Wednesday, March 30, 2022

If there is a spiritual realm, it's likely very different from the claims that religions have made for thousands of years.

Here is a common question. Why would there be such a diversity of Christians who worship the same all-powerful deity? Why would so many of them be contradicting each other not to mention the other religions in this world as well?

My answer would be. There is a big difference between what reality actually is and what various traditions and people think reality is. Even if there is something akin to a spiritual realm, our limited perceptions of that truth's nature are likely very different than what that reality actually is.

Even traditional beliefs that have been held for thousands of years could be wrong. Just because they have stood the test of time doesn't mean they could stand the test of science. Modern science is fairly new so beliefs held for thousands of years, before science, could easily be debunked by something new and much more accurate; modern scientific evidence.

The concept of the sun going around the earth stood the test of time longer than the concept of the earth going around the sun, but the second concept has better stood the test of modern science.

Seems like many of our old beliefs, that have been dividing us for centuries, do need to be discarded.

If there is a spiritual reality, which I still believe is possible, we've had it pretty much wrong for all of human history. What reality is and what our perceptions of what reality is are likely to be quite different.

There still is a lot more that we can learn.


Bad religion does more to kill people's belief in God than does science
My article in April 2022 The Betty Pages.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Given the transgender issue, maybe people take competitive sports too seriously.

On political talk shows, there is quite a bit of talk about the fairness of competition is sports given transgender, or non gender specific people in the population. Is this unfair competition in women's sports, for instance.

I haven't paid that much attention to that issue as competitive sports isn't a big factor in my life. I'm more into non competitive recreation. Things like dancing and bicycling without worrying about keeping score.

I know quite a few transgender people.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

A desire for relationships can cause a pressure to conform.

Over the years, I have tried to live my life in a way that is consistent with my political views. Consistent with my ideas about reducing climate change and so forth.

In some ways, this could isolate me from mainstream society, but I have found alternative ways to make connections with people. Not being that much into romantic relationships has helped. My way of thinking about companionship and eroticism is different.

I'm less family and relationship oriented than the norm. That seems to make it easier to not be pulled into the need to look like one has money. In the world of relationships, people are often judged by the car they drive, their clothing and their ability to have the home with a white picket fence. I've avoided that pressure.

Having to provide for a family with kids adds more responsibility. I'd guess, it's possible to have those things without joining the main stream rat race, but seems like it's more difficult.

I seem to have different expectations and desires than the majority of people.

Friday, March 25, 2022

The Doomsday Clock has been crying wolf for years. Folks are callus to the alarm. It has little room, but to only inch closer to Midnight.

The doomsday clock has been near midnight for so long that a move closer to midnight would have to be only a slight move. Otherwise it's at midnight. Such a slight move is not really noticed on a clock face.

Being near midnight, all these years, has been like crying wolf. Back during the peace dividend of the 1990s, maybe it should have been at a comfortable margin of hours before midnight.

Getting off dependency on fossil fuels. Temporary fixes for fuel price surges and replacing oil from Russia. Balancing contradictory goals.

Listening to Canadian Radio, news related to oil comes to mind.

British Columbia has a carbon tax which adds to it's high gas prices. Now that there is talk about gas tax holidays, in some US states, there is talk in BC as well. Could it be a temporary rebate from part of the carbon tax? If there is a carbon tax to begin with, there can be something to rebate.

Now I hear it is a rebate in BC's ICBC insurance rates. In BC, the province runs the vehicle insurance system. That system is said to be on sound financial footing.

BC taxes, including the carbon tax, can provide a cushion so there can still be money for things like transit and road maintanence. Here in USA, there is talk of gas tax cuts, but the taxes are used for infrastructure. Who pays for the roads?

I was thinking about my idea of a variable rate carbon tax. Raise the carbon tax, when fossil fuel prices are low, but bring it down when prices are high in order to stabilize fossil fuel prices somewhat. I think this would provide a more stable price footing for alternative energy. In much of the 2020 downturn, fossil fuel prices were too low leading to less push toward alternatives.

Someone commenting on my Facebook wall did suggest, however a different strategy. Rather than temporarily lowering carbon taxes during periods of high gas prices, use money to lower overall sales taxes which tend to be regressive taxes. There was an initiative to do that, several years back, here in Washington State, but it didn't pass at ballot box.

In other news. Canada is talking about temporarily increasing oil production to help Europe reduce it's use of Russian oil. How would that oil get to Europe? Much would travel by rail to the US Gulf Coast for shipment, from those ports, to Europe; the same route that Keystone Pipeline would have gone.

