Monday, March 31, 2008

I still say if you want to keep up with

dumb things, the US educational system is the place to start.

"A Delta High School teacher who allegedly gave his students permission to beat a classmate who was late for class has been charged with child abuse."

I'm glad this is settled.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Chelsea Clinton returned Monday to North Carolina, telling college students that the world will "breathe a sigh of relief" once President Bush leaves office. Clinton spoke Monday during a town hall meeting with students at North Carolina State University. She later moved on to Peace College in Raleigh to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Yes sir. No doubt. Chelsa has spoken and the subject is decided. It is always so nice to have the voice of knowledge and experience weighing in.

Link to Chelsea's blatherings.

Unintended Consequences

One of the questions asked by shrinks in job or promotion interviews was what would happen if mankind suddenly cured all diseases, resulting in much longer life spans.

The answer was, of course, shortages in food supplies as production ramped up to feed the larger population. This could lead to instability and perhaps war. Which would reduce the population.

I was told that if you noted the food problem you got through the gate. If you noted the possibility of war then the discussion became centered around "war" and how it should be conducted. I was also told that if you wanted to act unilaterally versus using the UN you were judged to aggressive. If you wanted to use the UN then you were too much an organizational man and lacked leadership qualities and would thus be slotted to remain in middle management until the end of time.

I guess the "war monger" became a CEO. I say guess because I went the war route and I never became a corporate chief. So much for psycho babble, eh??

I think of the above every time I hear that the success of the Third World in improving their life styles is increasing the demand for oil which is driving up the price, which eventually will cause the economies of the world to collapse. This could lead to instability and perhaps war. Remember it was a shortage of raw materials that drove Japan to invade first China and then SE Asia and the US.

Science Fiction has always loved such future predictions. A man made virus escapes from the lab and destroys mankind has been used time and again, or a mutant bacteria... Or .... gasp!.... Global Warming destroys civilization. Note that in these it is mankind using technology that destroys man.

It is very unusual for technology to be the savior, despite the fact technology has always been the savior. Cars cause pollution. Okay. Have you ever thought about cities in which horses pulled wagons and buggies??? Can you imagine the smell? The flies feasting off the horse manure? The diseases transmitted by the flies?
Can you imagine a city that had no natural gas? No electricity??

People have always loved to be frightened. From the carnival's "House of Horrors" to the County Fair's "Roller Coaster" to pollution created mutant spiders....

But it was all good clean fun. People believed in the future. People believed that technology would improve our lives. And it did.

But then a funny thing happened. Some people started selling fear to develop political power. Of course it is for the "people's" own good. As Dr. Stephen Schneider said:

"To capture the public imagination,we have to offer up some scary scenarios,make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective,and being honest."

Nuclear power has never been known to kill or harm a single person in the US, yet we continue to use coal, oil and natural gas, with some water/damn generation thrown in to produce electric power. The first three pollute, the water/damn generation does not, so it is only natural that the environmental wackos are demanding that we discontinue water/damn generation. Is that stupid or what?? A tiny amount of wind power is being generated, and the lack of high voltage transmission lines from the point of generation is causing a problem. The electric utilities are hesitant to build new ones fearing a law suit over "cancer being caused" as well as any number of unimportant birds, snakes, frogs and plants that will be used as the next cause to be celebrated on TV by the environmental wackos and their hand maidens, the MSM as well as many on the Internet whose claim to fame is that they majored in a field that qualifies them to ask, "Wanna biggie size that?"

In short, the radical environmental wackos have stymied power production, road building and airport construction all in the name of protecting the environment against mostly mythical dangers. And they have done it by selling fear to a generation that was raised on "science evil," "Executive branch" bad. All "journalists" trustworthy, all "business executives" bad.

In the meantime, to turn back to the beginning, life expectancy is increasing and food demand is increasing yet we haven't built a new nuclear power plant or oil refinery in over 30 years. Technology improvements have been limited to mostly communication improvements and entertainment and with three TV's, two computers, and various DVD's, etc., power consumption has not kept up.

Folks, it is time for us to remove our collective heads from our collective rear ends and understand that life proves one thing. You either grow or die. For years we grew in scientific knowledge, improved infrastructure and power distribution/generation.

We are no longer growing.

One promise of the Internet

was that it would enable more voices to join the discussion. Blogs have done that. Another thing it did was vastly expand self book publishing, also known as Publish On Demand. (POD) And, like most new technologies, the natural tendency is for the larger companies to want to eat the smaller ones. This, of course, leads to fewer companies and, if followed to the natural end, a new status quo.

Meet the new boss. Just like the old boss.

Such is the case with Amazon.

Clear so far? Good. It’s different now; between the Internet, the development of POD, or print-on-demand technology, and the big-name publishing houses becoming risk-adverse, unadventurous and stodgy. Rather like Hollywood and the music industry, come to think on it: stuck on established big names, carefully constructed sure-fire blockbuster hits and guaranteed big returns. The quirky, original, eccentric and genuinely creative will likely never be invited in the door – even if they are talented, too. The result has been an explosion in the numbers of writers who have gone ‘indy’ – just like filmmakers and musicians, because the technology has allowed it. Getting in through the doors of the big-name publishing houses is no longer the only game in town.

Print on demand technology allows a printer to print up copies of a particular book as they are ordered from a formatted electronic text file. Because they are usually printed in small batches, not in 10s of thousands at a whack, the cost of the individual copy is higher, but not all that much. And because they are printed to order, the matter of warehousing thousands of copies doesn’t come up; all very ecologically sound. It allowed writers who couldn’t or didn’t want to publish through a traditional publisher and couldn’t afford to pay for a print run from a so-called vanity press to pay a small set-up fee for their text and cover, which would be available to the printer. Whenever orders came in for their book, the printer could run off as many copies as needed and drop-ship them to the customer.

Sensing an opportunity, a whole host of new publishers sprang up or morphed from their previous incarnation...

So last Friday’s action by Amazon.com, demanding that POD publisher, Publish America now and henceforward have their books be printed by Booksurge, or else their authors books would not be sold directly through Amazon comes as a rather thuggish slap in the face. (Publish America’s news release is here.)

Link to article.

Read the article. It should give us all pause for consideration.