Category Archives: environment

Today’s Interesting Stuff

Speecy Spiicy, Hotsy Totsy

American parents tend to feed their children bland foods to avoid potential allergies or just because that’s what Dr Spock or the latest parenting magazine told them. Easy on the stomach, and the poop ain’t so bad.

Parents in other countries tend to feed their infants whatever they are having, and their children experience the full gamut of cultural flavors from very early ages.

And yes, I’m advocating for American parents to be more like foreign parents. Look out the windows, there be pigs in the air!

First, bland doesn’t necessary mean easier for the stomach. Take ginger, for instance. A very sharp and strong flavor, nobody would call it bland. But is the natural and effective remedy for upset stomachs? Ginger. No citations here, just try this: Purchase a bottle of Reed’s Ginger Brew. If you can handle the Extra Strength, get that. Then fast, and when your stomach is most uncomfortable, usually just after the normal time for the next meal, drink the Reed’s. Instant stomach relief.

Second, you’re limiting your child’s future ability to eat and enjoy wide varieties of food, including many foods you and I take for granted.

This article chronicles the embarrassment, the worries, the challenges of being an adult picky eater. One telling comment?

Amber Scott, of Enon, Ohio, has eaten only about 10 different foods since she was 3 years old.

Not that exposing your children, when young, to significant varieties of food will totally preclude such problems, but they would take a significant bite out of them.

The Office

Empty office space keeps rising. This is not a good sign for the economy that is on the mend, according to certain people whose grand plans are fully in swing here. Corporations are using less and less office space, which means they aren’t hiring.

The really scary part?

Job growth and office-space use are closely intertwined. While some major users of offices, such as federal regulatory agencies, have been expanding, big banks and corporations have lagged behind in increasing their real-estate footprint, according to some analysts. That is a sign that these larger companies have been slow to return to their pre-recession staffing levels, a contributing factor to the persistently high U.S. unemployment rate.

Yea, that’s a sure sign of a growing and recovering economy. Regulators are gearing up for more business. Only one problem, regulators business is to keep real businesses out of business.

My Buddy Hugo

The ones really benefiting from the drilling moratorium? National oil companies. That means President Obama’s marxist buddy Hugo Chavez is loving us right now. Was this a quid pro quo? Or was it yet another unintended consequence of a short sighted and dishonestly supported policy? I’d say the latter, but wouldn’t be too surprised at the former.

Oh, and this would be the same Venezuela that just stole oil rigs from US corporations and we heard nary a peep in protest for this thuggish thievery from the government that is supposed to be supporting US interests abroad.

Muhammed In Space

Perhaps a new round of “Let’s Draw Muhammed” is in order. It would probably improve our chances of NASA actually being less irrelevant than it already is going forward.

NASA has apparently been ordered to reach out to Muslim nations in an effort to improve goodwill. And NASA is the right agency for this why?

Former NASA director Michael Griffin says sympathetic nations will be drawn to us when NASA succeeds at great things, not when they’re given an inflatable space shuttle and commemorative plaque.

Griffin said Tuesday that collaboration with other countries, including Muslim nations, is welcome and should be encouraged — but that it would be a mistake to prioritize that over NASA’s “fundamental mission” of space exploration.

“If by doing great things, people are inspired, well then that’s wonderful,” Griffin said. “If you get it in the wrong order … it becomes an empty shell.”

Griffin added: “That is exactly what is in danger of happening.”

And the coup de’ etat?

He also said that while welcome, Muslim-nation cooperation is not vital for U.S. advancements in space exploration.

“There is no technology they have that we need,” Griffin said.

Once again, why is it NASA’s job to reach out to any nation?

I’d draw Muhammed in space alongside the Muppets.

Just A Reminder

Some people still claim that Liberals are the bigger and better givers, both of time and money. They’re wrong. Badly wrong.

People who said they were “very conservative” gave 4.5% of their income to charity, on average; “conservatives” gave 3.6%; “moderates” gave 3%; “liberals” gave 1.5%; and “very liberal” folks gave 1.2%.

And this cannot be explained by religious versus secular giving:

The 2008 data tell us that secular conservatives are now outperforming their secular liberal counterparts. Compare two people who attend religious services less than once per year (or never) and who are also identical in terms of income, education, sex, age and family status — but one is on the political right while the other is on the left. The secular liberal will give, on average, $1,100 less to charity per year than the secular conservative. The conservative charity edge cannot be explained away by gifts to churches.

Or by giving of time versus giving of money:

Q. Monetary giving doesn’t tell us much about total charity, does it? People who don’t give money probably tend to give in other ways instead, right?
A. Wrong. First of all, there is a bright line between people who give and people who don’t give. People who do give time and money tend to give a lot of it. According to the Center on Philanthropy, the percentage of givers donating less than $50 to charity in 2000 was the same as the percentage giving more than $5,000. Similarly, the same percentage of people who only volunteered once volunteered on 36 or more occasions in 2000.

Second, people who give away their time and money to established charities are far more likely than non-givers to act generously in informal ways as well. For example, one nationwide survey from 2002 tells us that monetary donors are nearly three times as likely as non-donors to give money informally to friends and strangers. People who give to charity at least once per year are twice as likely to donate blood as people who don’t give money. They are also significantly more likely to give food or money to a homeless person, or to give up their seat to someone on a bus.

