Sunday, November 18, 2018

Should California have different types of forests due to the future of drought?

When Trump visits California, I hear that he blames the fires on forests that need to be thinned, rather than drought and global warming. Maybe there's a bit of truth in both places.

For sure, it's mostly drought. Even managed pasture lands are too dry. There isn't much one can do if the rain doesn't fall. On the other hand, California's long term prognosis is trending dry according to many of the climate scientists. Does that mean different forest management practices? This may mean we can't hang onto our forests of the past.

Yes, the forests might need more thinning, or different management techniques. Also think about what type of plants are growing there. Should we switch to more drought tolerant species? California oak at higher elevations? Less flammable conifer? More deciduous trees?

As a disclaimer I should say that I know just enough about forestry to make me dangerous. Maybe that isn't knowing quite enough.

Should we be building the new type of forest like we're in charge? Humans in the driver's seat? Sorry mother nature. There's 7.5 billion people on this planet. More and more people in the driver's seat, so to speak. Using fossil fuels at least until solar energy really takes hold. We do really need to push alternative transportation and alternative energy more. Birth control also.

Liberal minded folks, in California, will say that much of the state's forest land is managed by the federal government, not California. I guess that opens the door for Trump to blame Obama for the problems.

A California forest management person was on one of these shows I listen to, I forget which one. KQED Forum, in San Francisco? WBUR, Boston?

Anyway, he mentioned the need to use forests for sequestering carbon. That goal may conflict with the idea of thinning the forests to address the fire hazard. I got to thinking that these conflicting goals can be taken into account in deciding what types of vegetation they use for replanting the forests. Keeping in mind the possibility of a dryer California, are there plants that still sequester the carbon as well as the original forest types in each region?

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Lowering ones age for the dating sites and other reasons

As gender categories become less rigid, what about age categories? Dutch man attempts to legally lower his age. The doctor says he's got the health of a younger person so how about making that official? Lowering one's legal age. Apparently he's even willing to forfeit those years paid into a pension plan. He must be able to afford that. A big motivation for wanting to lower one's age is dating. A younger age makes one's profile more competitive on dating sites like Tinder. That's a big factor.

It still seems like a lot of bother to go through for a more popular profile. I'd rather just find less competitive connections to community than the dating games.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The US going farther into debt

US budget jumps to 100 billion at start of fiscal year.

A ballooning U.S. budget shortfall -- fueled by tax cuts, spending hikes and an aging population.

I'd add, spending keeps increasing for things like the military, Medicare, veterans benefits and so forth. Meanwhile, tax cuts don't generate the revenue that Republicans predict. The increase in revenue falls far short of the increase in spending.

The economy is strong, these days, but much of the income is not taxable. Its less taxable due to tax cuts. Much of today's prosperity is boosted by federal spending, however. For instance, Bellingham's biggest employer, these days, is Saint Joe's Hospital. Medicine is now a big part of the economy nationwide, not just here in Bellingham. Much of that is Medicare and Medicaid spending. An aging population.

In recent years, the Federal Reserve has helped to finance the debt by printing money, but the Fed is tightening up the money supply, a bit, due to worries about inflation. This means even more actual borrowing.

Somehow the government still gets by with this. We, the population, trust the government as it's basically still the only game in town. Much of our savings, retirement savings and so forth is based on government debt. The government continues to be able to borrow money.

Our aging population is likely to continue driving deficits. One way to partially remedy this is to allow more legal immigration of especially young working people into the US. Increase the payroll and the tax rolls. Still, immigration can be overwhelming as world population is growing past 7.5 billion. There's only so many people our countries of, USA, Canada, Europe and Australia can take. That's why we still need to promote birth control, worldwide and also try and improve economic and human rights conditions in the countries where people are coming from. To keep the flow of immigration manageable. Otherwise it could overwhelm us causing economic and political problems; push back for instance. Think climate change refugees. The problem could overwhelm us. Still, a steady flow of immigrants can enlarge our economy and help pay for our aging baby boom generation's retirement. At least modestly raising our quotas for legal immigration would help. Also we would need to plan for more density in many of our residential areas to address the housing shortage that growing populations bring. Rational planning, that's what we need. Is that too much to expect?

