Saturday, May 05, 2007

My biggest criticism of the Church of Global Warming (Praise Gaia and her anointed prophets the Goreacle and Tom Brokaw. Hah-men!) is their denial, or, at best, their omission (but a lie of omission is still a lie), that Global Warming is a natural event. Two recent peer reviewed studies (those valued most highly by the faithful unless it's about the health risks of marijuana) show that Global Warming can occur in the absence of Man.

First: Scientists from NASA say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5°C since the 1970s, which is about same amount of warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period. To me, this suggests that Global Warming may be a natural phenomenon over which we have no control. No amount of florescent light bulbs replacing incandescent will stop it.

Second: Greenland volcanic eruptions 55-61 million years ago broiled and acidified the oceans, and killed up to 50 percent of the world’s deep-sea organisms; also opened up new migration routes for horses and other mammals into North America; and might have even fueled early primate evolution, the study says by raising global temperatures about 10°C. The study said it took roughly 100,000 years to peak, and another 100,000 years or so for the climate to recover. To me, this suggests that Global Warming may be something best measured in geologic time.

Yes, the second article does say we may, not will--but may--cause the process to take 100 years instead of 10,000. But the first article suggests that Global Warming is occurring at the same pace on Mars, where we aren't.

Does this mean we should stop recycling, increase greenhouse gases, and continue drinking bottled water? No. We have an obligation to share resources. Does it mean we have to completely change our lifestyle by political means, including passing legislation requiring everyone in the US to become Vegan? No. Humans may have less of an effect on Global Warming than even I thought. Does this mean that Global Warming is primarily a political movement? Oh, yeah. It's a movement that is designed to position Al Gore for another run at the Presidency.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

A recent study suggests that Stone Age humans (or, if you're a creationist, grandma and grandpa) not only had sex to reproduce, but to boost each other's self esteem, which supports NOW Toronto's view of May/December sexual relations.

Practices ranging from bondage to group sex, transvestism and the use of sex toys were widespread in primitive societies as a way of building up cultural ties.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

It's one thing to praise your kids. That's good. It may be bad, however, to praise them too much. In fact, if you constantly tell your kid s/he's smart, you may be causing your child to actually underestimate his /her abilities. A study was conducted in a fifth grade class. Four groups were given a task. Three of the groups were told, "Very good. You must have worked hard on this." One group was told, "Very Good. You are very smart at this." The groups were asked to pick a new task. The groups that were told they worked hard picked a more difficult taks than the first one. The group that was told they were smart picked an easier task than the first one.

Why did this happen? “When we praise children for their intelligence,” Dweck wrote in her study summary, “we tell them that this is the name of the game: Look smart, don’t risk making mistakes.” And that’s what the fifth-graders had done: They’d chosen to look smart and avoid the risk of being embarrassed.

Since the late 60s, schools have been eliminating competitions where some people win and some people lose because they didn't want children to label themselves as losers. Self-esteem building became the goal, and not in the sleeping with students sense popular at Now Toronto Magazine. No, "Soccer coaches stopped counting goals and handed out trophies to everyone. Teachers threw out their red pencils. Criticism was replaced with ubiquitous, even undeserved, praise," the article says.

After reviewing those 200 studies, Baumeister concluded that having high self-esteem didn’t improve grades or career achievement. It didn’t even reduce alcohol usage. And it especially did not lower violence of any sort. (Highly aggressive, violent people happen to think very highly of themselves, debunking the theory that people are aggressive to make up for low self-esteem.)

In fact, these students become risk averse, and maintaining their image become their first priority, and become more competitive and engage in activities designed to tear people down. And these students turn to cheating as an avoidance strategy, which is why schools are banning iPods: kids are using them to cheat.

And what happens at work?

At most workplaces, failure to achieve a goal or complete a task isn't rewarded with a ribbon, or automatic advancement through the company. Instead, the consequences can be disastrous. My boss recently told me she saw a report on TV that said when these "Everyone-gets-a-ribbon" kids get reprimanded at work they cry. Which makes it odd that within three days, I see an article entitled "Is it Ever Acceptable to Cry at Work?" And that article's advice? Use tears sparingly. "crying, as any toddler knows, can be a lethal weapon to get what you want. Tears are sometimes a signal to our colleagues not to mess with us on that particular day or topic," but "in most cases tears still tend to look like a loss of control," so don't cry. The fact that that piece of advice (don't cry at work) has to be printed in a newspaper is a good indicator of what the "self-esteem" movement in education produces.

Hmm. That does, however, explain some of my career choices. . .


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Have you seen the commercial that shows "Dangerous Catch" Type fisherman hauling plastic bottles of water out of the ocean? Does that disturb anyone else? All that plastic floating in the ocean? What about bottled water in general?

When I was a kid, when my dad took us somewhere, he would fill a big cooler with a spigot on it with ice, then add water. When we got thirsty, we had the coldest water in the world. The last time we traveled, we tossed bottled water in the ice chest.

I recently decided that I would no longer buy or use bottled water. I think it is not ecologically sound. So at the beginning of every work week, I buy a bag of ice at the local Kwik E Mart, and put ice in an insulated mug and drink tap water.

Turns out, I was ahead of the curve. The Green movement has caught up with me! Restaurants in San Francisco are serving tap water! Mike Kossa-Rienzi, general manager of Chez Panisse, said, "Shipping bottles of water from Italy doesn't make sense."

Bravo! We strike a blow against consumerism and pretension at the same time!

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Now here's a solution to Global Warming I can really get behind: Don't go to work! You want to save the planet? Stay at home! (note to self: send this link to Cheryl Crow.) Don't go an vacation. Don't "go for a ride." Stay home. Turn the AC off, swap out your bulbs for florescent, and bask in the glory of saving the environment.


Monday, April 30, 2007

A co-worker asked me if I wanted anything from the bakery next door. I'm trying to be a good boy and lose weight, so I said, "Just some ice tea."

"What do you want in it?" she asked.

"Lemon," I replied. "I like my tea cold an bitter, like my women."

That one goes in the standup routine.