Friday, August 12, 2011

The Perseid Meteor Shower.

The Perseid Meteor Shower is due tonight. Let me ask you, have you ever seen one? We are told this year, as we are told every year that if we sit and look to the north east we should see about one meteor a minute. Well I just sat on my porch for 30 minutes, it is a clear night with no clouds at all so the viewing is almost perfect, although there is a full moon, but I saw exactly none. Not only that, I have been going out and sitting in the dark every year for the last 20 or 30 years, on that special night that we are passing through the meteor shower, and I have yet to see even one. Some years of course it has been cloudy, so I expect to see none then. But other years it is partially cloudy, or even clear as it is tonight, but never have I seen even one. I will go out again and look before going to bed - it is 9.40pm now, and if I wake during the night, which I invariably do, I will go out and look.
I'll let you know tomorrow if I see one.
I did see a big meteor one night when driving up through the Michigan penninsula into Canada. It crossed the sky, very low and directly across the road in front of us. I was not driving or I would have stopped and maybe even looked to see where it had landed. Larry's stepfather Ralph was driving and barely seemed to notice it.

Climate change?

Is there climate change? I don't think there are too many people that doubt this now - with the possible exception of some of the more extreme right wingers, such as Rush Limburgh and his ilk.

One of the main problems seems to be the drop in food production that is expected. A frequently used figure is a 10% drop in grain production for every 1 degree rise in temperature. Russia experienced a 40 % drop in their grain production last year during their big heatwave. The USA is experiencing a drop in grain production in spite of farmers ramping up their production efforts. Even after putting more land than ever into production yields are falling.

A bigger problem even than the higher temperatures is water. Water tables the world over, and especially in the US, are falling, due to overpumping. If farmers can't get enough water, they can't grow more food. One ton of grain requires 1,000 tons of water! Where do you get that kind of water supply? One way is to import the grain - if you import a ton of grain that is the same as getting 1,000 tons of water!

Unfortunately the US is not in the business of buying grain, we grow it, so we need the water to do that. And in doing that and exporting grain to other nations throughout the world we are destroying our own water supplies.

Our rivers are drying up, our cities are running short, and our aquifers are dropping, fast.

Solutions anyone?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Another National Debt comment.

It seems that some people are surprised by S&P's downgrading of the US debt rating. Words like "It came so quickly" etc. The fact is that S&P has been warning the US for at least the last 6 years! But we took no notice at all.

Now think for a minute here, would YOU loan money to someone who acted like Uncle Sam? Just think about the antics of these clowns in Congress over the last few weeks and months. You have an outright refusal by one side - The Republicans - to negotiate at all. You have dozens of supposedly intelligent Congressmen, and women, saying "No problem, let the country reneg on its debts."! If that is not scary to an investor I don't know what is. Here we have a bunch of men and women who openly advocate not paying the countries debt. These are people voted in to help the country, and instead they are prepared to destroy the countries rating in the eyes of the whole world. Quite frankly I am surprised that the rating was not dropped more. After all there is a distinct possibility that more of these Tea Baggers could get in and have their way even more than they managed to do this time. They could say, "To hell with our bond rating or any other rating, we are not going to pay anyone back." This could create a problem! These simpletons think that it is more important to avoid any new taxes, now or ever, than for the USA to pay its bills.

I would like to point out here that taxes in the US are lower now, under Obama, than they have been at any time, under any President, for at least the last 60 years! That is for individuals, especially the wealthiest, and for Corporations. Yes he HAS lowered taxes several times since he came into office - in spite of what some would have you believe.

President Obama, a Democrat, or so he says, you could have fooled me, makes concession after concession to the Republicans, who make none at all, until finally he gives in completely and accedes to all of the Republicans demands. To John Boehner's "I got 98% of everything I asked for." I would say - what was the 2% he didn't get? Did he ask Obama to bring him a cup of coffee? And Obabma forgot - or didn't put enough sugar in it?

There have been rumors flying around that Obama is a secret Kenyan, or a secret Muslim, or a secret Socialist, but it turns out that he is in fact a secret Republican!