As for taxes, they should be higher on especially the idol rich. Even upper middle class; like the top 20% probably needs to pay a bit more on personal income. Keeping some of the tax cuts for business and corporations might be okay, tho not popular. We don't want to smother business with too many taxes. At the same time, I'm not a big fan of corporate culture. Business is okay, I don't hate it, but I do think we are too motivated by greed. Quality of life matters more to me than income. We need to think that way. Still, business is a good tool to continued prosperity. If we want prosperity, I can understand not taxing business to death. If money is working in the economy, that's okay, but we do need to reign in the idol rich, which I think are a problem. Super rich individuals who mostly spend their money on high living. The rich pushing up real estate prices and so forth. Also, in our quest for prosperity, we have to take climate change into account. Pay more for energy. Convert to solar. I'll also add that we need more fair income distribution, but I'm running out of time and I can't solve all the world's problems here Lol.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Seeing a therapist in 8th grade and high school

One of the pleasant memories of my childhood was, strangely enough, seeing a therapist. The psychology department at the university where I grew up offered counseling to the community as a way for their grad students to get practice. It was free, or almost free. There was supposed to be a sliding scale, but they made if free after, from what I remember, there was suspicion that the clinic receptionist was embezzling money.

I remember it was considered cool to see a therapist among certain groups during my schooling days; a part of rebellion against stogy conservatism during the Vietnam War. It was cool among some students to think deeply, see a therapist, be creative. Other groups would kind of laugh at this idea.

At first I resisted as I was attempting the macho, stiff upper lip style. I thought of therapy as some silly new fad. For a while I might have been trying to fit in with the more macho set.

Due to my own anxiety problems that short lived attempt at stoicism fell through and I went to the therapist. I found it was quite enjoyable. A time to know that I could share what was going on in my head. It was a pleasant time. I looked forward to the day of the appointment each week.

Since then, I haven't been to much therapy, but sometimes find friends, or even expressing myself on Facebook, to be therapeutic. I think the university, here in Bellingham, has a similar counseling program to the one I grew up with, but somehow, I feel a bit odd going these days now that I am much older than the grad students. It could still be useful, but it's a bit different now that I'm older than the students I thought of as mentors back then.

Monday, November 12, 2018

California fires blamed on bad forest planning? How about climate change denial.

Sad to see so much of California on fire. Trump is in the news again blaming it on bad planning and threatening to pull federal disaster relief funding for future fires such as these. The bad planning is climate change denial, of which Trump, himself, is party to. Drought seems to be the biggest problem. This dwarfs whatever can be done through forest management practices. Planning as if one is living in a desert is in order. I do hope they get the seasonal rains, but I fear that drought is becoming the new normal. At the same time, Florida needs to be planning for encroachment from rising sea waters and larger hurricanes . The federal budget may be drying up for disaster relief also. Better planning would help here as well. The effects of climate change need to be figured into budgets. We may not be able to afford tax cuts.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

The states I have been in. Most of this list is by bicycle. Only 1 state by plane.

Washington is the only state I've lived in. It's also the only state I've flown in. Seattle to Pullman. Bellingham to Mt. Baker.

By bicycle, I've ridden across USA. That brought me to Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, Canada, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Came back by train.

The farthest I have ever been from my home has been by bicycle. Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts. I've never been in a jet plane and have never been overseas. Maybe someday I should try this.

My second trip across USA picked up more states. North Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. I came back by train from New York State. By train only, I picked up New Jersey on that trip.

I've also ridden in Washington State (of course).

Have traveled down the coast several times by bicycle. Washington, Oregon and on down the California coast. Came back by train.

The states I have been to by car and no other means are Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Missouri and Nebraska. Childhood family trips. Some of the states I've bicycled to I have also been to by car. As far east as Michigan and as far south as California.

During my early childhood, we took a train trip back to Washington, DC. That picked up DC, Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia.

All other states I've never been to. I've never been overseas and only been in two Canadian provinces. British Columbia and Ontario by bicycle.

I've been to all 39 counties of Washington State by bicycle.

I don't have a bucket list. A bucket list can add stress to one's life. My travels have been pleasant, however. Nothing too earth shaking in more ways than one; like climate change, for instance.