"

Journal Entry (Tuesday November 1, 2022)



That may be a somewhat strange title. I’m the sort of person that likes to have a “theme” to their work. (Calling this Blog “work” is a bit of a stretch perhaps, there are no advertisers here, and likely not even any readers.) I decided a little more than a year ago to write a poem a day for one year, that little project has been successfully completed, so now I have embarked on a series of posts titled “On” followed by some subject. It’s more a theme in title only, nevertheless, it gives me something to hang these entries “on” (so to speak).

As I have alluded to in a previous post. Writing does not come all that easily to me. I think the smarter you are, the easier it is to write. Take Hunter S. Thompson for example. I suspect his IQ was off the charts, and he was a pretty good (very good) writer. I never suffered an IQ test because I don’t want to embarrass myself. But if I did, I suspect it would be about normal. That’s not a bad thing. I could still become a good writer in about 10 years if I write 2,000 words a day, read 25 or 30 books a year, and learn some grammar…

None of that is likely to happen. Yet, I still love to read and write, and plan to keep doing it. I’m well aware that AI will be writing most blog posts (at least for those people that are monetizing their word output). Not me. No monetizing here. You can rest assured that none of this was written by any sort of AI engine. Not that you had to even have to ask…



On Art

Journal Entry (Monday October 31, 2022)



I have an artist friend that has done a few portraits of people that I admire, he’s very talented. Sometime around the beginning of COVID I asked him to do a portrait of RBG for me. I’m finally reaching out to him to see about picking up the piece. (I have been extremely negligent, no question about it.) Here’s how that conversation went:

“Hi Adam. Ruth Bader Ginsburg here. As much as I have enjoyed living with you through most of COVID, I feel like it’s time for us to move on. Brad reached out to me and declared his love and devotion (Agape, not Erros — posthumously of course). He wanted to know if I would be willing to come live with him. He seemed almost anxious to meet with you this weekend to secure your permission and arrange for my relocation. He seems nice enough so I suppose this has my support… What say you?”

My friend replied in the affirmative. I will soon have RBG to hang with Fauci, Bernie and Albert.



On Sharing

Journal Entry (Sunday October 30, 2022)



I have always been more than just a little shy about expressing my opinion. It dawned on me, just this morning as a matter of fact, that the more I write “On” different subjects the less inhibited I feel — at least in terms of the written word. I can’t really explain this. I suppose this might be an attribute of aging, but I think a big part is due to simply the practice of writing. The more I write, the more I search for things to write about. This makes sense to me but it doesn’t completely explain my change of heart. I’m not ready to label this courage. I think the task of writing daily eventually brings you to a point where the inclination to hold back your thoughts and emotions finds fewer barriers.

I started writing four years ago, 2018. I was going through a divorce and I was not feeling terribly confident in myself. My therapist told me to write a bit every day and bring it to our sessions. The writing was emotional crap, how I felt that day, how was I dealing with my thoughts and feelings, who was I. I spent six months writing every day, sometimes a lot, sometimes just a little. None of it was worth sharing. I’m pretty sure when I shared with my therapist, she was bored most of the time. In January of 2019 I retired, the writing gradually took on a different viewpoint. It wasn’t a lot better - as writing goes - but I started writing about what I was doing rather than simply how I was feeling. The shift from internal examination to looking at the world was a departure for the better. I decided I would ride a bicycle across the country in the fall. That decision really was life changing. I had a wonderful time, and I wrote, every day. I actually wrote some pretty good stuff. It was such a wonderful experience (both the ride and the writing) that I plan to do it again next year.

I can’t say for sure that all this is better than when I started, it feels to me like it is. At least I have reached a point where I feel like I have a tiny something to share with others. Whatever courage it takes to do that, I have found enough to begin sharing the words here.