Oil trains might be better as a temporary solution. If Keystone Pipeline were built, it would be more permanent infrastructure. If we want to cut back on using fossil fuels, in the long run, we still shouldn't need that pipeline.

Conservatives still think we should have built, or should still build, that pipeline. Another pipeline to climate change. I think less consumer use of fossil fuels can help us as various countries scramble to help Europe. Countries are scrambling to patch up holes in supply. Holes related to increased demand after the pandemic and the situation with Russia.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

This over populated world's population growth could be stalling soon, well shy of the 10 billion predicted due to increasing famine and Russia's war in Ukraine

I am beginning to think that world population may not reach the 10 or 11 billion projected by 2050. Increasing starvation, due to climate change and other factors; most notably due to the folly of war between Russia and Ukraine, are predicted to take their tolls.

Ukraine and Russia have both been large wheat producers growing much of the food used, especially in countries like Egypt and Sudan; according to a recent article in New York Times. Recent flooding in China has harmed crops.

There is an irony in the conservative theology of Russia that passed anti gay propaganda laws to supposedly protect children. Many children are now dying in the war.

Unlike most of this crowded world, Russia has been loosing population while taking measures to try and increase childbirth in that country.

Ironically, there is now a mass migration of people trying to escape the war in Ukraine and the strict crackdown on freedom of information in Russia.

Countries in Europe, plus USA and a few others, are worried about more and more refugees that are knocking at our doors. In some cases, the refugees are the more creative, "think outside the box" folks who are escaping more strict and stifling societies.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Thoughts about my presence on the web. Flickr's new and more open policy is likely a good idea.

My mind is always bubbling with ideas. Sometimes I try to hold back on posting to Facebook as I'm sure folks can be made weary from information overload.

I think people's general weariness to news can cause less likes and responses.

This, amplified by algorithms that try to decipher and filter for what types of posts folks are engaging with.

Still, I hope that my mood isn't too dependent on the likes of Facebook. It's still good and therapeutic to share. Good for archival use as well; especially things on my blog and Flickr.

On Facebook, there is a search function. Years ago, it was called "Graph Search;" for some reason. I don't think personal walls on Facebook, get to Google due to the "walled garden" effect. Google bots are said not to enter if content is not on the open web.

Things on my Blog and Flickr are available to the Google search bots, but they are sometimes buried deep down in the listings.

Flickr's new terms of service seems like a good idea

Besides Facebook and my blog, I use Flickr. Recent changes that are planned for their Terms of Service seem reasonable. Something to think about in terms of alternatives to Facebook.

As I understand, Flickr plans to limit the number of photos that non subscribing users can set to private only viewing. Photos totally available to the public are more welcomed.

I think folks who wish to find alternatives to Facebook ought to think about this strategy. Part of the reason why alternatives to Facebook don't get off the ground is that content behind privacy or "friend only" walls are not available to new users. This means if the new platforms don't have the momentum of all your friends being there, it's hard to get things started.

The more public content of Flickr is easier to find and it does come up in Google Search as well.

Paid subscribers, to Flickr, can still post more private content if they wish, but public content is what helps a platform bring in users.

There is also quite a bit of nudity on Flickr which admittedly I enjoy. Photos of naked bike rides and so forth. This too is restricted to "age appropriate" audience. The number of "restricted" photos, in this category that can be posted by non paid users, will also be limited. The platform is still welcoming to nudity, however.

I am a paid user anyway. Yearly dues are quite reasonable.

Even though I am a paid user, most of my content is totally open except for some "adult" photos related to the local naked bike ride.

Worry about 5G's effect on human body could be a distraction, but there may be other problems with the rollout.

Seems like folks who worried about 5G's effects on the human body were barking up the wrong tree, but now we are learning about other problems with 5G.

Interference with other technologies that use airwaves in the microwave spectrum. Weather forecasting, satellite communications, research and the recent safety concerns about certain aircraft altimeters.

Stepping on the economic accelerator to roll out 5G causes some problems. I like science and technology, but the pressure to keep up with rising living costs and to keep jobs going can cause problems; like the phrase "don't let the grass grow under your wheels."

Then there is the worry that astronomers have about so many satellites, from Elon Musk and other sources, bringing interference to dark skys for astronomy. Interference in both the microwave spectrum for radio astronomy and reflected light for optical astronomy.

Interesting article How 5G wireless networks could send weather forcasting back 50 years. From Grist.

