We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Look, I know it's amusing talking about Ron Paul! Ron Paul! is a blast. Everybody loves a verbal grenade rolled into excrutiatingly dull settings. But politics is supposed to be dull. Politics was interesting in Russia in 1917, in Iran in 1979, in Venezuela last year... well, what I'm trying to tell you is you don't want to "live in interesting times."
Now, young persons and people in rent-controlled apartments that work at fair trade coffee shops can afford the luxury of talking about whether the American Civil War was a good idea. If you just got out of college, Ron Paul! is right up your alley. Why talk about today's silly problems when Ron Paul! is arguing about whether we should abolish the Second Bank of The US? It's so much more lively to talk about history, because it's on the shelf and you can find any damn version of it you want to argue over. Real time isn't indexed yet.
Ron Paul! is captivating to youngins because he's like the reset button on Halo. You don't have to live with your decisions in the context of your surroundings. If you charge into a nest of fiat currency economies or Brutes, Elites, and Grunts and get slaughtered, just start over! Instead of having to offer cogent and useful advice on how to move forward in contemporary life, you just mention that contemporary life shouldn't be that way. But governance is not an editing exercise. It's a writing exercise. The editors are many; some have access to editorial pages, and some have access to nuclear weapons. And if you're feeling devil-may-care with every aspect of government andyou figure: Why not blow it up and start over? it's useful to remember that the fellow behind door number two when you press the reset button on government sometimes isn't all that interested in the gold standard; he might be more interested in invading Poland or collectivizing the farms or something.
So Ron Paul! excites youth because they really don't think they have anything at stake yet in the affairs of the world. And he attracts the survivalist nuts who have already gone to the bunker, and desire someone to give the imprimatur of sanity to their decision to drink their own urine, hoard Kruggerands, and eat Spam underground already. The Pat Buchananites love anyone who says: Things used to be swell but now they suck. And conventional Conservatives, ashamed to call themselves that because the hip kids will photoshop them in Brownshirts or in a bathroom stall with Larry Craig, call themselves Libertarians for cover and adore Ron Paul! because he says over and over again that he's not interested in doing the one thing Libertarians hate: governing. So he's got the idealistic college kids, the country club anarchists, and the nuts. Who's that help?
Did agriculture make a mess of the world? From Hunter-gatherers: Noble or Savage? in The Economist. It begins:
Human beings have spent most of their time on the planet as hunter-gatherers. From at least 85,000 years ago to the birth of agriculture around 73,000 years later, they combined hunted meat with gathered veg. Some people, such as those on North Sentinel Island in the Andaman Sea, still do. The Sentinelese are the only hunter-gatherers who still resist contact with the outside world. Fine-looking specimens—strong, slim, fit, black and stark naked except for a small plant-fibre belt round the waist—they are the very model of the noble savage. Genetics suggests that indigenous Andaman islanders have been isolated since the very first expansion out of Africa more than 60,000 years ago.
About 12,000 years ago people embarked on an experiment called agriculture and some say that they, and their planet, have never recovered. Farming brought a population explosion, protein and vitamin deficiency, new diseases and deforestation. Human height actually shrank by nearly six inches after the first adoption of crops in the Near East. So was agriculture “the worst mistake in the history of the human race”, as Jared Diamond, evolutionary biologist and professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, once called it?
I stumbled into an online petition yesterday entitled "End Climate Change Now!" Such foolishness makes me laugh and cry. If every human on the planet were to sacrifice their lives on the altar of Gaia today, the climate would continue to change. Who do we think we are, anyway? Climate is always going either up, or down. It never stands still, but zigs and zags, like every natural phenomenon. But it led my thoughts to lovely, remote Greenland.
The population of Greenland is 56,000, about 85% Eskimo. As you recall, Denmark "owns" Greenland, but they are mostly self-governing. The imperialist Eskimos invaded pristine Greenland around the same time that the imperialist Erik "the Red" Thorwaldsson began to bring settlers to Greenland, in the late 900s.
