OK Boomer

Population keeps on breeding
Nation bleeding, still more feeding economy
Life is funny, sky is sunny
Bees make honey, who needs money, monopoly
I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll leave it up to you

Ten Years After

I ran across the retort OK Boomer in a podcast once. I’ve since forgotten which one it was. I’d never heard it applied to anyone until Jim confessed to his cardinal sin on Facebook. It fits perfectly. Sadly, it fits all too well when describing our current state of affairs and the despicable hand-waving that the I’ve got mine, get yours set engages in almost daily. Hand-waving designed to deflect any attachment of fault to their ill-gotten gains. I’ve done the best that I can to make the world a better place over my lifetime, and that time ain’t over yet. It ain’t over for the Boomers as a group, either. All they have to do is stand up and be the best people they can be, rather than allow the narcissists and their defenders to be the voice of their generation. If we leave it up to the millennials to fix our shit, we deserve to be disrespected with the phrase OK Boomer.

Ten Years After – I’d Love to Change the World

You want respect from the next generation? Well, then you should have left the planet in better shape than you found it. Simple as that. And we didn’t.

Stonekettle Station

I, of course, was accosted with OK Boomer as a response to my observations. Too bad I’m not a Boomer.

Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z Explained

Generational cohorts are defined (loosely) by birth year as the article goes into in depth. One might think that because my birth year is before 1964 that I would be considered a boomer. The Wife, who was born a few months after me, identifies as a boomer. I’m not a Boomer in any sense of the term other than birth year. I am Generation X. Solidly Generation X.

How is that? Like so many things boomers (and other average humans) believe, generational cohorts is just another thing that they have wrong, if they think that what makes up a generation is absolutely defined by the year of birth. The reason why you can’t set years and dates to separate generations is because the influences that make up the generation vary from household to household and from town to farm to city. I was the child of parents born after the start of World War II. My parents were born during the war, making them both too young to be boomers but too old to be counted as part of the Greatest Generation. I was the elder of a large family, all younger than me, so their influences were largely my influences.

The Wife was the only child of parents who fought in World War II. Her parents were of the Greatest Generation. She is a Boomer in every sense of the word, in every way the Boomer cohort is measured. Her parents stayed married, my parents divorced. Etcetera, etc, etc. You can go down the list. Everything aside from year of birth makes me a member of Generation X. I really don’t like Boomers, aside from the Wife and other RL friends. Too many self-important assholes in that group.

…aside from which, I own an electric car, I compost and recycle, and I’ve been recycling since the 70’s. I’m poor and I admit it. The OK Boomer retort does not apply to me. But thanks for thinking of me anyway.

Carrying It Out With You

facebook.com/Stonekettle

twitter.com/schwellenbach

I never stopped being a Boy Scout, myself. When I pack stuff in, that same stuff comes back out with me. Why? Because it is my mess and I clean up my messes. This is the way I live my life.

We recently were in Illinois helping family with a crisis in the making (it’s still in the making, but it may be averted soon) we stayed for a week in a hotel. During our stay, I separated the garbage for the maids into plastic, food waste, etc. They were like “oh, we don’t do recycling”. I still seperated the trash anyway. Why? Because pointing out a deficiency in a status quo is how you get the status quo changed. Every day we spoke to them they apologized for not doing recycling there. With any luck the word got back to a manager and maybe, one day, they’ll take waste management seriously. I’m a dreamer like that.

At least I did something instead of doing nothing. I don’t go to national parks. I don’t spend much time outside because everything that grows is trying to kill me. I am the poster child for a moon colonist. “No green growies? I’m good with that.” I don’t believe in trash. I don’t believe that you can just discard things and they disappear. In a closed system, waste builds up. This is why we have such a hard time establishing self-sustaining ecologies like the habitations we will need for a moon colony.

Waste byproducts limit the time the habitation is viable. That is why a bottle of wine or a bottle of beer gets to about 6% alcohol. Alcohol is the waste product of the yeast on the skins of grapes. The yeast added to the vats of barley malt used to make beer. 6% waste built up in the closed system of vats or bottles and the yeast dies. It dies and we get a beverage that alters our brain chemistry. It also happens to be sterile when prepared properly, the real reason most of our ancestors were drunk pretty much every day of their lives. Water straight out of the river might well kill you in days because of the animal and human waste in it.