The times they are a changing. Less water in Colorado River. Likely to be the new normal.

Image I found on Facebook.

A large region of the US has built an economy on the assumption that there would be sufficient water in the Colorado River. Now it looks like the "new normal" means the river could be nearly drying up.

Not enough water height behind dams to run the turbines. Not enough water for agriculture and populations of the American Southwest.

Hydro electric power was not a huge source of the south west's power mix, but it's non fossil fuel nature will be missed as power demand could be made up by switching on other sources; such as coal plants, if solar and wind is not built quickly enough.

If dams have to be removed, I've heard that covering much of the of the area, that was submerged by the reservoir, in solar panels could generate more power than the dam itself.

I've heard it said that they should never have built Gen Canyon Dam, up stream from Hoover Dam. Evaporation from the surface and leakage out of that reservoir makes the water shortage worse downstream at Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam. Lake mead is also very low.

There are proposals to drain Glen Canyon Reservoir to consolidate storage of the water in Lake Mead. Putting all the water in one lake, instead of two, means less lake surface area for evaporation.

Low lake level at Glen Canyon Dam has already brought back a lot of beautiful canyonlands that were submerged when Glen Canyon Dam was built.

My, Robert Ashworth's opinion at least.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Russia is a "Christian Nation." Not a style of Christianity I would value.

I remember, years ago, when the Soviet Union was "godless communism." Now, like much of the Middle East, it's more religious. A combination of anti gay style, "traditional" values, lust for power and the wealth of oligarchs. Makes me think of much of the Christian Right in parts of the world; including even here in USA.

I watched an interesting little clip from German documentary television recently.

As pandemic eases, Bellingham is starting to crack down on a low end, affordable class of housing; RV encampments on the street.

This is kind of too bad since housing is so expensive in Bellingham. I've thought that allowing people to live in RVs and even tents is, at least, a partial solution.

It is a problem when the encampments get too large or confrontational. Otherwise, I think we do need to recognize a new class of housing as reality for lower income people.

There are problems with things like urine smells, but partial solutions, such as composting toilets can be used when sewer and water service isn't easily available.

Personally, I don't own property so I am not real worried about property loosing value. I just bike through areas where there are homeless people and it seems okay, unless there is crime. Law enforcement is not a bad thing, but there is a serious problem with home costs going up.

I can understand why some people still don't wish to live in congregate shelters. Maybe it's not the rules that are the main problem. I can see why some folks wouldn't want to sleep in a room with a lot of other people who might be snoring, for instance.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Why we should worry about climate change even though the earth's climate would keep changing anyway without us?

Some people think climate change isn't a big deal. The area that is now Seattle was under a mile of ice 13,000 years ago. So I guess it doesn't matter if much of Florida is under water in 30 years?

Wait a minute. It should matter to us. People alive today will probably still be living in 30 years.

It's a matter of time scales. It should matter to civilization, insurance companies, investors, parents with kids and so forth as climate change is bringing big changes now and in the next few decades.

Drought in the American Southwest seems like an even more imediate problem than rising sea levels. That's why folks are worried about climate change. It isn't about 13,000 years, or millions of years when we think there were palm trees at the north pole. Do you want that to possibly happen in the near future, while we are still on this planet? It's mostly about us.

Controversial sources of content can be taken off cable, but if the internet is open, the websites can still be accessed.

On a Facebok thread, there is an article in New York Times by someone who used to work for RT Television; Russia's international TV channel. She was unhappy that it has been blocked by so many cable companies as there is still some useful content on it.

I pointed out that RT is still available on the internet, by going to it's own website.

One thing I like about USA is that we don't have much censorship on the internet, itself. Unlike China, where I hear there is something called "The Great Firewall of China." Suppression of the internet is also a problem in Russia and many other countries these days. I've also heard that even in China, computer savvy locals talk about ways to "climb the firewall," meaning finding a way to surf the web beyond it.

There are some advantages to using the open web versus always relying on large providers, such as cable companies and media sources; even Facebook, that can edit content.

In some cases, editing is needed, versus non professional journalism, such as fake news about the pandemic. Professional media does have an editing role, but it's still good to have internet, itself, available.

I'm a non professional journalist, myself, meaning I don't get paid, but I do try and be mindful of what I put out.

I felt a bit guilty visiting the RT site as I also understand the concept of boycott. At least we (US) are, supposedly, not buying oil from Russia with money that goes, in part, to a war machine.

We are, however, buying oil from Saudi Arabia who recently executed a bunch of people. I saw an article about that on RT, when I surfed to it's website.

