Saturday, September 29, 2018

I hope Space X can still flourish

Oh no. If Elon Musk's life and businesses start to unravel, what will happen to Space X? One of Musk's companies, Space X, could be our pathway to "higher levels."

Resupply capsules to the International Space Station while government bureaucracies often wonder if they can get off the ground. The reusable rocket that returns to the pad. Recently launching of NASA's Tess planet hunting satellite. One of the first big science missions that used a private launch service.

Musk has his ambitions, but with that can also come trouble. Sometimes I take heart in the foibles of the elite. I'm just a janitor. Friends of mine say that I shouldn't say "just a janitor." They say, take out the just.

Anyway, I enjoy learning from those adventures into space. Robotics for sure. People in space? Like to Mars? Well, only if it doesn't eat up everything else in the science budget.

Myself, an armchair quarterback, I hope Space X and other big thinking companies can still flourish.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Less bags. Even garbage bags can be avoided if slimy food waste can go in a separate compost bin.

Knowing what's best for the environment can be a confusing. Using the least amount of bags is best tho.

This British study, talked about here, says that plastic shopping bags might have a lower footprint on the environment than cloth. To put it another way, one would have to reuse a heavy cloth bag over 100 times for it to have less of a footprint than the cheapest plastic bags. That has to do with what it takes to grow the cotton, make the bag and so forth.

Still, I am skeptical due to the effect of discarded plastic waste in the environment, however many plastics are biodegradable. The best strategy is to reuse the bag many times, or not use a bag.

Personally, I use my bicycle panniers. I guess even folks who drive don't have to use shopping bags either. Just roll the shopping cart out to your vehicle and put your groceries into reusable containers. I bring the cart to my bicycle and load my panniers. Actually I just use the store's shopping basket as I seldom buy many groceries in one trip.

This radio interview overlooked a big elephant in the room. The automobile. What effect does driving to the store have on the environment? In my case, I live in a dense urban neighborhood so I can walk, or bike to the store each day.

Here in Bellingham, plastic shopping bags have been banned by city ordinance. Stores have to charge extra for a bag which is usually paper. I never buy the bag. Paper bags may be worse for the environment than plastic as they are heavier (more material) and they tend to degrade so they can be less reusable.

This British study also compared the impact of paper bags. It says that their manufacture places a bigger footprint on the environment than the cheapest plastic. Paper bags lie somewhere between plastic and cloth as to the impact of their manufacture on the environment.

Plastic trash bags are an issue also. I seldom use them at home

For garbage, I am fortunate living near the Bellingham Food Co-Op where there is a green waste. Food scraps that tend to turn smelly in garbage can be carefully placed in the green bin to become compost. Other "dry" wastes, like plastics, can be kept clean for recycling.

As I've written about before, biodegradable plastic shouldn't go with other plastics as that degrades the mix. I try and put that in the compost bin, or it that is not available in regular trash.

Basically, I really don't use garbage bags at home. Living close to waste bins, I separate and take things there. Some things, especially stuff made from mixed materials, I do put directly in the dumpster. No need for a garbage bag, I just take it directly there. Food waste is the worse stuff for going to the dumpster if there is no bag, but use of the green waste bin seems to solve that messy problem.

I'll admit, where I work, we sure go through a lot of plastic garbage bags. At work, I try to reuse the huge amount of trash bags they use for dirty towels. I give the bags a second life lining trash bins in my work area. (I'm a custodian at a YMCA). They tried reusable cloth bags for the dirty towels, but they don't last. They tear too easy.

Monday, September 17, 2018

No matter how much the Catholic Church cracks down on sexual abuse, it's still hard to control until some doctornal changes are made

More news keeps appearing about sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church. Seems like no matter how much they crack down on this, they can't control it. Not even a total police state would work.

Seems to me that two radical changes in their doctrine might help. Allowing women into the priesthood and dropping the celibacy requirement for priesthood.

Allowing women in the priesthood would bring more diversity and different kinds of emotional energy to the profession. Dropping celibacy as a requirement would help to provide other erotic outlets for people who need that.

I tend to think that celibacy could still be upheld as a virtue without making it a rigid requirement for the job. The virtue would be the idea that people can strive to not always be enslaved by their animal / emotional instincts. The preaching of mind over matter so to speak. Making total celibacy as a vocational requirement is problematic however.

In a lot of ways, fundamentalist Protestant churches have even more hypocrisy and problems of their own. The Catholic Church does have a little more tolerance and compassion than a lot of churches, depending on who's in charge. I would think that the best churches tend to be the liberal non fundamentalist churches of several denominations as well as liberal leaning gatherings of many non Christian faiths. Outdated, rigid doctrines cause problems.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

(1950) "Let's Go to Town - Solutions to City Traffic Congestion"

This video, from 1950, is a fascinating find. Talks about the problem of traffic congestion in big cities; especially downtown. The problem in 1950.

Seems like certain things don't change. The solution being proposed is to move people instead of cars. That idea is still being discussed today. The answer proposed is more public transit. Buses. Get people out of cars and onto buses. Much more efficient. Takes up less space.

Interesting who's proposing this solution. General Motors!

Yes, contrary to what some folks think today. The "big bad car company" is promoting public transit. It's the GM Bus division. This film is a promo for GM buses. Similar message to what I see in a lot of environmental planning videos of today.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Controversy over tearing down of certain statues is a sign that societies norms are evolving and possibly improving over time

While lots of people argue over the status of statues about historic figures that may have had slaves, bigoted attitudes and so forth, I have an optimistic thought about this. The controversy happens because society has progressed over the years. Attitudes and practices that would be considered bigoted today were basically normal back then. The normal is changing; at least in western societies.

The best way to deal with these statues is to keep them for remembering history. Rewrite descriptions to acknowledge the faults as well as the accomplishments of historic figures. Possibly move some of the statues to less prominent locations.

Even today, no one is perfect. To a large extent, we are all products of our times. Folks of the future might tear down statues of people from today who continued participating in the culture of fossil fuel consumption. We are a product of our times. To a large extent, people do the best they can given the norms and culture they live in. Those norms can change.

Some things in the news, past and present.

Old Highway 99 through Washington State once named for Confederate President Jefferson Davis. This situation was forgotten, but rediscovered in 2002 sparking a controversy. Marker discovered in Peace Arch Park.

2018. The City of Victoria, BC in Canada planning to remove the statue of John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister, from the front steps of city hall because of what it says is his role as "a leader of violence against Indigenous peoples."