Think about what that means. Think about the trash now piling up all over the planet, not just in the parks that currently have no maintenance staff. The trash everywhere that we so casually throw away every, single, day. It’s a feature of human habitation that archeologists find quite useful. The mounds of discarded refuse outside of every place we’ve ever lived in large groups. We now have how many billions? Is it still eight? How long can we little yeast organisms shit out our waste and leave it laying around on every surface near us before we kill the closed system we call Earth?

Pro-labor? I’m pro-future, myself.

This Trump shutdown (#ImpeachTrump for failure to execute his duties. His duties? Keep the government running) presents an opportunity. Concerned citizens who do use the parks regularly should form an organization that tasks itself with protecting the parklands. A charitable organization whose sole duty is to make sure that public lands are protected, even when the government itself is the organization that is destroying the parks. If the Boy Scouts were the organization that they were when I was teen in the scouts, this would be a project they would eagerly take up. It’s too bad those scouts are long gone.

Postscript

This was written during that time when President Trump refused to do his job for a month and sat on the White House lawn sulking like a child. They finally impeached him at the end of the year, but failed to mention the fact that he just wouldn’t do his job for a month. Most likely, they failed to mention that he was derelict in his duties because some of them had been derelict in their duties for a few decades by that point.

I had just been surrounded by Trumpists in rural Illinois, as I tangentially mentioned. Trumpists that I agreed to help because I was related to them and cared about them in spite of their horrible choice in leaders.

That whole episode is something I’d like to block from my memory now. The months spent working on renovation plans all for nothing. The contractor we found rejected because he was one of those pedophile Democrats that couldn’t be trusted. The renovation work done by a local cabinet maker that my relatives loved for some inexplicable reason. I don’t even know that he knew how to pour concrete properly, but they liked his dysfunctional layouts better than mine. I imagine that they still can’t find a place for furniture in that bedroom.

I don’t know why I wrote this piece on Facebook and not on the blog. It’s on the blog now. Featured image from Fast Company – Government Shutdown Update Americas Once-Beautiful National Parks Are Overrun With Trash. They borrowed it from Twitter, in case you didn’t notice.

Virtue Signaling

There is a whole range of personalities under the labels social justice warrior (SJW) and this new thing I’ve never heard of before (no bullshit) it runs the gamut from people who mean well in their intentions to do good to special little snowflakes who cant handle controversy. For example, I loathe people who flaunt their greenness by telling me they drive a Prius. A Prius is just not a very good car. I’ve driven one, I have friends that own them. I don’t like them. They are underpowered and overhyped. If you want to be green, really green, get an electric car and put solar panels on your house roof to charge it. Then you are green as in “minimizing your carbon footprint.” Then you really are virtuous and not just a virtue signaler.

In a similar vein. there are tons (tons!) of SJW’s who think it is their place to defend the poor minorities who’ve been targeted by mean white people, and in the process of defending them they get in the way of perfectly good arguments by members of the group being targeted. I’m happy to be a member of that choir. I will shout amen to the rafters in response to what minorities or other targeted groups might say in their defense. What I won’t do is play the role of great white savior wallowing in my white guilt.

I have nothing to feel guilty for. I’ve never claimed whiteness, for starters. I’d happily let Tejanos run Texas if they stood up and voted like the near-majority they are. I was recycling 30 years ago when I had to drag my damn aluminum cans to the recycler myself in order to do it. I’ve been waiting on electric cars to come into my price range and bought one last year when it was the cheapest car I could find. I’m doing my bit. Can’t ask anything else of me. Please do not attempt to shame me into doing more. You’ll just get on my bad side.

Facebook.


Editor’s note, 2019 – Total miscue on my part. Also? Cringe-worthy moment at only two years distance. I think that is a new record for me. Not that I have any less contempt for virtue signalers. It’s just that most people aren’t so forward about admitting they are assholes. My one and only time using snowflake in this fashion.

…and for that, I apologize. Still waiting for Tejanos to take over Texas. It’s what Texas deserves.

Common Sense 120 – the Environment again.

Common Sense 120 gets two posts. Mukasey’s Paradox deals with the first half of the show. This one is about the second half. Dan Carlin continues to talk about global warming, even though polls have shown that Global Warming now world’s most boring topic.

Seriously, I’ve gotten back into my forum addiction of late, and they’ve been beating the dead horse of environmentalism over at Dan Carlin’s forum for quite awhile now.