I have also seen news about the bad human rights and executions in Saudi Arabia on American media. NPR, BBC (BBC carried on NPR at night), Democracy Now; we do have a variety in news media.

Free flow of ideas remains important to me, but too bad so much of everyone's economy fuels the militaries.

The free flow of information can be useful but the flow of things like money and oil can be problematic.

Was Russia in the 1990s the new Weimar Republic?

I am afraid that the reforms in the Soviet Union that lead to more openness could bring a similar story as the Weimar Republic, in Germany between the two world wars.

From what I gather, Germany's former enemies didn't respond that well to the country's struggles. There were some brief attempts at openness in Germany during that period, but the hardships are said to have fueled the rise of Adolph Hitler.

To some extent the western nations have fumbled the ball. There were attempts to try and help Russia and the former Soviet Republics, but also mistakes. Expansion of NATO was possibly a mistake.

Even breakup of Soviet Union was probably premature. I remember when Soviet leader Gorbachev was trying to reform the Soviet Union. He traveled to one of the Baltic Republics to try and convince them to stay in the union.

Not long after that, the union broke up with some increased economic turmoil. This can lead to the push for someone who can "get the trains running on time" again.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

To anxiety from the news. I try an steer my media diet toward analysis of various interesting topics, rather than day to day reporting.

Due to the distressing news that is bombarding us these days, my anxiety has been up and I haven't been sleeping as well. Probably something a lot of folks are experiencing.

So far, I feel mostly okay, in part, by using a strategy for absorbing media. I tend to avoid the painful pictures and stories of war and focus, instead, on issues of interest such as the effects on economics.

The internet helps a lot allowing me to navigate to what I need, so to speak. I try and keep my mind engaged with discussion while avoiding the more distressing and repetitive "news on the hour" type stuff.

I also like to discuss things with people, both in person and online.

My habit of falling asleep to NPR Radio (which runs the BBC at night) has had to change. Radio can be like white noise, or like being read a bed time story.

These days, the story can be more distressing so I am finding various talk shows, podcasts and lectures over the internet.

I am also on my bike a lot which is exercise. Good for reducing anxiety. Sometimes I forget to bring my phone with me.

When I do remember to bring my phone, which is most of the time, it doesn't seem to send me notifications or I don't bother checking them. I assume most of the notifications are either spam, or things I don't have to respond to right now.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

LGBTQ education in the schools

On a talk show some callers are in support of Florida's new law about early grade school. The new law is sometimes called the "don't say gay bill." The callers said early grades are too early to learn about certain things.

I realize that my first memory about gay and transgender topics was from early grade school. The learning didn't come from the teacher. It came from other kids. My classmates were not that accurate of a source for information. In most cases, I think the teacher would do a better job if allowed. If nothing else, at least respect for folks who are different from mainstream ought to be encouraged.

Friday, March 11, 2022

A lust for prosperity and consumption, but not the open minded society needed to make it all work and to make life worth living.

Patriarch Kirill, a leader of the Russian Orthodox Church says there's a metaphysical struggle against a godless international order which offers excess consumption and visible freedom to any nation that proves its loyalty by holding a gay parade.

Oh, the decadence, but it seems like the excess consumption part is something most of the rest of the world aspires to. Oligarchs from Russia to China to much of the Third World as well as USA, Europe and so forth.

Free thinking and gay parades is what matters most to me. Wealth is often just a byproduct of the freedom to be innovative. Without the freedom, one can be killing the goose that lays the golden egg; especially in an information, technological world.

Too much lust for wealth, without other innovation, can lead to environmental destruction. We need more innovation than just for wealth. I've noticed many parts of the world strive for wealth, but not necessarily for open and diversified society.

Monday, March 07, 2022

Rare Earth metals from recycling old electronics.

A segment of March 5 2022 CBC science show "Quirks and Quarks" is about recycling rare earth metals. It was interesting. If you go to that link scroll down.

Rare earth's are important in electronics. China is a major supplier, but the US could produce more of it's own.

Apparently, when rare earths are mined, it also tends to bring up lots of radioactive elements, such as uranium. The US has such strict laws regarding disposal of radioactive waste that most of that mining isn't allowed. China has less concern about radioactive waste disposal so it's a major source of rare earth metals.

We could loosen those waste disposal rules, but there are some other workarounds, such as the main point in that segment of Quirks and Quarks. Recycling from sources of rare earth metals already on the surface. Electronic waste and other sources such as already existing coal fire powerplant fly ash waste.