On Poetry

Journal Entry (Saturday October 29, 2022)



Poetry is not for everyone, it may not even be for me. I’m still trying to figure that out. After writing 365 poems in 365 days, you might think I would have something truly profound to say about that. Let me give it a try (no guarantee it will be profound). I enjoyed the experience, at times (occasionally) I even found it uplifting, was it the most passionate, rewarding thing I ever did, no. I will take a flawless run down Mid-Cirque at Snowbird over writing a poem, even a good one. Hell, I’d take that over writing a dozen good poems. Of course the catch here is there’s no such thing as a flawless run down Mid-Cirque, and likely no such thing as a flawless poem either. We are human after all. Even having tried more than 365 times to write a good poem. I came up short. I like to think that if I was lucky enough to get 365 attempts at Mid-Cirque, and the conditions were perfect for all of them, I might come close to a flawless run, but there is a wise voice inside me that says thou dost give thyself too much credit.



On Vitamin D

Journal Entry (Friday October 28, 2022)



There are people in the state of Arizona wearing masks and standing by voter drop boxes for the purpose of getting more Vitamin D. (I was not aware that people in Arizona had any reason to think there was a need for more of that.) These vitamin seekers are wearing long sleeves, long pants, masks, and tactical vests, not to mention waist gear that likely holds a firearm. These wardrobe choices, taken together, would seem to do more to prevent the absorption of Vitamin D than enhance it. But, what do I know, I’m no expert in voter suppression tactics.



On Hate

Journal Entry (Thursday October 27, 2022)



Just don’t do it. Life is too short. There are many things more satisfying you can do with you emotions. Even if you think you are justified (however you might do that) there is no justification.

Throughout human history, there has been no single human emotion that has wrought more havoc, destruction and suffering. Make a vow not to be part of that legacy. Choose a different path. You don’t have to love everyone, leave that to the gurus. If you find yourself falling into hate (however you might defined that) you must stop and assess where you are going, and make every effort to turn yourself around. I believe the individuals that avoid that path are the individuals most worthy to be held up by us as leaders.



On Fear

Journal Entry (Wednesday October 26, 2022)



How do civilizations decline? The biggest reason is the irrational propagation of fear. Whether the impetus is wielded by a self-serving minority of citizens from within, or a legitimate threat from without. The result is the same. Fear pushes a populous to authoritarianism. While I believe societal fear acts like a contagion, I’m not aware of any academic studies that empirically verify this. That said, when you see fear spreading through a population and there is no direct cause, it is difficult to look at it as anything other than a form of disease. Subversive forces can certainly take advantage of this situation and seek to encourage it, but I think such forces are rarely the root cause. I believe a good portion (but not all) of the root cause of our current phenomena goes back to the COVID Pandemic in 2020. There is little doubt in my mind that this event created unprecedented cultural upheaval, and opened the door for unscrupulous people to take advantage of a psychologically weakened population. Where you have upheaval, you have an opening for all sorts of change, both good and bad. Unfortunately for all of us, the change resulting from this particular upheaval has been mostly to our detriment.

I suppose you think I’m looking at current events through a negative lens, I wouldn’t blame you if you did. In truth, I’m just trying to make sense of a current phenomena that to me, and I think many others, makes very little sense.



On Love

Journal Entry (Tuesday October 25, 2022)



It is presumptuous of me to claim to know something about love. Sharing on this subject is more about what I don’t know than it is about what I do know. I suspect It is a subject that comes more easily to some than to others. In my case, it has been an almost life-long journey. I have finally arrived in a place where I can say I have found it, and it feels good to be able to say that. The journey to this place on the spectrum of love has been rocky. I don’t want to disparage the other people that shared the journey with me at various times in the past, I hope they are better off today than when they were with me. An apology of sorts I suppose. I have to acknowledge, I have learned as much about love through my children as I have on my own. I suspect my influence on them has had little to do with their success.

Finding love to share with a partner and living love in general are two very different things. I’m inclined to think you are fortunate if you find the former, but I firmly believe we all should live the latter. That can be tough to do, no question about it. But the degree to which we live love, to a large extent, defines the sort of person we are. Living love also goes a long way towards how happy we are with this journey we call life. I believe this maxim applies to all of us, regardless of whether we realize it or not.



On Democracy

Journal Entry (Monday October 24, 2022)



According to a recent NBC Poll…

Eighty percent of Republicans believe Democrats are on a path that will end Democracy in America. The same percentage of Democrats believe that Republicans are on a path that will end Democracy in America.