The news article that inspired show 120’s second half (the source of which Dan won’t reveal) sounds like it was written by the average socialist turned environmentalist. Anyone who can use the phrase culture of growth as a negative is someone whose opinions can be discarded. Sorry, that’s how I feel.

In Dan’s defense, he doesn’t buy into this article either. In fact, the tough question is really about global warming supplanting the real environmental concerns of the average citizen. Cleaner water, cleaner air. Out of control consumption. Let’s deal with the problems we can handle, hope that we won’t have to give up our freedom in order to save the planet. Which is what the promoters of combating global warming are really asking for.


Some examples of the arguments I’ve been in lately.

Anyway, just becasue all of these things are true, I don’t understand why this means we shouldn’t begin changes in our society to lower GHG emmissions. Not only do these contribute to climate change, but they also affect health, air quality, and visibility.

Because there isn’t any way to do it with current technologies without top down command and control type scenarios. If you take all the cars off the roadway and force everybody onto buses, the impact on pollution would not be that significant. Studies have show (in Austin, anyway) that it’s not vehicle exhaust that causes the majority of pollution these days, it’s businesses (that gets back to the EPA and the disconnection that was put in place to keep people from being able to sue polluters directly) which are given license to do so. These studies don’t stop the EPA from requiring expensive vehicle inspections, all the same. There is already too much command and control, and it’s not working.

If new technologies emerge (and if gas prices continue to climb, they will) that produce cleaner burning fuels, or transportation options that are superior (read as more convenient) for the individual, then the GHG problem becomes a moot issue. Any attempt to reduce GHG (as the study shows) with current technologies will not yield a net benefit. The developing nations are always excluded from these plans, and the majority of new emissions are going to come from those countries.

We are at a crossroads, just as civilization was at a crossroads in the late 1800’s, when whale oil drove industry, and consumption projections showed that there weren’t enough whales to provide the oil to sustain growth. Some people ran around screaming about the end of the world, proposing scenarios of doom and gloom for the world’s future. Other people went out and developed crude oil as a replacement.

Put me in the latter camp this time around as well.

RAnt(hony)-ings


One of the threads dealt with a news piece over at Fox News. I would have disregarded it, but it’s by an author that I respect that I first ran across at CATO.

And then you get these sorts of responses:

Scientific American has an excellent article entitled “The Physics of Climate Change” published about a year ago.

One way of viewing the AGW debate is to treat the problem of cost like buying insurance. If we’re incorrect about AGW and all the carbon we are dumping into the atmosphere doesn’t act as a blanket the way the laws of physics have demonstrated it does, we’ve bought insurance we haven’t used. If however, CO2 and other greenhouse gases block reflected infrared light, as is almost certainly happening, we’ll be very relieved to have stated mitigation earlier. Ounces and prevention, you know.

…except that we can never afford the cost of the insurance required. That is the point Lott is actually echoing (rather than the title of the thread) which is the main argument in Goklany’s paper. That even if global warming is occurring (which isn’t proven) and even if humans are causing AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming, which also isn’t proven) that we can’t know for certain that a fractional rise in temperature isn’t a good thing (and we don’t) and that we can’t make the kind of impact that the laymen thinks we can simply by passing laws and sacrificing comfort. That negating human impact on the climate is a pipe dream.

No one is talking about stopping innovation and not having cleaner air, water, whatever. There are too many armchair environmentalists out there who are willing to pay extra for the knowledge that they aren’t hurting the environment. Innovation in these areas will occur anyway. What Lott and Goklany are saying (and I agree with) is that let’s get the best return on investment, let’s only pay for the insurance we need, rather than bankrupt society trying to return the world to a natural state that never existed in the first place, which is the goal of the hardcore environmentalists.

Lott at CATO: http://www.cato.org/event.php?eventid=3996
Indur Goklany’s policy paper What to Do about Climate Change, also at CATO. These are the pieces that need to be argued against, if you are going to argue. …and businesses are innovating all the time trying to catch that elusive environmentalist dollar.

REI, anybody? How about Whole Foods? What about the fact that you can’t find a carpet, flooring or paint manufacturer these days who doesn’t push their recycled low-VOC minimal environmental impact products? Businesses follow the dollar, and the average dollar is green.


Plants indeed use carbon dioxide, but the flaw to your point is deforestation.