The process involves quick heating up (to high temperatures) and then quick cooling the waste. After that, some other processes involving a wash with hydrochloric acid.

From childhood, I learned that hydrochloric acid is one of the main components of digestive juices in our stomachs. Stomach acid. It can also be manufactured artificially.

Europe's dependency on Russian energy, compared to US, not necessarily fault of greener society. US does have more oil and gas supplies, however.

Europe has been more dependent on natural gas and oil from Russia than USA. From what I hear around 1/3 of Europe's natural gas and 1/4th the oil that Europe uses.

In general Europe is better at conservation, alternative energy, city planning, transportation and so forth than USA. USA is less dependent on Russian supplies mostly because USA produces a lot more of it's own oil and gas than Europe.

Maybe that's the luck of geography. I wouldn't know. USA is a big oil and gas producer. Thankyou fracking, I guess, but also it could be the geology that happens to be underground in USA compared to Europe.

UK and Norway produce a lot from the North Sea.

My major, in college, was Geography. One of my favorite classes was Economic Geography.

The pottery barn rule should apply to Russia

The humanitarian safe passage corridors that Russia has proposed leading from Ukraine to Russia and Belarus makes me think of the famous "pottery barn rule" of "you break it, you own it."

One of the outcomes of this horrible invasion and war is the millions of refugees. Also the heavy damage that's caused. It has been thought that Russia would shirk responsibility and foist the cleanup onto the West. In reality, Russia should pay a heavy price for this. Ironically, refugee corridors, leading to Russia, makes me think of this even though most Ukrainian people would not want to flee to Russia.

Maybe I'm just passive versus being a true pacifist.

Should we (US & NATO) have a no fly zone and/or send troops into Ukraine to try and protect against the slaughter?

I don't have an answer to this. One thing I will say is that I am glad I don't have to make that decision.

Sometimes, I am almost envious of powerful politicians, like the US president, but they do face responsibilities I would not want to have.

I got to thinking that I tend to be "passive," but I am not necessarily a "pacifist." In my personal life, I try and find ways to function that avoids conflict. This usually works for me.

Avoiding things can also mean shirking out of responsibilities, not taking charge and possibly running away. For better, or worse, that does describe much of my style; to be perfectly honest.

I'm not necessarily a pacifist in theory as I think there are times, both in international politics as well as dealing with crime, where force is needed.

I just know that avoiding conflict has worked quite well in my own life.

Saturday, March 05, 2022

Confronting evil head on, or maybe another strategy can work instead?

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy can certainly be admired for his courage and honesty. On the other hand one might question the strategy of confronting evil head on. Unfortunately, it looks like Russia's military has such an advantage over Ukrainian forces that Russia's short term victory seems inevitable.

Another story in the long run, however. The Ukrainians can mount an insurgency making conquest a nightmare for Russia. Civil disobedience is one of many tools that can be used.

Russia's occupation of Afghanistan did not go well for Russia, in the long run. The powerful US military has learned lessons from attempts to "nation build" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I am remembering the famous saying during a speech, on the aircraft carrier by former US President George W Bush. "Mission accomplished."

Those were famous last words as we have now withdrawn from both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Western economic sanctions can remain in place, though there is the worry that complacency will set in with vigilance lost in the name of easing economic hardship. I would hope for sure the sanctions would remain strong along with aid for Ukraine.

On a personal note, bravery and direct confrontation are not my strong suites, but I do try and find a way to not totally give-in to the "system."

Some people might think I tend to be acquiescent toward authorities, corporations and governments. I fear being a troublemaker, but I do tend to chart a different course than the mainstream.

I feel fortunate to have been able to do this in USA. Other parts of the world have different circumstances, but I offer these ideas for thought.

In all of this, I have to admit I have no idea what the best strategy is. I'm basically just looking for a silver lining. Given the darkness and what seems like likely defeat, in the short run, I keep hoping democracy and human dignity can still find ways to prevail.

Friday, March 04, 2022

Should we bring back gasoline rationing?

Given inflation in gas prices, I've seen the idea of gas rationing being floated again. I remember the days of gas rationing in the 1970s. There was even price and wage controls tried back then; under President Nixon; a Republican! Imagine that.

Those ideas have lost popularity, but could be worth reconsidering as a more fair way to allocate limited resources than just having them go to the highest bidder. Before my time, there was rationing during World War II.

