Category Archives: Society
Consequences of a Car-centric Culture
I heard it said that a 9/11 number of car related deaths occurs every month. More people are killed by cars than in all our wars and gun related shootings. Car related death is the leading cause of fatality among children. This is probably not a big surprise to anyone but why shouldn’t we be alarmed? Car deaths and injuries have great economic and emotional cost to those affected by it. It’s primarily because of our total dependency upon cars. America over the last 100 years has become a car-centric culture. Pedestrians and bikers use our roadways at their own peril. Kids no longer walk or bike to school or play in my city. They are driven everywhere by parents because our streets have become too dangerous for such activities. When I was young I used to bike and walk everywhere. Continue reading →
POT is becoming increasingly accepted in various municipalities and states throughout our nation, just as with many other taboo issues such as LGBT rights, as social acceptance standards and mythical perceptions are dispelled. It has been argued for decades that POT will lead to more serious drug use, but research has shown that this is no more true than alcohol leading to harder drugs. The medical harm and addictive effects of POT have been proven to be less than alcohol and cigaret smoking and highs experienced by users to impair their senses far less than alcohol. It is time to decriminalize it and treat it just as we do cigarets and alcohol. Billions of dollars are spent annually on cost with no revenue opportunities that could better spent on education just enforcing senseless marijuana laws. Continue reading →
Negative Political Campaigns are unDemocratic
Somehow negative campaigns turn me off as I am getting older but unfortunately I see how effective they can be. But they are very distracting and confusing as political campaigns tend to be. With PACs and Super-PACs and now the ability of rich individuals and corporations to contribute almost endless amounts of money to their favorite candidates, parties and voting issues as part of free expression political campaigns are very big business. And as such candidate hires very pricy spin-doctors whose job it is to make their candidate look godlike and their opponents look like pure evil campaigns get uglier and uglier. This is truly a tragedy that Democracy is no longer about the truth about candidates but about winning. That is why we have a Congress that is so inept. Continue reading →
Anger, An All Too Common Response
In the last few days we heard news of a mass student shooting in a school in Washington and two policemen killed in a senseless shootout in California due to anger expressed through the barrel of a guns. Every day in the U.S. an average of 289 people are shot. But gun violence is only one of the many acts of anger. Expressing anger is far too common a response when confronted with situations we have difficulty dealing with. When we can’t resolve a situation to our satisfaction we act out. It seems we need to humble ourselves and stop getting so angry both as a society with so much gun violence and as a nation of so much war. Continue reading →
Time to Embrace Diversity
Though social and ethnic diversity has always been part of the American landscape it hasn’t always been generally embraced. Much of this nation is still struggling to recognize the richness and contributions that diversity inherent brings. Majority groups often feel threatened by the intrusion of other social influences such as members of the LGBT community or the physically or mentally handicapped or the Black community. This nation was created with a vision mirrored in the Constitution reflecting the openness, freedom, equality, and diversity so lacking under British rule. The Bill of Rights further embraces and protects the diversity of man to believe as they wished, speak their mines freely, and peruse their dreams and aspirations. The founders of this nation were extraordinarily perceptive in their vision for a perfect nation. They realized that the diversity of citizens would make this nation great. The diversity of each ethnicity, culture, lifestyle, and beliefs in a free environment in totality makes for a far more enriching society. Continue reading →
Much Ado about Going Nowhere
Cars are the primary mode of transportation in the U.S. even for short distances. But there are alternatives to the use of cars if we are willing to get off our seats and use some human power to move ourselves from one place to another. Ironically the U.S. has one of the greatest stores of transportation energy in the world but all we do is accumulate it to great excess. That energy is our body fat which is embarrassingly abundant and a major cause of medical complications such as diabetes, heart and coronary disease, skeletal problems, and added weight that our bodies are not designed to constantly bear. Continue reading →
The Price we Pay for Gas in the US
Since the price of oils is a commodity it is fixed everywhere around the world, so the difference people worldwide pay at the pump is based primarily upon the taxes imposed by each state or nation. In general the more wealthy the people are of a nation have the higher the taxes imposed upon fuel. The single most blatant exception is the United States where we have by far the lowest tax rate on gasoline of all the developed nations and most developing nations. Fuel is considered a luxury everywhere else except the United States. Currently the United States federal tax for gasoline is $.0184 per gallon vs. for example Germany where the tax is around $3.50 per gallon or about 20 time higher than the U.S. Continue reading →
Balance and Harmony
When one looks at nature and the universe one notices that the greatest complexity of atoms and molecules exist at an optimum temperature range between extreme hot and absolute cold. Take for example the universe. In places where the temperature is extremely high such as stars there is much randomness and little order to matter. Atoms exists in extremely unstable states as plasmas where it is so hot that their electrons have been stripped off leaving unstable nuclei of primarily the two simplest atoms, hydrogen with one proton and helium with two. Temperatures are simply too high for stable elements and chemistries to exist. In much cooler areas of the universe such as our planets more complex elements and compounds can form and exist for long periods. Earth is at an optimum temperature that is ideal for extremely complex organic chemistries making possible the formation of life. Continue reading →
Patterns of Life
Life and existence are all about structure and patterns. This is actually quite a profound concept. Think about life without patterns. Actually the universe as we know it could not exist without structure and patterns. Patterned structures are what bind the universe together. Science is all about the recognition, study, and modeling of the many patterns and structures that exist in the universe as will as life on earth. The science of psychology studies the patterns of our behaviors and minds. These patterns often seem irrational but there are patterns to our irrational behavior. Criminology is an offshoot of psychology where patterns of the criminal mind are studies and utilized to identify and capture criminals. Weather may seem somewhat unpredictable for some but to the weather scientist who views satellite photos of earth, they can identify patterns of cloud formations. So life is largely about recognizing pattern and making predictions to reduce uncertainties. We make plans and do tasks with varying degrees of confidence based upon our familiar with the patterns of that activity and their potential unpredictability. Continue reading →