Here are some study findings contradicting that doom and gloom argument.

Demand for wood may lead to forest growth, not decline, study says

Increased demand for forest products was a cause of increased forest cover in India during the last three decades, according to a joint study by researchers at Brown and Harvard University in the May 2003 Quarterly Journal of Economics. The finding contradicts the idea that economic development inevitably leads to deforestation.

Brown University

When I was growing up, we burned our garbage in an ash can in the back yard. The city would come by once a month to collect the ashes and metal, and dump it in a big hole just outside of town. We would go out there with our .22 rifles on occasion and shoot rats. No one ever checked their gas mileage (other than to guess when they’d need to fill up again) and emission controls were unheard of, as were seat belts.

I was a poster child of environmentalism not long after that. Recycling cans and bottles, recycling paper (which has largely proven to be a wasted effort. Paper recycling has a negative impact on the environment) I was chewed out by more than one person at my first office for being too militant about recycling.

Then the government got involved, and the socialists (or statists if you prefer) saw an inroad for their recently discredited political movement, and shifted their focus to pushing for environmental concerns, needing more government to fix the environmental problems.

Global Warming is a socialist’s wet dream, because there is no way to fix it without handing all control over to the state, and relying on the elite to tell us what we can and can’t do. Carbon footprints and consumption monitoring. I’ve refused to call myself an environmentalist since then.

If the only choice I have is between my choice and no choice, I’ll take my choice and the possible end of the world as we know it, for a thousand, Alex.


Editor’s note, 2019. I am one insufferable smartass when I think I’m right. Quips and jargon all over the place. Also? The crafting of this post exposes my earlier lack of understanding for how context relates meaning and why I need to construct longer narratives to explain concepts that aren’t included in short little soundbites. The kind of soundbites that my early writing is littered with. I have no idea what was in the various threads that I was writing rebuttals for now, and I don’t care enough to go dig up what they were because I was so seriously wrong in my arguments at the time.

…and I was completely wrong about AGW and climate change. Another Bowl of Crow that I’m working through.

RAnt(hony)-ings

The greening effect of historically unprecedented levels of CO2 does answer the objection about deforestation in more solid and in some ways frightening detail than the study that says demand for paper will spur on more tree planting. Trees growing faster raises some disturbing problems for trees and the people who live around them, as well as making reforestation something that can happen at a faster rate. I still reject the doom and gloom, but the margin for rejecting it is getting smaller.

Peak Oil

I scared a member off of Liberty List (a Yahoo!Group I once moderated) today by posting the following in response to his query,

What do you think of Peak Oil?

If such a thing did occur (sudden collapse of the economy due to lack of oil) there wouldn’t be much left that is worth living for, much less investing in. Thankfully, there are replacements for natural oil that are making headway in the marketplace. Biodiesel is one example. 

When I first stumbled across the doom and gloom mantra being preached by modern ‘environmentalists’ (I was recycling when recycling wasn’t cool, BTW. I don’t think much of today’s crop) I did some research into the subject of shortages and what has happened through history when they occurred. 

The one that seemed most similar was the period when we shifted from whale oil to crude oil (the IMHO misnomered ‘fossil fuel’) there were similar predictions of doom and gloom, none of which came to pass because the markets simply shifted to crude oil.
I was unable to track down the articles I originally referenced for these facts, they have been covered up by thousands of repetitive articles on ‘Peak Oil’. That fact says more than any number of historical links. It’s the ‘in’ idea of the moment, and that’s all they are talking about. But it isn’t convincing to me.

To quote Steven Levitt:

What most of these doomsday scenarios have gotten wrong is the fundamental idea of economics: people respond to incentives. If the price of a good goes up, people demand less of it, the companies that make it figure out how to make more of it, and everyone tries to figure out how to produce substitutes for it. Add to that the march of technological innovation (like the green revolution, birth control, etc.). The end result: markets figure out how to deal with problems of supply and demand.

Freakonomics: “Peak Oil”:Welcome to the Media’s New Version of Shark Attacks

This observation sums it all up for me. I just don’t have time to contemplate end of the world scenarios, I guess. And the guy bailed on the whole group after I posted that. Do you think I was coming on too strong?

Postscript

Query answered. No, I was not coming on too strong. People want to believe that fantasies can occur in the real world:

…and it is someone’s task to relieve them of this misunderstanding. It might as well be me.