Global Warming Or Climate Change; The Same Reality



Image courtesy of sabc.co.za
Image courtesy of sabc.co.za

 

A very good friend of mine recently told me she doesn’t believe in Global warming. That led me to do some research on the matter. Here in the U.S. in the place where I live, the Great Lakes area, we  had snow storm after snow storm last winter. Not only that, but the sub zero temperatures were something I haven’t seen in my lifetime. This leads me to believe that Global warming is real and more extreme than first thought.

While the United States was having a very frigid month of January, Australia was having record breaking heat. Play had to be interrupted at the Australia Open tennis tournament because of the extreme heat. The temperature in Melbourne, where the tournament was being played reached 109 degrees. On the global scale, 2013 was the fourth warmest or seventh warmest on record, depending on whether you believe the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NASA. The agencies take different approaches in analyzing and extrapolating available data, which accounts for the discrepancy. But they agree on one thing, it’s getting hotter.

Since the Industrial Revolution, the large-scale burning of fossil fuels has increased the concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 40%. Researchers have calculated that global temperatures could rise a full 7 degrees by the end of the century. This rise “would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous,” as Steven Sherwood of the University of New South Wales told the Guardian newspaper. It would also guarantee the melting of so much polar ice, that sea levels would rise dramatically. Bad news for coastal cities around the world.

Is there uncertainty in these predictions? Of course, but it would be foolish to wager that the near unanimous consensus of climate scientist is totally wrong. Officials in the United States and around the world will not take swift action because the economic and political cost are so high. China, the worlds biggest contributor to greenhouse gases is not about to shut down it’s factories and India, who is trying to catch up to China, won’t either. In Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, both with booming populations, have smokestacks that are continuously puffing out the poison smoke of production.

The United States, Europe, and Japan will do what they can when the world meets to discus the situation, but the day will come when the other world leaders will be willing, even desperate, to curb greenhouse gases. But by then,  let’s hope it’s not too late.

 



Computers Replacing Humans In The Job Market

Computer technology has become an important part of our everyday life and the young people couldn’t live without it. And while it is truly remarkable to have,  how soon will it be before machines replace flesh and blood in the job market. Truth is, it’s already started. Hollywood saw this coming, and started making movies about man being replaced by machines with computer brains. Knight Rider was a television show about a car that literally drives itself, and as you probably know, we are experimenting with such a car right now. The movie, “I Robot” told the story of a robot taking over control of humanity and running amuck. And who can forget “The Matrix” in which man was harvested for power to run a planet sized computer which ran or make believe world.

Now while that is a little extreme, what’s happening in the here and now is the loss of jobs because of technology. If the vehicle that drives itself becomes successful, what will happen to the humans that drive for a living? It’s predicted that those jobs will disappear in the next 25 years anyway. If automation can unseat bus drivers, urban deliverymen, long haul truckers and even cabs, is any job safe? An analysis of employment data from 20 different countries found that millions of midskill, midpay jobs have disappeared over the past 6 years, and they are the jobs that formed the backbone of the middle class in all developed countries, including ours. Let’s look at the past two centuries, whether it was the steamboat of the 1820’s or the locomotives in the 1850’s, or the telegraph or the telephone, every piece of new technology  caused some businesses to disappear and workers would lose their jobs.

It use to be that when technology destroyed jobs, it would also create jobs, because the computer technology that replaced human brawn and created machines that required human brains came to the front. Not anymore because the machines now have computer brains to do a multitude of things including saving companies money.  And the fact is that we as humans have no advantage over a machine with a computer brain. And as the experts say, those middleclass jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well. Most of the jobs that are being obliterated by technology are in the service sector, home of two-thirds of all workers. Every year the software that runs computers and other machines and devices becomes more sophisticated and powerful and capable of doing more efficiently the task that humans have always done.

As I said in the beginning of this article, science fiction warned of a future when we would be architects of or own obsolescence and start to be replaced by our machines. Take your own poll, and look around and see the jobs that use to be done by humans that are now being done by a machine with a computer, or by the computer itself like doing operations in hospitals. Well we are halfway across the stream of technology, should we turn the boat around, or continue and see where the waters take us? Personally, I say it’s too late to turn the boat around.