This is a completely untenable situation, it really doesn’t matter which party you affiliate with.

America is divided. The truly sad thing about that fact is that the “division” was intentionally created.



On Work

Journal Entry (Sunday October 23, 2022)



I’ve been lucky. I spent most of my working life laboring at something I enjoyed doing (most of the time). I suspect not everyone can say that. I was a software developer. It is perhaps a bit of a stretch to call myself that (it largely depends on your definition of software developer) since I worked on the same system for virtually my entire career. I was a part of it’s evolution over the years and I like to think the system provided a capability that was integral to my company’s success over that same time period. It is worth noting however that shortly after I retired, the company turned the maintenance and development of the system over to a contractor. I think that says a lot about our time, enough said in that regard.

I remember with a good bit of pride the day I went into my boss’s office and told him I wanted to write a software solution which was only related to my primary responsibility in a peripheral way. I proposed writing a software migration tool for database objects that not only managed the version history of objects, but also automated their promotion from test environments to production, womb to tomb automated management of software objects, providing significant third-party labor savings. The boss said it couldn’t be done. I managed to persuade him to give me three months to deliver the solution. I wanted six months — because of his pessimism he was not inclined to make it easy. There was nothing available in the commercial sphere that performed this function. It was a big deal. The project was a success and I delivered it within the three month time-frame. This is the reason I like to think of myself as a “software developer” rather than a “software laborer.”

Of course, now I just write a personal blog, and promote my blog entries to the publishing platform manually… It’s more fun that way…



On Voting

Journal Entry (Saturday October 22, 2022)



I voted in my State’s General Election today by mail-in ballot. I have absolutely no concern that my ballot will in any way fall pry to voter fraud of any kind. If you seriously believe your ballot has been tampered with, I suggest you log on to your state’s voter website and verify that your vote was recorded as you intended. Of course if you still believe your vote was tampered with (if you don’t trust your state’s voting record) that indicates one of two things to me: either 1) you think you are living in China or Russia (if that’s what you think, may I suggest you buy a map and a compass so you can locate yourself with a bit more accuracy) or 2) your I.Q. is somewhere south of 80. Bear in mind my initial statement, I have complete confidence my vote will be properly handled, not only that, but you should know that as far as I.Q. goes, I’m just a hard working 81. Given that, you can safely assume yours is probably somewhere south of zero. I’m sorry if that insults you, but keep in mind one other bit of trivia that is important to understand: A coup d’etat is not a valid democratic process. If you think it is, you might want get out that handy map and compass again.



Starbursts

Journal Entry (Thursday October 20, 2022)



WARNING. I’m getting just a bit political here, and I know that isn’t always a good thing, but I’m going to do it anyway.

All you need to know about Kevin McCarthy is that he actually took the time to collect a jar full of Donald Trump’s favorite Starburst flavor… and then presented it to him.



A Toast

Journal Entry (Wed October 12, 2022)



It is my privilege to offer the first toast tonight…

As the proud father of the bride,
who adores his daughter,
let me just say…

a few words about Scott.

Scott has a creative mind and is very talented,
he’s also a superb skier and climber.
A superb skier…
for a guy that skis on half a pair of bindings and a bent knee…
But, don’t try to follow him down Mid-Cirque,
unless you know what you are doing!

I’ve hung-out enough with Scott,
that I can say without reservation:
He’s a terrific guy…
I couldn’t ask for a better son-in-law.

You’re pretty cool too honey…

Let me finish this toast very simply:
May your love guide you,
may your love sustain you,
and may your love fulfill you,
for all the days of your lives!

Cheers!



Porcupine Rim

Journal Entry (Thu October 6, 2022)



Porcupine Rim. BLM East of Moab.



Live In The Present

Journal Entry (Thu October 6, 2022)



A wise man once said:
If you’re angry it’s because you’re living in the past.
If you’re fearful it’s because you’re living in the future.
If you’re happy it’s because you’re living in the present.