The Future is Here yet We Remain Unaware
In the newest high tech wafer fabrication facilities where very small amounts of contamination could mean the death of chip making everything is done by robotics and computers. Humans are only there in very limited numbers to maintain the machines. The steps taken to make the hundreds of millions of MOS transistors that are crammed into each memory and CPU chip in our computers, tablets, and cell phones is extraordinarily complex and precise requiring close to absolute cleanliness. So for those in the high tech chip making industry you already know that the future has been here for the last decade or two. If chip making can be fully automated so can just about any industry and manufacturing facility. The technological know-how is already here for automating most other industries. Many have already already been slowly automate and permanently eliminate jobs for decades. Continue reading →
A Spoonfull of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down
One would think that in the medical profession there are tons of opportunities to dispense compassion along with medical tests, treatments, and medications. However in my experience I have found the medical profession rather lacking in compassion. I do have one doctor who comes close to what I consider as compassionate but most want to keep you waiting as long as tolerable and get you out of the office as quickly as possible after ever so briefly seeing you and hardly palpating you. Today’s doctors spend less than a minute listening impatiently to what patients have to say then write orders for a battery of blood tests, X-rays, CT scans, etc. and tell you to come back in 3 weeks to discuss results. Continue reading →
Are Rules Made to be Broken?
Recently there was news of a 9 year old girl who shaved her head with her parents permission in solidarity for an 11 year old friend who was being treated for stage 4 cancer and had lost all her hair. The 9 year old was suspended from school for violating the dress code [School Reverses Decision To Suspend Girl Who Shaved Her Head For Friend With Cancer] in spite of doing no harm. I have a problem comprehending what drove school administrators to expel a student for doing a good and compassionate deed even if violating a dress code. These administrators seems to be acting quite childish disciplining a child for doing a mature and grownup act. I feel that some common sense needs to be exercised by people when rules are broken. Continue reading →
The Job Terminator
We are already experiencing the subtle impact of job terminating technology today. Our tech savvy technologist are turning out new technological innovations at an ever-increasing rate. New generations of cell phone come out ever six months to a year that are each smarter and cheaper than the previous. Other gadgets are being created constantly to satisfy our insatiable appetite for gadgetry and convenience. Ask yourself what can people do that computers are unlikely to do other than screw thing up. Through artificial intelligence computer can learn to get increasingly smart and they never forget anything and some can constantly think billions of times faster than us without rest. So unemployment is no longer as a result of the 2008 crash. It is as a result of outsourcing and automation. Continue reading →
Are Jobs Gone for Good?
Job recovery since the 2008 economic meltdown has been sluggish and lagging other economic indicators. Yet industries are making record profits and the stock market has significantly exceeded its highs prior to the economic collapse. Executives are making record salaries … Continue reading →
Violence Multiplies Violence in an Endless Spiral
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Quote from Dr. … Continue reading →
Change and the Establishment
There are a few laws of nature that seem to be quite universal even applicable to social systems. A body in motion will remain in motion unless other forces change its speed and direction. Any force will result in an … Continue reading →
Are We Still In Control?
Man has been controlling his environment since the beginning of time. Unlike most other animals which must evolve to adapt to the gradual changes in their environment man has been able to use his ingenuity to alter his immediate surroundings … Continue reading →
During these days of political and social conflicts we seem to be in the habit of putting blame for our failures and the failures of others on everyone except ourselves. It is so easy to blame someone else because it … Continue reading →
Which Economic ‘…ism’ I Think is Best?
I have frequently been mistaken for a socialist because of my preferences for socialized healthcare, Medicare, Social Security, social justice, and the government helping our poor and underserved citizens. This perception of me is uniquely American (U.S.). For those living … Continue reading →
What Distinguishes Conservatives from Liberals?
Since I frequently allude to Conservative Republicans and Liberal Democrats I thought I’d define these terms as I see them. Republicans have not always been Conservative and Democrats Liberal. The Republican party was formed under Abraham Lincoln, quite a liberal … Continue reading →
What Labor Day means to me.
Many of us celebrate Labor Day as the last chance to take a family vacation before school starts. This used to be my view before my children grew up. But now that I am retired and every day is a … Continue reading →
America’s Obsesson about Sex and Morality
Sex seems to dominate American Social morality as not other subject does but it is an essential and biological function as natural as eating. Why does our culture make such a big thing out of it and give it such dirty connotations? This is a short commentary about our obsession about sex and its ambiguous role in morality. Continue reading →
Does Marriage Exist as a Religious Institution?
The biblical definition of marriage is a lifelong bond between a man and a woman for the purpose of raising a family. Yet contemporary marriages tend to be less than lifelong and often are not about raising a family. An argument is presented that marriage has evolved into a much more a legal status than a religious institution. Continue reading →
Of Modern Times and the Caveman
The brain of man is an absolutely fascinating organ designed well ahead of its time and seems in a way to defy evolution. Its development was a quantum jump in evolutionary development. Though our brains have changed little since man lived in caves the amount of new information needing to be processed by man today is many orders of magnitude more than our caveman ancestors. Continue reading →