 

PONCHO33

 

Chimpanzees, Mans Ultimate Test Subjects To Retire

When we got ready to embark into the vast region called space, we had to make sure that when we got out there, something drastic wasn’t going to happen to the human body, and that we could breath homemade oxygen. We had to know if we could withstand the G-forces during a launch, and better yet, could humans survive the re-entry? Whenever there was a life threatening disease and we had to test a serum to see if it our bodies could produce the anti-bodies to fight the invading threat, we had to have some one to test it on. In these scenarios it would have been unethical to use an actual human for a test subject, so we decided to use the only thing that was close to our human design, we used chimpanzees.

As long as we have been diving into the unknown, the chimpanzee has been our test subject. They never complained they were cooperative, and even though some gave their lives, there was always one waiting in the wings to take his or her shot for humanity. They acted in the movies, on television and kept us amused with their antics, and for a few bananas, did everything you asked them to do. They’ve worked with everybody from Tarzan to an actor turned   President of the United States. And right now, you can find them working at numerous Zoos around the world.

In 2011, The National Institute of Health and Medicine declared that most biomedical research involving chimpanzees, which have a close genetic proximity to humans, was no longer necessary. They had determined that high-speed computer simulations and other technology made using the chimps, which many people saw as a morally dubious practice anyway, irrelevant. The NIH’s Council of Councils Working Group urged that all but 50 of the 451 chimps funded by the federal government be retired from the laboratory, and sent to an animal sanctuary. The remaining 50 would be housed in a more hospitable environment and would only be experimented on if it became necessary to study a human health threat. That makes it less than a complete triumph for animal rights groups who found the whole experimentations on chimps totally” barbaric”.

Some things that the chimps will get credit with is that they helped scientist develop the hepatitis A and B vaccines, and made it possible for them to understand the role played by salt in people with high blood pressure, and chimps also helped to devise antibodies for treating cancer. Now that technology has advanced, there are other ways to get scientific results from various test without having to sacrifice these marvelous souls and all I can say is it’s about time. So it looks like the chimpanzees are out of a job, and that is a good thing,

 

DLTPONCH33

Image courtesy of animals.natonalgeographic.com

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Your Life Depends On The Choices You Make

 

As we go through life, we make choices every day. Some good, some bad, but did you ever stop to think about the consequences?

FAILURE

There are many definitions of success. Yet there is only one characterization of failure;… giving up. Life is unpredictable and full of surprises. In a perfect world you would be successful at everything you tried on the first attempt. Success requires persistence, patience, focus, determination, effort, and the refusal to quit. If something didn’t work for you, it’s because of one of several reasons. You didn’t want it bad enough, you didn’t give it enough time, or you needed to adjust your approach.

ISOLATION

A feeling of isolation can result from focusing on yourself and your needs to the exclusion of all else. Although it’s imperative that you respect and care about your well being, you won’t accomplish this by turning inward. Genuine caring and concern for others is an antidote for feeling isolated. Seek out situations where you can help and give to others, especially if you don’t feel like it.

DEFEAT

This is something that is the hardest to deal with. Everything happens for a reason. I have heard that said more times than I can count. So much so that I am a true believer. Perception is often the difference between defeat and victory. Defeat has educational value, and can be transformed into victory by using it as a stepping stone to continue moving forward. If you feel defeated, analyze what happened, why it happened, and could you have done anything different to effect the outcome.

Each day you are free to make whatever choices you want, and while nobody’s perfect, we would like to think that whatever choices we make are intelligent ones. If not, we should be hardened enough to handle the fall-out.  Just remember that you must recognize and take advantage of the tremendous influence you have over your life.

 

PONCHO33

 

Going Hungry Should Not Be An Option

 

I am sure that a lot of you see the stories on television, or read it in the newspapers about the number of people who don’t have enough to eat. About the children going to bed with only having had one meal that day, or some who haven’t eaten at all. No clean water to drink, no bed in which to sleep, and so on. And this is not only in third world countries, it’s everywhere, including the United States.

