Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The enemy of economic growth is..

Just what is the enemy of economic growth?  

Is it high taxes?  Public debt?  Lack of education?  Too many Government regulations?

There are plenty of theories just as there are plenty of politicians who all claim to know which buttons to press and which knobs to turn that will create economic growth and prosperity for all.   However, there is only one correct answer and out of the goodness in my heart and my deep seated desire to see mankind and human civilization survive and thrive for a very long time, I will share it with everyone now.  

The enemy of economic growth is wasted consumption of limited resources.    

The slogan "drill baby drill" and all of its relative theories are thus patently ignorant for a long-term strategy for our society or any other.   Contrary to what the GOP and conservatives have told the members of their  adoring base, the USA cannot base economic growth on continuously increasing the supply of oil or any other limited resource.  Eventually, it will become impossible to increase the rate by which the available supply of any limited resource can be increased by any means.  Numbers are not required for this explanation, the shape of the curve is enough.  Basing economic growth on increased consumption of resources is a temporary fix at the very best, and more likely a high speed crash into the wall very soon.

The best strategy for economic growth is to conserve limited resources and to eventually eliminate reliance on consumption of limited resources altogether and focus instead on sustainability, recycling, waste elimination and ingenuity.  

Any other plan is doomed to fail, period.  What the politicians who promote those plans that are doomed to fail aren't telling you is that they really don't give two shits what happens long-term to our Nation and our civilization after their own lives are over in a couple or few decades from now. 

They can only see as far as the next election cycle.  And that is why they need to be swept from power.    


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Alabama policeman killed in the line of duty by mentally unstable person at community based treatment center aka his mom's trailer.

This is a horrible story.  A policeman from Baldwin County Alabama was killed in a shootout while answering a family disturbance call.

FAIRHOPE, Ala. (AP) — The shootout that left one Alabama deputy sheriff dead and another in critical condition on Saturday began when they checked on a man at his mobile home and he opened fire on them, authorities said.
Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Mack told that gunfire erupted Friday after Michael Jansen pulled a handgun on Deputy Scott Ward and his colleagues outside of Jansen's Fairhope-area home.
Ward was fatally wounded after responding about 4 p.m. with two other deputies to a family disturbance call at the residence. Deputies returned fire, killing Jansen.

It turns out the shooter was a mentally unstable person and in recent years his mother had attempted two times to have her son committed to a mental health facility and placed under psychiatric care.  

Mack told The Press-Register of Mobile that deputies had responded several times to deal with issues arising from Jansen's mental health. Court records show that his mother moved to have him committed in 2009 and in 2010, and that a probate judge agreed to send him to a state hospital twice in 2010. The newspaper reported that Jansen's mother had called 911 on Friday to report that he was agitated and wouldn't calm down.

But unfortunately budget cuts in the Alabama have targeted mental health institutions, leaving the care and treatment of more patients like Michael Jansen to "community based" treatment centers, aka, roaming the streets and living with mom in the trailer.   ADMH Announces Searcy Hospital Closure Date

Hopefully in Alabama as law enforcement officials, politicians, and the heavily conservative electorate pay their respects to the fallen officer, they will take some time to reflect on their collective decision to pare back the state budget for mental health treatment facilities, leaving Officer Ward and other Alabama law enforcement personnel vulnerable to ambush attacks such as this. This tragedy was preventable.

We're #1 Moses, the other Notre Dame landmark.

Everyone familiar with college football knows about Touchdown Jesus,the famous mural on the campus of Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana.   But not everyone is familiar with the other famous biblical figure/football fan on campus.  We're #1 Moses.    

Monday, November 12, 2012

Some pictures from the coast in Western Cape Province South Africa

Before 2012, I had never left the North American continent, nor did I have much interest to do so.  Then a change in job assignments gave me the opportunity to do some traveling for work.  First was a trip to Thailand in April, which was very cool indeed.  And recently I was asked to go to South Africa for a couple weeks.  I had no concept of what I was in for.  Like most Americans who are under-educated when it comes to African countries and their history and geography, my knowledge of South Africa was lacking to say the least.  I had no idea of the spectacular rugged beauty and beautiful scenery here.  

With a day off yesterday, a couple co-workers and I took the opportunity to drive from Port Elizabeth to see some sights along the coast in the Western Cape Province including Tsitsikamma National Park.   Here are some pictures.. Enjoy.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

The GOP heads off to 2016.. Left turn ahead.