LIVE IN THE PRESENT

What does that mean exactly, or perhaps a better way to put it is, how do you insure you’re living in the present. I don’t know the answer for everyone, for me, it’s all about where my focus is. I think artists have a natural ability to focus on something to the point where they are creating a reality from just their mind. Of course there is an outcome to this focus, it is the art that they are creating, but there is a side effect, in order to create they have to be in the moment, they must be living in the present. I can’t imagine an artist is not happy when they are creating. To live in the present, you must live like an artist. Whatever you are doing, you must give it your focus, you must listen and not interrupt, you must think about the other person, not yourself, and certainly, It doesn’t hurt to pursue creative tasks now and then, even if you’re not an artist.



The wise man in this case is Instagram. Instagram is not a complete waste of time, but I might have also learned this by studying the Stoics, which would probably speak a bit more highly of me if that were the case.

The Perfect Pen

Journal Entry (Tue October 4, 2022)



I love to write, but I prefer to write by hand. In fact almost everything that finds its way to this blog starts out hand-written. I enjoy the experience, there is something uniquely satisfying about hand-writing my thoughts. Along with that love comes a desire to find a really fine pen, one that writes smoothly and just feels good when putting words down on paper. It took some effort, but I have found the perfect pen, it is the Stalogy ball point pen. It’s a 0.7 width pen that uses low-viscosity oil-based ink, made in Japan. The latter should really not come as a surprise. The Japanese have a penchant(?) for making ordinary things well, which in turn brings joy to simple everyday tasks - like writing.

I realize this is a bit of a leap, and possible a stereotype, maybe even nonsense, but it feels real to me. Upon further reflection, it occurs to me that if Americans were able to look at the simple things in life in a similar manner, it might just have a profound impact on our culture, perhaps even how we treat one another. I realize this is probably a stretch, but I’m going to go with it anyway.



My Final Cat Poem

Journal Entry (Mon October 3, 2022)



The cat sleeps at my feet.
Why does he do that?
Comfort… security…
It doesn’t “accomplish” anything,
other than make him feel good.
My poetry is like that for me…



I use the word “final” in a very cautionary way. I really could not guarantee this will be the last time I ever expound poetically about cats…

14/25

Journal Entry (Wed Jun 8, 2022)



I must see:

The Grand Canyon, Arizona (check)
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
The Delicate Arch, Utah
The Golden Gate Bridge, California (check)
Old Faithful, Wyoming (check)
Hoover Dam, Nevada (check)
Half Dome, California (check)
Chimney Rock, Nebraska (check)
Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana
Statue of Liberty, New York (check)
Devils Tower, Wyoming
Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. (check)
Fort Sumter, South Carolina
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Monticello, Virginia
Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho (check)
The Breakers, Rhode Island
Crater Lake, Oregon (check)
Space Needle, Washington (check)
Portland Head Light, Maine (check)
Denali, Alaska
Taos Pueblo, New Mexico
The Alamo, Texas (check)
Southernmost Point Buoy, Florida (check)
Jenny Lake, Wyoming

Score: 14/25



This is admittedly a somewhat random list of 25. (I did not come up with this list.) I hope my journeys take me to more places than these… National Parks… Classic ski resorts… Famous overland routes… Iconic bicycle routes… the list really is endless…

Wise Man

Journal Entry (Sun Mar 27, 2022)

”The wise man looks both ways before crossing a one-way street.”



I’m just a hard working 81 I.Q.



Thank you Terry for pointing that out to me. I live it, trust me.

Pull The Plug

Journal Entry (Sun Mar 27, 2022)

I’m aware there are people that will take exception to this, however beware, those that do may have an agenda that includes you in a way you may not be conscious of…



Facebook is a corrupter of society.
Leaving will make a difference in the world.
Be brave, pull the plug, do it now.
There will still be plenty to look at elsewhere,
and chances are, what you find will be better.



Be Nice

Journal Entry ( a bit later Fri Mar 18, 2022)



“Be nice. (The world is a small town.)”

— Austin Kleon

Putin is learning this lesson the hard way…

I don’t mean to make light of current events, but sometimes looking at them in a simplistic way can reveal true insight…