Governments leaders turning a blind eye to the needs of the people while they lavish themselves with high dollar dinners is unthinkable. While I’m sure this is a problem worldwide, I for one can speak of America. In a country that is plagued with an obesity epidemic, it’s hard to believe that in America, there are those who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Hunger is an invisible epidemic, with a stereotype that a hungry child is one with a bloated belly on the brink of starvation. More likely, it’s the little girl next door who seems a bit small for her age, or the elderly shut-in who receives few visitors. Hunger issues won’t be solved until the country sees and understands the problem.

A person with a good job, who goes home every night to a gated community, never giving a second thought that there are some people in their community outside the gates that have challenges on a daily basis to get food. And believe it or not, there are actually people who are not educated to the fact that this is going on. Hunger is standing in line at the soup kitchens. It’s running out of money mid-month and skipping a meal or two just to survive until payday. Yes, that’s right, payday. There are hundreds of people who are classified as “the working poor,” who, in lieu of food, must pay to keep the heat on in winter. Because hunger happens in all these situations, it’s hard to define.

A person who might not eat for two days to make his or her food last, would be described as having “low food security”. 49 million Americans live in a food-insecure household. In 2013, there were 47 million Americans on food stamps. In 2002, there were 20 million, and then there’s the misconception that food stamps are used by people that really don’t need them. That may be partially right, but food stamp fraud is mostly on the downswing. The one thing that can’t be denied is that the number of families on food stamps is on the rise which says a lot about the economy in the last 11 years.

Hunger is a multi-faceted problem, but the first step is to admit that there is a problem. While hunger is a tough issue to tackle, it is not insoluble. But first we as a people have to grasped the fact that there really is a problem. We have the ability to change the situation, but we just haven’t made a commitment to do so. Isn’t it time?

 

Want To Lose A Friend? Talk Politics.

American politics
Image courtesy of Wikimediacommons.com

Have you ever been to a party or a family gathering where everyone sits around having a pretty good time talking about a lot of things and everything seems to be just fine? That is until someone brings politics into the mix.. Then, the fur starts flying.

Everybody has his or her opinion when it comes to politics, and the person that you thought was your best friend all of a sudden is an idiot because he doesn’t think the way you do. Now it’s not always that way,  that is if you’re civilized and can discuss the differences like rational people. But all too often, that’s not the case. Here in the U.S. we have two parties, the Republicans, and the Democrats. The Republicans support things that seem to benefit the wealthy, while the Democrats work for the poor and the disadvantaged. Being disenchanted with these two parties, there is the “Green Party”, which will try to save the planet if given the chance. As of now they lack the funding to play with the big boys.

The Republicans, because of budget concerns, try to cut spending for fears of the country going bankrupt. They insist that the country can not spend monies it doesn’t have. What seems to ruffle the Democrats feathers is that the cuts they want to make always involve social programs that help the poor. They are against raising taxes on the wealthy to fund these programs, and this is where the term the upper 1% comes into play. The rich take care of their own is the outcry from the poor. The outcry would not be so loud if the Republicans would show some kind of sensitivity to the less fortunate. But the ultra conservatives, the Tea Party, had the Republicans by the nose and were known as bullies, that is until Donald Trump jumped in. Who saw that coming?

Not so long ago, Republicans refused to extend unemployment benefits to 1.7 million unemployed people. These people are now struggling with everyday needs. Rent, food, and medical treatment. The next thing they did was to cut the food stamp program by $8 billion dollars. They wanted to make it $40 billion, but the Democrats fought tooth and nail, and the $8 billion was a compromise. And the last thing the Republicans refused to do was raise the minimum wage for the working poor. Right now that wage is $7.83 an hour. They claim that it would be “bad policy” to raise the minimum wage for the poor.  As it turns out, a lot of businesses are raising the minimum wages on their own and the Republican’s “bad policy” statement seems to be lacking.

The Green Party,  who insist that we are destroying the planet by polluting the water, burning fossil fuels causing the “green house effect” and a host of other thing that lead to climate change,  should be our main concern. They want to spend less  on the military and more on the enviroment. Wherever you live, I’m sure you’ve noticed the weather changes.  And we all are also aware of Greenpeace’s efforts to change these things.  While the Republicans and the Democrats take these claims by the Green Party lightly, there is one thing we all can’t deny, we only have “one” Earth.