I took this picture yesterday at the Addo National Park in South Africa.

I think it is very symbolic of the GOP.  They'll plod along now towards the next election.  They need to decide soon to either make a turn to the left, or stay on their current vector and end up in the weeds.

From R to R:  Rush Limbaugh, Paul Ryan, Bill O'Reilly, Mitch McConnel, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity 

(No offense intended toward the elephants!) 

Friday, November 9, 2012

A few pictures from Port Elizabeth South Africa.

I am in Port Elizabeth South Africa for a couple weeks.  If not for the opportunity to come here for a work assignment, I would likely never venture this far from home back in lovely Michigan, USA.  I had heard this was a nice place but I had no idea of the breathtaking rugged beauty along the coastline.  

Port Elizabeth, located at the bottom of the African continent is an industrial city with quite a few factories and a large shipping port.  The factory I am working at has a diverse workforce that is motivated, friendly, and very good at what they do.  I am here to help along with a co-worker from the office in Bangalore India to troubleshoot some facility and production issues and do some specialized training with the process engineering team.   The days have been long, but very productive so far.  We really haven't done any sight-seeing other than what you could see form the car window on the ways to and from the plant.  So it goes when you are an "expert", whatever the hell that word means.

Here are some pictures from Port Elizabeth.  After this weekend there will be more.  We actually get a day off Sunday so the plan is to visit some National Parks and go way off the beaten path.   More to follow..


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why I’m Voting for President Obama

This is from blogger Randall Gross, who I have known for a few years as a fellow poster at the website Little Green Footballs. I was thinking of writing a post clarifying why I was switching parties for this election and voting for President Obama, and then I saw this post from Randall and thought heck, why even try to improve on that?  This sums it all up for me.  Bravo.  

Randall, your words speak for me and thousands of other former Republicans, spooked away by willful ignorance, hate, greed, and religious fanaticism who now find themselves voting to re-elect a President they didn't vote for the first time around.  Credit goes to Charles Johnson and the community at Little Green Footballs for using facts and data to promote rational analysis and thoughtful political commentary and debate.

 LGF Pages: Randall Gross: Why I'm Voting for President Obama
I’m voting for President Obama because I trust him to do the right thing, and even on the issues where we don’t agree I know that he will make his choices based on principles and what he sees as best for our country as a whole rather than based on political expediency or the dictates of narrow interests. I have confidence in him as President and I know that he’s principled because I’ve watched him in action first as a candidate and then as our president for five years now.
When this started out I was not a Barack Obama fan - instead I was one of the many here at this site writing posts against him and campaigning for his opponents (that included Clinton, Guiliani, Romney, and McCain at various points as the long primary season wound into the national election). I was against him as president and was pretty firmly seated in the “anyone but Obama” camp because I still believed all the far right bumper stickers about him, and even took part in some of the attempts to slime him with Reverend Wright and other things.
Even after he was elected I was still heavily criticizing him regarding jobs and the economy all the way into 2010, but over time he slowly turned all of those negatives around. He demonstrated his leadership time and again, and took a lot of heat not only from the right, but also from many of the progressives in his own party to work through issues with a highly recalcitrant Congress. Under his guidance I watched as multiple branches of our Federal Government became more open, more effective, and more efficient.
At the same time I watched the right become bitter and hardened, witch hunting not only our new president but also anyone in their own party who didn’t kow-tow to their hard right litany at every other step. The cracked pots were let in the back door, and I ran out the front, at first to become an independent, and then a year later a registered Democrat.
Meanwhile, President Obama took the fight directly to the specific terrorist organizations who were attacking us and destabilizing the subcontinent of Asia and the Middle East. He quickly got results, using a combination of drone warfare, sanctions, agreements and diplomacy to further US interests and missions.
He didn’t care if the terrorists were hiding in Yemen and Pakistan and being sheltered by factions of those country’s military. He went after them anyway, just as he had promised in his campaign; he took out leader after leader until we got Osama Bin Laden hiding in Abottobad, Pakistan. Both Romney and McCain had roundly criticized him for saying he would go into Pakistan during the campaign, but he persisted until justice was done.
I’ve watched our President in action, turning the country around, doing what was required to save the auto industry, putting the country back to work with construction projects across the nation when we needed it most, and I’ve seen him persevere while the rabid right did everything in their power to cause him and our country to fail. I’ve seen him smile and still try to deal with Republican congressmen even as one of them called him a liar during an address to a joint session of Congress.
That joint session was for his landmark health care initiative, and I’m glad it passed. Now all of my nieces and nephews have a chance to stay on their parents health insurance as they go into those starter jobs. Now my pacemaker isn’t a pre-existing condition hurdle to changing insurance if I want to.
It’s now five years later, and I’m a big supporterIt was that kind of bile and the over the top charges like “Death panels” at that joint session and Barack’s persistent work against our real foes overseas that made me reconsider the propaganda I’d been fed, and made me dig deeper into the issues. At most junctures I found myself deciding that our president was right, and his opponents were absolutely crazed, as I dug into the facts of each issue.
I found that we agree on most issues regarding climate, social issues like gay marriage, and women’s rights. I fully support the regulations on Wall Street — we can’t afford vulture and wild West capitalism of the sort his opponent wants.
It’s now five years later, and I’m a big supporter. I honestly don’t think there is anyone out there who can do a better job as President for the next four years. Instead, I firmly believe that putting anyone else into office would seriously jeopardize the slow but steady recovery that we are in.
That’s why our President, Barack Obama, not only has my complete confidence and trust as president, but also my vote for the next four years.

