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.
Mid-life crisis. I think the signature fiasco did him in and he just snapped - wants to walk it back to a more stable situation where he can regain his balance. I say this only because I went through this once and it appears to be very similar in terms of his behavior.
$7.9 billion into bullet train
One of my long time good friends lives in the San Diego area, works for Boeing (has for over 30 years) and has had enough - he's moving to South Carolina to become a Chief Engineer at the Boeing plant down near Charleston. He loves California, loves living in San Diego, but he can't afford to live there - and he makes a VERY good salary and is a big shot in the engineering division of Boeing. Tells you something doesn't it?
Scientology Scifi fan mythology has it that L. Ron Hubbard made a bar bet with Robert Heinlein that he could start a religion and make a lot of money. This was shortly after the publication of Heinlein's "Stranger in A Strange Land" which, as fate would have it, involves the establishment of a religion based on Martian water rituals. In fact, Scientology follows some very similar policies and procedures and beliefs which are clearly devised from the "SiASL" plot outline. Nobody knows if the bar bet every actually happened (although some of the Grand Masters of the genre claim to have been there when it happened), but it is well understood that Hubbard wanted to make money (as he was somewhat of a minor scifi author) and invented Dianetics - the rest is history.
What amazes me is that Scientology is still viable. Probably because of the major money contributors, all the Inner Circle of Enlightenment stuff and such, but I can't truly understand why these folks fall for this stuff.
Alternative energy is always an interesting concept to me. I spend a bit of time every year investigating solutions to see if they are cost effective, yet.
Last year when oil prices were rising, some alternatives were getting close. But now they aren't anymore.
It's amazing to me that people still believe a full and complete elimination of fossil fuels is viable today. Even if there was a major alternative that could reduce our reliance, it's almost certain that fossil fuels would continue to play a role in any economic structure. As alternatives replace fossils, fossil prices would drop....and third world nations would begin to use them to ramp up their industrialization.
Meanwhile, they'd still play a role in an economy which was predominantly based on alternatives. It's just a question of what that role would be (a friend who is a geologist for Exxon once told me he considered fossil fuels a 'last mile' solution no matter what the future holds - they provide too much power at too low a cost to be abandoned completely).
I suppose if hydrogen could be made efficiently, and delivered in a stable and reliable fashion, then maybe the fossil fuel debate would end. But I imagine that technology is still pretty far off, too. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/hydrogen.shtml
It's all about bang for the buck and fossil fuels provide the best bang for the buck. Nothing else delivers more energy per erg.
What these alternative energy folks don't understand is that energy density of fossil fuels cannot be duplicated unless you consider nuclear energy (fission or fusion). The technology just isn't there to provide the end result which is power. Technical development never comes from throwing money at something - it always comes from the engineer, technician or scientist noticing something interesting and wondering "huh - wonder why that happened?".