Now your opinions are your own, and I would not attempt to sway anyone, but one would hope that your sense of right and wrong, and the morality in your heart would lead you to a just conclusion on which political party is for the people, and which one is not.

 

 

 

 

Wanted: Married Couple To Travel To Mars

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That’s right, and even though there has been talk of going to the red planet by NASA, this is a privately funded mission that aims to actually do it. Dennis Tito, a former NASA engineer and investment guru and the company he founded, The Inspiration Mars Foundation, plan to make this happen in 2018. The Foundation which is part of Mr. Tito’s space tourism organization, picked the year 2018 because that’s when Mars will be closest to Earth. This only occurs every 15 years, and it will allow a spacecraft to travel from Earth to Mars and back again on a free return trajectory meaning it won’t be burning any propellant. You may remember that Mr.Tito paid close to $20 million for eight days aboard the International Space Station in 2001.

The ship would make the trip without landing on the planet, but will remain in orbit for a yet to be determined number of orbits, before returning to Earth. Getting humans safely to and from that part of the solar system would be one of the most monumental engineering feats in history. They are accepting applications this year, so if you’d like to go, you still have plenty of time to get your resume in. You have to be a married couple of non child bearing age, and you will be expected to act as man and wife so that data from your cohabitation can be analyzed along with the other telemetry. Since the mission will take 501 days, round trip, I imagine there will be plenty of time to chase each other around the spacecraft in the spirit of science.  And that’s why they prefer the couple be newlyweds in the interest of psychological compatibility. The psychological impact is the big unknown, but scientist are reasonably certain that humans can deal with zero gravity for the 18 months the trip will take. It’s the darkness and the monotony of space that worries scientist because it could have unimaginable effects.

Now the Foundation needs to raise another $1 to $ 2 billion to make it happen, but they are pretty sure that wealthy investors will jump on board for the opportunity to partake in such an historical event.  Now if this comes off as a success, and you missed this opportunity, fear not, for you can put your hat in the ring with those signing up for “Mars One”. That’s the Dutch’s nonprofit group that’s planning a 2023 mission to actually land on Mars and set up shop. They are due to dispatch robotic missions starting in 2016 to pave the way for these would be colonist. But you had better decide pretty quick if you want in because they have already got 200,000 applications. The applicants come from more than 140 countries, with Americans making up 24% of the applicants, the biggest contingent.

Now if the couple make it back to Earth safely, either they will have bonded like no other couple in history, or lawyers will have to decide whether no-fault divorce laws apply beyond our planets gravity. Any takers?

DLTPONCH33

Mars view courtesy of wikimediacommons.com

 

Should We Drug Test Welfare Recipients?

The United States Government is about to embark on a program that’s not going to be very popular with a lot of people. They are going to start drug testing welfare recipients. I for one sat on the fence about this for a long time, but after some careful thinking, I say “make it so”. For those of you crying about government interference, let’s get the facts in order. The Republicans have been screaming about the national debt constantly, and they would be happy if the poor and destitute got nothing. That’s why they cut  food stamp funding by $40 billion dollars. So why would we want to give them “fuel for the fire” by letting those who squander their money on drugs still qualify for benefits while the people who really need the benefits to feed and house their families, get thrown under the bus most of the time.

I live in a neighborhood where I see the abuse everyday. Some people say that “there’s only a small number abusing the system”, and while that may be the case, what they throw away to the neighborhood drug dealer could put a real needy family’s well being in jeopardy. The GOP really wanted to cut the food stamp program by $48 billion, but President Obama wouldn’t let that happen. The resources in this country are limited as it is, and in my way of thinking, if you’re not doing drugs, why worry. At least the taxpayers of this country would be assured that the taxes that they are paying are doing good and not funding and enabling drug addiction. With the taxes already too high, you can almost hear the mumbling from hard working Americans when somebody starts talking “tax increase” to help feed the needy. And as everybody already knows, the Republicans are not going to increase taxes on the wealthy, so it’s going to be the poor taking care of the poor.