Friday, November 2, 2012

This chart explains why we can expect more extreme weather

This is the Psychrometric chart.  Mechanical engineering students are required to memorize this chart.  OK not really.  But they do become very familiar with the intersecting grid of straight and curved lines in thermo class.

About the chart.  For any combination of air temperature and relative humidity there is a point on the psychrometric chart where you can stick a thumbtack.  Go across the bottom to locate the dry bulb temperature line and then go straight up the line to where it intersects the correct relativity humidity curve.  Once that point is defined so are other physical properties of the air mixture such as the wet bulb temperature, the dew point, the amount of water absorbed, the density of the air and it's overall energy or enthalpy.  Follow the different lines going through that point to read the units represented.

The lines to focus on are those for relative humidity (RH). They curve upward to the right as the dry bulb temperature increases.  The lowest of these lines is for 10% RH, the highest is for 100%.  The maximum amount of water vapor that can be absorbed into air at a certain temperature is represented by the 100% RH line.  The increasing slope of the 100% RH line shows that as air rises in temperature, its propensity to absorb water vapor increases at an increasing rate.  Warm air can absorb far more water vapor than cool air.

Another series of lines that are important here are the wet bulb temperature lines.  If you go back to the tack in the chart and follow the wet bulb line to the left and upward, you can read the wet bulb temperature which is close enough to call the dew point, in other words the temperature below which the air must be cooled in order to induce precipitation.

As the effects of AGW cause average temperatures to rise in the oceans and atmosphere, one effect will be that more mass of water vapor will be absorbed from rivers, lakes and oceans into the atmosphere.  The larger mass of water vapor absorbed into the air will mean the more mass of precipitation will eventually fall out from the air later.

However more water vapor in the air does not equate to more precipitation across all geographical areas.   Humid air must collide with cold air to bring the mixture of the two below it's dew point temperature to create precipitation.  If a mass of humid air is not chilled below it's dew point the water vapor just moves along in the wind and eventually falls to the ground somewhere else.

I think it is reasonable to say on average the amount of precipitation will increase in a warming climate.  Precipitation will tend to decrease in areas where the atmosphere is hottest and increase in areas where the air is cooler.  I think we will see more persistent droughts, wildfires and growing deserts along with an increasing number of massive precipitation events that will dump record-breaking rain/snow where warm humid air masses collide with cold fronts, bringing floods, property damage, economic disruptions. crop losses and infrastructure failures.  This trend doesn't bode well for the agriculture or property insurance industries, or for our economic prospects in general.        

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Photo of the Year and two others

President Barack Obama, left, embraces Donna Vanzant, right, during a tour of a neighborhood effected by superstorm Sandy, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 in Brigantine, N.J. Vanzant is a owner of North Point Marina, which was damaged by the storm. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accepts a food donation from a supporter on October 30, 2012 in Kettering, Ohio.

Mitt Romney supporters are donating clothing and chicken noodle soup to the African American children of Hoboken New Jersey to keep them warm and to feed their soul.

The top photo just might seal the deal for Obama's re-election.

The middle one shows a perfect metaphor for Mitt's campaign. A jumbo pack of small bags full of air in a variety of flavors.

The bottom one, alls I can say is, that's real classy sweetheart.  A week from now you can store that one away with your Sarah Palin action figure collection.