And it is not offset by political giving either:

Perhaps you suspect that the vast political contributions given to the Obama campaign — $742 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, versus $367 million for the McCain campaign — were crowding out charitable giving by the left. But political donations, impressive as they were this year by historical standards, were still miniscule compared to the approximately $300 billion Americans gave charitably in 2008. Adding political and charitable gifts together would not change the overall giving patterns.

Conservatives continue giving more in economically difficult times, decreasing their giving by less than their liberal counterparts:

Economists measure the “income elasticity of giving” to predict how much people change their giving in response to a particular percentage change in their income. It turns out the response in 2008 was dramatically different for left and right. For instance, a 10% decrease in family income for a conservative was associated with a 10% decrease in giving. The same income decrease for a liberal family led to a 16% giving drop. In other words, if this relationship continues to hold, the recession will almost certainly exacerbate the giving differences between left and right.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding: Modern liberal ideas are selfish ideas.

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It Pays To Lie

Rajendra K. Pachauri

Or was it “I lie to get paid”?

The U.N. climate chief presided over a report which has been used to justify huge increases in U.N. spending on certain pet projects of the climate lobby which has been found to be, um, faulty.

The factual inaccuracies were found prior to the climate change conferences which were full of attempts to globalize governments, spend more money on pet projects, and various other things, and yet they were not corrected or retracted before the conference.

So now, understandably, there are calls for this scientist-cum-bad liar/opportunist (hey, sounds like the majority of people calling for more government control in the name of global cooling, or was that warming?) to step down, and he won’t.

Because there are no external moral forces compelling him to act morally, his own power and desires are his only guiding light.

So we strip his power and/or shame him.

Oh, did I mention the climate panel Rajendra heads won a Nobel Prize for that lie report?

Chipotle And The Beneficent Free Market

This is a slight commentary on Chipotle (the restaurant chain) and how it symbolizes the significant superiority of the free market economy and accompanying extreme wealth and their many benefits to the world at large.

Have you eaten at Chipotle? If not, you should.

It’s not really Mexican food, per se.

It’s more like Starbucks does Mexican food. We all know Starbucks isn’t really coffee, but it’s still really good and we’re willing to pay a lot for it.

Chipotle uses fresh ingredients and a limited number of choices in an efficient and modern atmosphere to serve quality food at reasonable prices.

Kinda like Henry Ford: You can get anything you want at Chipotle, so long as it’s a burrito (not completely true, but I’m suffering under a plethora of metaphors and similes today. Sorry).

Anyway, it’s good. I like it. My wife does too. And lots of other people too.

Chipotle uses it’s efficiency structure, derived from it’s owner, McDonalds Corp’s,  excellent experience at high-volume, low-cost supply-chain infrastructure management to maintain significant profits while maintaining reasonable prices.

Unless they were making tons of money from us eager eaters, Chipotle would not be able to be such a force for good so far as the environment is concerned.

Chipotle uses it’s leverage with it’s sour cream supplier, Daisy, to make sure the cows that give their milk to the Chipotle sour cream cause are not fed any hormones of any type. A non-hormone injected cow will not produce anywhere near the same amount of milk as one who is kept hormone-high. Which means that the “cleaner” milk costs more. If Chipotle were not making tons of money, it could not afford to reqire this better milk.

I probably couldn’t taste the difference between hormonal sour cream and non-hormonal sour cream, but I’m happy to be enjoying stuff that doesn’t  cause so much trouble to the cow.

Chipotle’s beef, pork, and chicken likewise come from free-range animals not injected or force-fed. This means the amount of usable meat from each animal is much less than ones that are artificially “enhanced”, lowering the profit and raising the cost of each animal.

All because I pay 5.35 for my loaded steak burrito, all these animals are able to enjoy better lives and provide me with my enjoyment in a more natural, healthful way.

Could an eatery in a poor nation support the same level of “sustainable” resource management?

It’s not that we can compel them to behave in a certain way. If the way they raise their cows raises the costs beyond what their economy can support, they’ll starve.

In a hierarchy of needs, basic human needs come before animal comfort. If feeding the cows in destitute South American and African nations means the people will be able to afford beneficial red meat while saving more money so their sons and daughters can attend school, that’s a trade worthwhile.

As their education level rises, their production will speed, efficiency will rise, and the average wealth of their economy will increase until they can afford places like Chipotle and the less efficient, but more friendly methods of production.

So don’t hate the economy, your wealth and ease, or the rampant consumerism that drives much of our lives these days. It’s not all good, but it’s far from all bad. Americans give and give and give more, by orders of magnitude, than anywhere else on the planet. We produce more per unit of labor, and we own more per person than anywhere else, and it leads to a continued cycle of growth and giving.

By working hard and excercising a responsible or even an irresponsible level of gratitude to God for His beneficence to us in giving to those without, we cause more good.

God did not punish the men who used their business acumen to double His granted funds, neither will He begrudge you trying hard, with ethics and moral behavior, to maximize your economic potential.

Now go and sin no more. And eat at Chipotle.