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Bakari
biodieselhau...
Male
Oakland, CA



 
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You are currently viewing archive for December 2009
Posted By Bakari

So many people, when the subject of christmas lights come up, they acknowledge they are nice, but go on to add "but they are a waste of energy".

As someone who feels strongly that American's use of energy and resources is morally unacceptable, I would like to be very clear about this:
Christmas lights are NOT a waste of energy.

That 80% of car trips have only the driver or a driver and one passenger, yet seat from 5-7 people is a waste of energy.  That we live, on average, 20 miles from our jobs is a waste of energy.  Uninsulated attics and unweather stripped doors and windows in houses and power steering and air conditioning in cars, all electric kitchens, and cars that weigh 50% more than they did 20 years ago and have 200% more power are all enormous wastes of energy.
Buying enormous amounts of crap that no one really needs and that get shoved into a closet or thrown out after a few weeks wastes energy in manufacture and transport.

Not one of those things provides any significant increase in quality of life.  None of them make people happy to be alive.  At most they provide a tiny increase in convince.  At worst they do nothing but cost money.  None of them create joy.

In a land where profit is considered the only motivating factor for nearly everything in life, filled with people who don't know their neighbors, where 50% of people can't be bothered to take the effort to use their turn signals, for a few weeks a year people do something with no financial benefit, no increase in comfort or convenience, no direct personal benefit.
You don't even see them from inside the house.  Everyone else passing by sees them.
They turn an ordinary neighborhood into a magical place.
They create joy.
Which makes them one of the few valid uses of energy in this country.
Because ultimately, making it enjoyable is really the only point there is to life. 

So go ahead and enjoy those giant flashy displays and don't for a second feel guilty about it.
Put up your own even.

You can get a strip of LED lights for less than $10 that use less than 5 watts of power, (far less than a single florescent light bulb).
I even found a set for under $5 that runs for days on just (rechargeable) AA batteries.

But LED or no, the lights are worthwhile and good.

A world without christmas lights is not a world worth saving.


 
Posted By Bakari

In less than a month, I will no longer be one of those people who are "in their 20s".
I'm driving slower, I own my home, I'm self-employed, and I have a credit rating above 800.
Defying all that makes sense in the world, I've been gradually becoming a responsible adult.
As of midnight Jan 9th of next year, it will become official.

Living to 90 is a fair goal.
If you chop life into 3 big blocks, 90 / 3, then 0-30 would be youth.  60-90 would be old age.  Which leaves 30-60 to be middle aged.
Wow.
Man.
Crazy.
I am a month away from middle aged.
I'm a divorcee who lives with 2 cats and is currently researching the tax affects of different types of individual retirement accounts.
I don't entirely understand how this happened.


I'm not one to throw parties.
In fact, the last time I hosted a party entirely on my own was - never.

On Saturday, January 9th, 2009, I will have my "Last Day of Youth" party.

Full Contact Spoons and Amtgard in the park (Lake Merrit in Oakland, between fairyland and the bowling green)

 

Video games: Perfect Dark and Super Smash Brothers and Mario Kart.
Like we used to play in high-school.  I've been playing against my 8 year old neighbor, so I don't suck as much as I did back then.

At the Mansion (292 Lee St)


Hours of non-stop dancing starting at sun down


I went through thousands of tracks, one by one, and selected across multiple genres for maximum danceability, ordered them by beats per minutes, and have them beat-matched and cross faded by robot DJ (aka my laptop - nothing like the real thing, but about $600 cheaper). 7 hours worth of rock-a-billy followed by funk followed by hip-hop followed by "gypsy punk" followed by pop.

There are to be no presents or gifts of any kind.  Seriously.  I have enough stuff and enough money.  And not enough space.  This includes home-made stuff and things that would actually be useful to me.  Nothing.
(Edibles and sorbiles -cake, alcohol, whatever- would be appreciated, but that would be to share with everyone.)
Your presence is my present.
Playing spoons and dancing non-stop until my neighbors complain or we pass out from exhaustion is my present.  Might be a good idea to start an exercise program now to prepare...

Because I would like even my feeble friends to attend, I am suspending my usual rule that anyone who shows up to spoons has to play.

I can not think of a good way to end this


 
Posted By Bakari

The Earth has been around about 5 billion years, life about 4 billion.
Half a billion years for animals, 200 billion for mammals.
200,000 years of humans.
For the first 192,000 years or so, the human population was under 10 million people world wide.
Increasing 10 fold took 6000 more years.
We rocketed from 100 million to a billion in just over 2000 years.
The next billion only took 120 years.
And then 30.
And since the 1950s, we have added a billion people every 13 years or so.

We are at around 6.75 billion people now.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/Population_curve.svg

Its estimated that it will hit 9 billion in about another 30 years.
That new 2 and a quarter billion people will be our children.

We like to point to the 3rd world, to Asia and Africa, but in the measure that matters, the US is by far the most overpopulated country in the world, as well as one of the fastest growing.

Population is only an issue because of the finite resources the Earth can provide. If we had unlimited resources there wouldn't be any reason not to keep increasing indefinitely.

If everyone used the same amount of water, land, and energy, and caused the same amount of pollution as the average person in the third world, we would all be ok for a long time to come. Due to lack of ability, what we call poverty, people in the third world tend to use less than their share of world resources.
The average person in the first world uses 5 times more than the overall world average.
The average American uses 20 times more. Each of us uses about 20 times more water, 20 times more fuel and electricity, 20 times as much land to produce our food, produces 20 times more waste and pollution.
Which means that in the big picture, each of us counts for 20 people.

So our 305 million population may as well be 6.1 billion, far more than China's 1.3 billion. They would have to increase some combination of actual population and consumption per person by far before we could legitimately point the finger at them.

It also means that each child we have counts as 20 people, turning our fertility rate of 2.1 (already above the replacement rate of 2) into the equivalent of 42 per woman, 6 times higher than the highest rate of any third world country - and almost 17 times higher than the world average.

In the US alone there are 200,000 children waiting to be adopted.


It is one of the most basic and universal desires is to reproduce. How could it be any other way? Because if that drive weren't passed along genetic lines, our ancestors wouldn't have bothered, and we wouldn't be here to think about it.

There has been a widespread assumption that because it is natural and universal that therefor it should be considered a human right.

Our modern world does not resemble the savanna we evolved on. We also have biological instincts to eat whenever food is available in case it isn't tomorrow - and the result is rampant obesity - and a good number of us making the conscious choice to go against instinct and manipulate ourselves in ways that take into consideration the reality of our world. Violence is natural and universal, but we agree as a society that the costs are not acceptable and make the conscious decision to repress it, both as individuals and as communities.
Because, we can do that, we can think, and make choices.

To make wine or beer, you start with grape juice or grains and add microorganisms.
For them it is an incredible feast!

Character limited blog server; read the rest here: http://neapolitanblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/wine-barrel-population-and-parenthood.html