Rationing fell out of favor as free market advocates argued that more oil could be produced if the price was allowed to rise. Rising prices would lead to more drilling, fracking and other innovations in oil production.

That idea worked, to some extent, as supply increased and the price of oil went down relative to overall inflation.

Besides the war, now we face a different problem. Not so much supply and demand, but global warming. We still have lots of oil shale, tar sands and coal that can even be gasified, but now we face an atmosphere that is warming.

The atmosphere doesn't give us an upfront cost, like an oil well that goes dry. Carbon can be dumped into the atmosphere at little cost, but the long term cost is devastating.

Maybe the concept of creating an artificial cost; such as a carbon tax, or rationing is needed.

Ideas, like rationing, do crimp freedom and prosperity so that is part of the reason why they have fallen from favor. It's the god of prosperity.

We may have become slaves to the god of prosperity.

I'm remembering the 1970s with some nostalgia. Not just the music and my days at Western Washington University's Gay People's Alliance. I was younger back then, but in many ways, my life and my health hasn't changed much since then. I sometimes feel like a Peter Pan.

I'm still remembering the pre Ronald Reagan times with some nostalgia. Back then, I thought we were running out of oil. The idea of rising prices bringing more supply had not entered my mind, that much, during the days when President Carter was in the White House.

It seemed like the solar panels and bicycles being demonstrated at a solar energy fair were the wave of the future. Carter was on board with his famous call for wearing Cardigan Sweaters; rather than turning up the thermostat.

A time of idealism versus realism, but there was also the "Carter Synfuel Program." I think, Synfuel was getting more of the lion's share of Federal money, versus a few solar panels. Synfuels were seen as a road to American Energy independence.

Back then, it was thought that oil shale had to be mined, brought to the surface and cooked in ovens to get out the oil. Prices would have to rise.

Then innovators came up with the invention of sideways drilling where the shale could be fracked in the ground for less bother. Oil drips out, via gravity, to sideways pipes under the shale; like collecting water in drain tile.

The free market economists held sway as oil production rose again.

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

My thoughts after Joe Biden's first state of the union speech

I listened to Biden's state of the union address last night. Some good points and some obvious omissions. It was good to hear him cheer on Ukraine and criticize the wealthy Russian oligarchs. This brought applause from both sides of the aisle.

Missing from the speech was much mention of climate change. That is an inconvenient truth. Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth was well named. Too much discussion of that wouldn't play well as the president uses the speech, in part, to bolster his sagging poll numbers.

On climate change, he has put much of his eggs in the basket of the "Build Back Better" legislation now stuck in Congress.

I'm still voting for Democrats, however.

Climate change needs to be dealt with by the people. It's not something politicians can take a real bold lead on if they fear being voted out. I hope Democrats can weather the inevitable storm of rising gas prices.

As for rallying people against oligarchs, that plays well politically. The obvious problems of putting greed ahead of human dignity. I'm onboard with that.

I remember a conversation, I had a few years back, with someone who had recently lived in New York City. He said, of the housing market, "one is competing with Russian oligarchs and others in the mix as everything is bid up and up in price."

I gather that this is a big problem in major cities around the world; for instance London, UK. Investment money flooding in buying up homes and condos; in some cases just holding the homes empty as a way to "park" money. Money from Russian Oligarchs and others. Vancouver, BC has the problem and now has something called "the empty condos tax" to try and discourage that.

Wealth can often be the enemy of a reasonable community. It can be a stumbling block on the path of a more sustainable climate; for instance pricing people out of cities and into the longer commute radius from work.

Wealth can also be a friend if it is applied to innovations for reducing carbon footprint. Technological innovations as well as helping people live more sustainably. These days, a lot of people need to have things subsidized for life to work. If one isn't wealthy, one is likely to need subsidized housing, public transit, childcare, healthcare and so forth.

It's almost like most people need charity, or government spending, to survive in the shark tank. The world has become, too much, like the shark tank.

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

The arbitrary "truths" of religion are not convincing.

I recently had a conversation with a friend who has studied various religions. As he has learned more about religion, he has become less convinced that there is any validity to religion at all.

Yes, it does seem like religions bring a grab bag of beliefs. Arbitrary creation stories, the so called truths of astrology and so forth.

My own thinking and background is more from science than the humanities, I guess. Ironically, I still hold some hope for a larger reality beyond what we see. This might be partially because science doesn't make claims about that "beyond." Basically, scientists tend to just admit that there is always more to learn.

To me, it seems like the mystery of not knowing is more comforting than a grab bag of what seems to be bogus answers.