There is no such thing

Having lived sixty years, you do glean experiences from the important to the pedestrian. Here are a few thoughts to ponder.

– there is no such thing as a squirrel-proof bird feeder; the inventive four legged creatures will find a way. We have tried many feeders and watching the squirrels shows they are the best safecrackers around.

– there is no such thing as an honest autocrat; power corrupts, absolute power makes you protective – the truth is a commodity. Beware of those who want more autocratic power. Turkey’s parliament gave Erdogan more power – that was not the best of moves in any country, regardless of the perceived veracity of the leader.

– there is no such thing an unbigoted person; we all have our prejudices, the key is to recognize them and listen to people who do not look, worship, believe, or love like you. A black man named Daryl Davis has talked over 200 KKK members into leaving the KKK and giving him their robes. He does it by asking them questions and starting a conversation.

– there is no such thing as clean coal; it can be made cleaner, but it will pollute the environment and humans in its acquisition, transport, burning and its residual ash storage. Fortunately, we are passed the tipping point on coal energy’s demise with renewable energy surpassing coal energy in the US and Germany this year.

– there is no such thing as an apolitical politician; some are less political than others, but be wary of fear-mongers and name-callers. The inability to make a logical, fact based argument is a tell-tale sign. Ask many why questions to ferret out the truthtellers. My favorite quote is from former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, when he was caught in a lie by a reporter who asked questions. The Senator said in paraphrase you mistake my words with the truth (in other words, it is your fault I am lying).

– there is no such thing as a redeemable domestic violence abuser (there are very few success stories) as it is power based. If your significant other is beating you, leave. He will not change. One-third of the homeless families an agency I supported helped were due to domestic violence. A friend said none of his six siblings knew their sister was being beaten by her husband until he killed her. He also beat their kids by lifting them up and bashing their heads into the ceiling. Summon the courage, find an advocate and leave. He…will…not…change.

– there is no such thing as a free award; there is always a catch or a cost. Be wary of the more strident offers as it is indicative of a better deal for the one making the offer. As the cartoon character Ziggy once said, the nicer the presentation, the worse the message. There is a correlation between the marketer’s zeal  and the size of the profit potential. Stores where salespeople are on commission greet you at the door, e.g. while salaried sales people will greet you later.

I hope those in the US have a safe and enjoyable holiday. Stay hydrated. For those abroad, thanks for bearing with us as we sort our mess of politics and I wish you the best in your endeavors.


18 thoughts on “There is no such thing

  1. There are misconceptions about everything Keith. I agree with everything you say.

    One nagging point is the replacement for coal…

    I have just sent a very long research piece on Biomass to “Friends of the Earth” in the UK. It is far too long for here, but I urge your readers to watch this 30 minute documentary.
    It was made last year, but since then, Biomass (replace ment for coal in existing power stations) has ramped up considerably, and is looking much more worrying to me than even this documentary implies.
    Your US forests are in a lot of danger! North America (including Canada) is set to take its trees down and send them off to UK, Europe and Asia.

    • Colette, while biomass has merit, the more promising solutions are wind, solar and tidal. What is being done off the Scottish coast with tidal is replicable. But, to your point, any idea must be explored with a cost/ benefit analysis. Since wind and solar have come down in cost so much in the past ten years, they are growing like gangbusters.

      Coal is on its way out and leaders need to shoot straight with the workers helping them migrate to other jobs. Coal is now more costly than renewable in many places, but when all costs are measured (environmental degradation, healthcare costs, tramsportation and storage and litigation), renewables are far cheaper.

      Getting back to biomass, there is a plant based effort that has merit pioneered by an 85 year old self-made scientist who has attracted the attention of key scientists and is in production – he uses a laser to blast out the needed plant fuel. Plus, per the documentary “Ice on Fire,” they also suggest the use of dying trees to be used to salvage the loss of carbon.

      I am just glad there are people thinking about these issues. the best ideas have tended to come from those who are on the ground, but they do need the government to help fund ideas, grids, etc. Keith

      • I don’t think the Lumber companies are looking at Biomass as sustainably as you Keith. Do Watch the video.
        I noticed a tweet here in UK from a former (retired) Conservative party member. He was bemoaning the fact that his contractor could not source fence posts for a new fence. His reason – a shortage of supply created by the biomass industry.

        I agree that we need solar, wind, and wave power, but there is not enough waste product for biomass… It is a hidden Greenwash that the timber companies and governments alike, are spending millions of dollars on. The Louisiana Governor alone has spent 12,000,000 and committed a further 20,000,000 to rail development to move wood pellets to Baton Rouge port for shipment overseas. The Louisiana tree replacement program is a financiak incentive to land owners to turn their land over to pine and hardwood monocultures on the caveat that they spray down all other growth (chemicals) that might compete.
        Biomass sounds good in theory. But unscrupulous people and companies will turn it into the next C02 disaster. This program is much larger than you think, and while lots of waste will be used, it gives Lumber companies cart blanche rights to log more than they normally would for just timber product.
        The new LaSalle plant in Louisiana (a combined project of Hunt and Tolko) is actually right next to the newly opened (as of March), Drax Biomass plant. Both sites are huge. Louisiana has a lot of poverty. The few jobs at these plants will do no more than employ a few people locally. Meanwhile the profits for shipping product overseas goes into company profits, while subsidies are paid willy nilly by Governments overseas. I do not think this is being monitored properly.