We as the 99% must come to the conclusion that we are “our brothers keeper” and we must realize that our limited resources should go to those that are in desperate need. The wild card in this debate is the children. I speak on behalf of the ones who should never go hungry, should never be forced to sleep on the streets, and should always be granted a chance at a meaningful education and clean clothes for which to pursue that education. My hope is that they will see the constant struggle that their parents had to go through, and vow to make a change in this country. While our hands may be tied here in the present, let us not forget the children who will be the future. And they may be the ones who can finally save us from ourselves. Let the truth be told.

 

DLTPONCH33

Image courtesy of tokeofthetown.com

 

The Health Benefits Of Coffee

 

There are 165 million coffee drinkers in the United States alone, and sometimes we wonder how many cups a day can we drink without worry. The worry is a conditioned response because coffee has been blamed over the years from everything from heart disease to cancer.

I myself sometimes wonder about this because without my “cup of Joe” in the morning, I don’t feel motivated to get the my day started. I’ve been a truck driver for the past 29 years, and I dread to think of how many cups I’ve had over that period of time. After some research, I have found out that ,yes coffee can be good for you. That point never crossed my mind.

There have been over 19,000 studies over the past decades that has looked into the dangers and benefits of coffee. Research has shown that moderate drinking can cut the risk of cancer and other diseases Also it is a popular source of antioxidants. The next question you may ask is what is considered “moderate.” For most people, drinking 3 cups a day does more good than harm. Remember however that one’s tolerance to coffee can vary, so even a small amount can make you nervous and irritable if you happen to be sensitive to it. This is especially true if you are consuming additional caffeine, which is found in certain energy drinks, colas, tea, chocolate, and various cold and headache remedies. Most of coffee’s side effects occur at high doses.

In addition to antioxidants, coffee contains a host of antibacterial compounds that protect against infections. Other ingredients may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Just remember to reduce the intake if you do develop the disease. Coffee‘s benefits affect the entire body from preventing gallstones, to reducing the symptoms of Parkinson‘s disease, and even preserving cognitive functions. Also doctors at John Hopkins Hospital found that even 5 cups a day does not raise the blood pressure in healthy people.

So here’s the bottom line for you coffee lovers. Most side effects occur at high doses. People with heart disease, cardiac rhythm problems, high blood pressure, active gout, or stomach ulcers, should reduce or eliminate their intake. The rest of us who look forward to their morning cup of coffee should have no qualms about drinking it. Moderation is the key. Right?

 

Loneliness; Entertaining Yourself

When you’re young, you never even think about being alone too much because you have plenty of friends to keep you doing things. Sometimes you have too much to do, like working, going to college, and spending time with your love interest. But there is the rare occasion, even for a young person, when they become detached from society.

They might be unpopular with the “in” crowd, and they find that friends are few and far between. You might think that as long as you have family, being alone is not possible, but I assure you that it is. You might have heard that a person could be in a room full of people, and still feel alone. This happens often if you suffer low self esteem, or you are just a naturally shy person. In a young person this could be a devastating setback because as young person you should be at the prime of your life, having fun and so on. But in an older person who, after years of marriage, find themselves alone due to their significant other passing away, and most of their friends have also passed or moved away, it could be a mental obstruction to their thought process and can turn into severe depression.

The first thing I’ve noticed about people living alone is they get a pet to keep them company. Usually it’s a dog or cat because they can interact with a pet of that nature, and it keeps them content because you can hold and talk to a dog or cat, Naturally they can’t talk back, but you get to where you can just about know what they’re thinking when you speak to them. But even in the best of animal person relationships, there will come a time where you long for human companionship. Going to a movie, going out to dinner, or going to an amusement park, are just a few things that having someone to do them with means a lot to a person living alone.

Now you may or may not be interested in a long term relationship, and you may find that you love your independence, but you also have this sense of being alienated from society. That could lead you to trust someone, or put your faith in someone who doesn’t have your interest at heart. Desperation is what leads to older people being conned out of their life savings by someone who first shows love and admiration, but really is just using them. We have all heard the stories. And don’t think that it happens only to older people, young persons have been just as gullible.

There are some things you can do to make living alone tolerable. Besides getting a pet, join a “reputable” singles club where everyone gets together and do everything in groups. Get a hobby, writing is good, and do not compromise your beliefs and accept “anyone” just because you are lonely. Be weary of online dating sites because you might get more than you bargained for, and learn to enjoy your own company. Your thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated.