August 28, 2008

It's The End Of The World!

Category: Life — Cranky @

Over the centuries there have been countless doomcryers. Some of them gained a modicum of respect over the years, such as Nostradamus, but the vast majority have simply been forgotten.

It must be sobering to be utterly convinced that the world will end soon, and then to wake up the day after your prediction failed to come through to find out that the great blue ball is still spinning away, uninterrupted. How does one handle being wrong about something so fundamental?

“The Church Universal and Triumphant”, led by Mark and Elizabeth Prophet, solved that issue rather elegantly. They predicted nuclear war on April 23, 1990, and when it failed to materialize they declared themselves as having averted disaster through their prayers. Other groups have taken a more proactive stance and orchestrated their suicides prior to the dates of their predicted demise.

The scientific era has brought a new kind of doomcryer – one with a tiny bit of scientific knowledge, a very narrow viewpoint, and an inability to comprehend the significance of, let alone utilize, the scientific method. Global warming zealots are a good example of these nutjobs. To them the debate is over, and everybody not on board should be rounded up as heretics and shot. These same people seem to represent the scientific world, but they do a disservice to that group. They’ve been predicting environmental doomsday for the last century, and show no signs of letting up. I find that rather amusing, as the world has endured at least 6 extinction events that we are aware of, and it’s still cooking along.

When people should keep in mind is that every single person that has predicted the end of the world before today has been totally, unequivocally wrong. Credence should not be given to anybody who draws a line in the sand and says, “That’s when the world will end.” Some might hedge their bets, and say, “the world as we know it”, but as soon as they get that far their claims should be carefully scrutinized. If shoddy science underlies their prediction, then it’s no better than that of a homeless guy with a bad attitude and a sandwich board.


August 18, 2008

My Car Isn't The Problem

Category: Environment — Cranky @

For the first time that I’m aware of, somebody looked at my car with disapproval.

It happened in the parking lot of a Superstore. A woman was loading her groceries into her Toyota Prius, and she looked over at my car and said, “Don’t you think it’s irresponsible to drive a car like that?”

“How so?”, I asked.

“I know what kind of mileage the RX-8 gets,” she replied.

A number of responses entered my head, but every one of them led down the path of a prolonged argument with somebody who had already made up her mind. It did, however, get me thinking. I wonder what it would take to get off of the petroleum treadmill? If somebody is truly against fossil fuels, it seems to me that their goal should be to not use any.

The bags that contained her groceries were plastic, and most of the foods were likely encased in plastic of some sort. Plastics are made of oil. Cars contain huge amounts of plastics, and the manufacturing of them uses even more. The production of the food she bought certainly involved oil. After all, harvesters don’t run on good wishes and rainbows. Even if the food production in question was somehow miraculously free of oil usage, it was undoubtedly transported to the grocery store in vehicles that consume oil.

Oil is found in fuel, plastics, rubber, detergent, paint, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, make-up, dyes, film, candles, and much, much more. If you want out of oil, you’re going to have to live in an unpainted wood house without electricity. You’ll also have to live without light after dark. You can’t own a vehicle, nor can you own a bike, since tires are made of rubber. You’ll have to grow your food in walking distance from your home, without the aid of fertilizers, and you must haul it back to the house by hand. You can’t have a telephone. You can’t even have running water, since the pumps involved in bringing it to you use electricity that most likely originated in a power plant that runs on coal (at least around here). No TV, no internet, no anything.

In short, you have to regress to the existence of a pioneer homesteader.

I drive less than 10,000 kilometers per year. I wonder if the lady and her Prius could claim the same? In raw numbers I might actually use less fuel than she does. For her to be judgmental about my car seems silly. After all, if we were having a baby seal clubbing contest, she’d be feeling smug and morally superior because she clubs slightly fewer seals.


August 8, 2008

I Wish I May, I Wish I Might… Part II

Category: Life — Cranky @

I wish that smoked oysters tasted exactly as they do today without having to be packed in that viscous, vile oil that goes rancid in the garbage within 12 hours.

I wish that carrots, cabbage, and beets were carcinogenic, and fatty cuts of meat helped to keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control.

I wish that testicles were on the inside of the body, for the obvious reason of pain avoidance.

I wish that Canada would hurry up and break apart already.

I wish that Alberta had one candidate for Premier that was both charismatic and competent. Right now we’re zero for two.

I wish that everybody who is convinced that humanity is an unpleasant species that is soiling the planet would just opt out. Self-loathing, in any form, is pointless and disgusting.

I wish the U.S. would pull out of its economic tailspin. This wish might be the one least likely to come true, but it sure would be nice, wouldn’t it?

I wish people would read contracts and understand them before they sign them.

I wish that lawyers would write contracts that could be read and understood by laymen.

Failing that, I wish that every lawyer who creates a contract containing any unnecessary language or obfuscation by legalese or acronym would simply drop dead of no apparent cause.