Earth has been in an Ice Age (mostly Pleistocene - previously the entire planet had been tropical for a long time) for 3 million years ("Ice Age" defined by ice on both poles), with repeated advances and retreats of the ice sheets, and repeated micro and macro fluctuations which are just trivial blips on a giant chart.
We only know a lot about a few of these blips, such as the "Little Ice Age" of 1000-1350s, and the "Medieval Warm Period" (1400-1900), when it was possible to grow all sorts of crops in England.
Major "cool periods," or Ice Ages, occur about every 200 million years, and last several to tens of millions of years. The most recent advance of our current ice sheet peaked about 10,000 years ago (this one tends to advance and reteat every 15-18,000 years). We, in our micro view, often term the most recent advance "The Ice Age" - the one with Wooly Mammoths etc. But we are, historically, in the middle of the big one now. Will another little ice advance occur and bury NYC? Definitely. We are in the longest cold period in the earth's history.
Stop climate change? Heck no. It's freezing out, sleeting and snowing, and we are, in fact, in the middle of a darn ice age. A bit of a warm spell should be welcomed as a blessing. No, I will sign no Stop Warming petition, but I'd sign one to stop tectonic plate movement. I do not want MA to reconnect itself to Africa just now, and only Halliburton could move those things.
Check out this site for historical climate changes. As you can see by the graph on the right from Scotese, we have been in a heavy duty cold spell for quite a while. When our climatologists look at climate, they tend to look at the micro picture, but that is like trying to predict the stock market by looking at one day's fluctuations. It's meaningless. And apparently most folks, other than the loonies, have figured that out.
Problem is, we have another blip of a serious Ice Age coming on our path to our return to the normal Pleistocene tropical climate. Can we handle it?
We will survive; we can cope, but just as surely we will all die off, in time, in whatever apocalypse the future has in store for mankind - even if we last long enough to see the sun fade out. That is history's lesson, and the lesson of science.
Image of Mammoth: Moravec does excellent prehistoric paintings. Check out his cool website.
The problem with the article is the cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Do happy people give, or does giving make people happy? Or are there other variables that independently produce those results, as it turned out with eating broccoli?
I think that happy people take joy in much of what they do, whether it is giving or anything else. Still, giving is a pleasure for many reasons. Receiving isn't always enjoyable, for even more complicated reasons.
"Carelessness. I lost my one true love. I started drinking. The first thing I know, I'm in a card game. Then I'm in a crap game. I wake up in a pool hall. Then this big Mexican lady drags me off the table, takes me to Philadelphia. She leaves me alone in her house, and it burns down. I wind up in Phoenix. I get a job as a Chinaman. I start working in a dime store, and move in with a 13-year-old girl. Then this big Mexican lady from Philadelphia comes in and burns the house down. I go down to Dallas. I get a job as a 'before' in a Charles Atlas 'before and after' ad. I move in with a delivery boy who can cook fantastic chili and hot dogs. Then this 13-year-old girl from Phoenix comes and burns the house down. The delivery boy — he ain't so mild: He gives her the knife, and the next thing I know I'm in Omaha. It's so cold there, by this time I'm robbing my own bicycles and frying my own fish. I stumble onto some luck and get a job as a carburetor out at the hot-rod races every Thursday night. I move in with a high school teacher who also does a little plumbing on the side, who ain't much to look at, but who's built a special kind of refrigerator that can turn newspaper into lettuce. Everything's going good until that delivery boy shows up and tries to knife me. Needless to say, he burned the house down, and I hit the road. The first guy that picked me up asked me if I wanted to be a star. What could I say?"
The words and lyrics of the spiritual Go tell it on the Mountain were written by John W. Work, Jr. (1872-1925). John Work Jr. is best known for his collection, the Folk Songs of the American Negro. He graduated from Fisk University in 1898 and became a teacher. He died in 1925 in Nashville, where he was born. Here's Dolly:
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead."
So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."