        The video shows the destruction of old growth swamp forests. Louisiana and S. and N. Carolina are biodiversity hot spots. The video shows the clear cutting of forest. Drax have denied that they took that wood (well, at least no more than 30% of it) as it headed for Enviva (a big supplier to Drax in the UK).

        Keith, I have seen the trains rolling into Drax. I question Drax on their Twitter page. I have no doubt that there is no full disclosure here. Drax itself, does not plant trees. It convinced our UK Government that it can capture C02 during the burning process. The UK Government have just funded another 500,000,000 into research for Drax’s carbon capture. They have subsidised Drax and will continue to do so until 2027. Our government removed the subsidies on solar and wind (stating that they should be self supporting). So should Drax. I feel terrible that the UK taxpayer is funding the destruction of your forests. 😔

      • By the way, that carbon capture program during burning, is set (so far) only to feed a greenhouse housing tomato plants next to the power plant in Selby, Yorkshire. It might have the potential to do more, but who knows.

        A carbon capture (expensive) could have been developed for coal burning, but companies didn’t see enough profit. Burning biomass is dirtier, takes double the weight (three times the mass) of equivalent coal to produce power. The Carbon Neutral balance comes from the idea that trees can be replanted. They can, but not at the rates necessary to rebuild forest at the rate they are destroyed. It takes 5 years to grow a pine to ankle height, 20 years to grow it to ‘waste tree size,’ 40 years to be considered a mature tree. It takes 100 years to regrow a forest.
        The Amazon is being destroyed at a football pitch a minute. Your forests are disappearing into a single biomass power station in Germany at 1 acre per hour. The UK has two more biomass plants coming on line in 2020. Seven Scottish Power plants have just been purchased by Drax. The Canadian firm Tolko (rg’s home town Tolko is busy building a biomass production facility due to open in a few weeks) are encouraging China and South Korea to convert their coal stations to Biomass.
        Sorry to go on at length (you don’t deserve my rant) but I see a huge supply problem. I am really scared of this. 😳

      • Please feel free to delete my rant after you have read it. My passion runs rather too high and I feel that I have rather overwhelmed your comment space. I’m sorry. 🙏❤️

      • Colette, many thanks for the information and link. Today was a father/ daughter outing, so I will need yo watch it when I am less tired tomorrow.

        Again, to me the more elegant and sustainable solutions are wind, solar and tidal – as the wind blows, sun shines and tides make waves. The battery storage improvements makes all of this scalable.

        To me the best carbon capture approaches are natural – maintaining and growing forests, doing the same for mangroves, and growing kelp farms in the sea, which absorb carbon and can be used to feed cattle to reduce their footprint. The documentary “Ice on Fire” is excellent. I wrote a post about it a month ago.

        Don’t mind the rants. That is informational. Any time I learn things is time well spent. Many thanks, Keith

  2. Keith your posts are always so on target. You meet the core. I cannot believe that such ignorance still is tolerated. At least, when I got to the violence paragraph it broke my heart. How can such people not be forced to deal with the consequences of their cruel deeds?

    • Erika, thanks. I feel the need to shock people about DV abusers. Far too many women think their abuser will change. The ones that do are very, very rare.

      The women must find a trusted advisor – sister, mother, friend, social worker, etc. Approaching a religious leader depends on how evangelical the leader is – I know of horror stories where the male leader tells the woman it is her fault she is being beaten. When I heard a story from a friend about this, it made me furious, That religious leader is abetting a crime in my view. Sorry for the added information, but it is a topic of import. Keith

      • Yes, those women are in danger that in their desperation they fall into the hands of someone who makes everything only worse… someone they should officially be able to trust which gets abused. I get really angry hearing of such cases as you described it. Instead of building up their self-esteem they are stamping on them too. Yes, I agree, that is a crime itself!!

      • Erika, well said. Their self-esteem is already low. Then, they summon enough courage to speak to someone who blames them for their husband beating them. Keith

      • Yes, exactly, like they got punished for their courage. I so agree with you, Keith, and I am thankful that you show those serious issues in our “system” so clearly! It is needed to wake up!

  3. Ha ha! I agree with everything but your first item. I swear I have a squirrel proof bird feeder. I’ve had the same one for about 10 years. It could be also where it is located that makes it particularly effective, but the squirrels hang around staring at it but never manage to get anything out of it, unless they pick up the leavings on the ground. I did, however, have to de-wasp it once. Yikes. The little devils had found a hole and were busy building a paper nest. That explained why the birds would hover, but not light on it.

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