Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Same question - different answers.

I was looking at some polling questions recently that really brought home to me how biased polls can be. All you have to do is ask the 'right' question to get the answer you want!
For example, as most of you know I am a Liberal (Dictionary definition- generous, tolerant of differing views, broadminded, not conventional, favoring reform and progress, open minded to ideas that challenge tradition, etc!) so as you can imagine I am in favor of trying to help to preserve the world - and its climate! I would also like to make jobs and work, by achieving a cleaner world, including it's water, air etc.

So, if I were to conduct a poll, my question might be:-
Should we make more jobs by competing in the race to end reliance on oil and coal, and work to produce clean energy?

Another person might say:-
Should we not attempt to get into making windmills, energy efficient cars and appliances and just rely on foreign manufacturers?

And yet another one - getting to be the most popular question of all:-
Do you believe the communist Obama administration, in league with Liberal Environmentalists, is trying to destroy our country with the myth of Global Warming?

So you see, we all frame the questions to get the answers we want. That is why polls get such varying answers. A poll conducted by CNN news will differ from one conducted by FOX news, one given by an environmental group will differ from one given by far right conservatives. What is the answer? I certainly don't know! Do you?

Obviously we are all biased, but how do those biases form? Are we programmed by our parents, our experiences as children, as teenagers, as adults, by our peers, by our exposure to nothing but one side - FOX news, CNN news? A life changing experience or tragedy, like a flood, a child with asthma, a religious awakening, a health ordeal? Who knows.

Having mentioned Health just there, here are a couple of points to emphasize how we are manipulated by polls or by statements that when repeated over and over become "true", even though if we spent just a few minutes thinking about them or researching them they are obviously blatantly untrue. Just as something advertised repeatedly on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines becomes "True", just by it's repetition, so do statements that if we engaged our brains for a few minutes it would be evident to us that they are untrue. I refer to such statements as, "Don't take away my health care." or "The death panels will kill off the old and sick." By repeating these silly things over and over people believe them and will defend them to the death, even though with few minutes of reflection by the average person they are obviously untrue. No such things may have ever been suggested by anyone, but by inventing them and then repeating them over and over, more and more people think that they have been proposed and are true. That is the power of suggestion, it doesn't matter how far out it is, if we want to, we will believe it. Believe me!

Monday, November 9, 2009

More "Fun" with figures.

I wonder how Americans would view the various wars we are in if we knew how much they cost us? How does this sound - if the US goes to war then Congress shall impose a "war tax", this tax would reflect the cost of the war. So, lets say the Iraq and Afghan war is costing the US $200,000,000,000 - 200 Billion dollars a year (I've seen most estimates going from $160 billion to $300 billion, so lets use $200Billion) - with about 100, 000, 000 - 100 million - families in the US that's $2,000 per family per year. Instead of taxing each family $2,000 it would have to be some kind of graduated tax, otherwise the people making say $1,000,000 a year or $30,000,000 a year would not notice it. As the average families income is probably around $50,000 a $2,000 tax on the average family would be about 4% of income. So someone making $20,000 a year would have fork out $800 a year or $16 a week , which would hurt I'm sure. Someone making $100,000 would pay $4,000 and someone making $1,000,000 would pay $40,000. This would have the effect of showing us how much our war is costing us in dollars, we already know what it is costing us in the lives and blood of our children. How do you suppose that would go down when we can see the dollars coming right out of our pockets?

Reflections . . .

. . . in The Lake. What a beautiful Autumn morning. I got up early because when I looked out of our bedroom windows at The Lake, a scene of almost etheral beauty met my eyes. The Lake was as calm as I have ever seen it in our year and a quarter here. There was a layer of very low cloud that was maybe 30 feet above The Lake to about 50 feet above The Lake, so it was like a long low misty ribbon stretching from the left side to the right side of The Lake. At the right side there was also a hillock of cloud. It was incredible. I got up quietly and taking my camera went out to get some pictures. The Lake was so still that after I had taken the pictures I literally could not tell which way was up! Except that a couple of the pictures had a floating log in them and of course although The Lake was reflecting the sky he sky was not reflecting The Lake, so I knew that the side with the logs was The Lake! There were no signs of any birds, just me and The Lake and the magical cloud - which soon dispersed. The cool early morning makes the water of The Lake very clear and I was able to see the bottom and even the fish easily. I grabbed a rod that I keep on the pier and with the addition of a nice fat worm was able to pull in a big curious Yellow Perch. He, yes it was a he, will make a nice addition to the three fish that I caught over the last couple of days, for our dinner tonight. Ah, what could be more perfect, a beautiful Lake, with beautiful fish, cooked by my beautiful wife. I think I may be in heaven.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The eleventh hour . . .

Today is the day that they lay the wreaths to honor the dead of the First World War. The war ended of course on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. "The War to End All Wars."! Don't we wish! On that happy note, I'll end this sad post.

Lake Update.

We looked out at The Lake yesterday and saw two birds diving out in the middle. After watching for a few minutes two more appeared. At first we thought that they were Cormorants, but Julia, who has better long distance vision than I do, wasn't sure. Out came the binoculars and sure enough, they were some kind of duck. They had crests and white faces, but as I was unable to find the bird book I could not look them up. If anyone has any ideas about them let us know. When I find the book, I'll post their ID here.
Later on as I was checking my fishing rods the two Swans came up to the pier, they have been only occasional visitors to The Lake lately. We are hoping that they will be here for the winter as they were last year.
Most of the leaves are off of the trees on the far side of The Lake, but the trees on this side still seem to have quite a few left. I wonder why that is? They are the same kind of trees.