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Monthly archive

March 2019

Polluted Oceans, Dead Dolphins

in The Life Slant by

*Around the globe, the dolphins are showing scientists that the planet has become unlivable. Dolphin deaths are piling up.

The economics of extinction is quickly driving bluefin tunas off the planet. Individual fish sell for $3.1M.  Image credit: CNN

Globally, 44,000 floating slaughterhouses are marauding the oceans 24/7/365. Measuring a total of 13 million miles, with a couple of billion legal and illegal hooks, they are wiping, tunas, sharks, rays, sea turtles, cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), sea birds and so many other masterpieces off the planet at an unprecedented rate. Keep Reading

College Cash Calamity

in The Life Slant/The Money Slant by

*As the French say: “Those that profit from crime are guilty of it.” Your parents slid $50k to a university official and got you in to the college of your dreams. Some of the parents had people doctor their children’s SAT tests so that the higher score would smooth their way to getting into an elite college.  One of the “internet sensation” applicants spoke of the excitement of “game days” and “parties” and, for some strange reason, never mentioned long hours in the library researching hypnotic age regression, poring over financial reports to find the best company for which to write a paper, or going to the math lab for help with calculus.

Ah, college, all of the great memories; not having money, driving and older car hoping it doesn’t break down, lack of sleep, staying up late for tests the next day, the pressure of exam week, and all for the reward of letters and emails of rejection. They’re glad you got that degree, not that it means anything to them, mind you. Well worth it. Keep Reading

A Billion Painted Ladies Dancing Across Southern California

in The Life Slant by

*This week, Nature’s pageantry afforded Angelenos and others a rare and glorious spectacle. A cool wet winter has unleashed a super floral bloom and along with this magnificence came the throngs of painted lady butterflies.

California’s state flower is a gorgeous poppy Image credit: Reese Halter

From San Diego to Camarillo, these splendid butterflies danced across the sky. An estimated billion painted ladies brought smiles to millions of people, helping to officially usher the kaleidoscope of spring colors. Keep Reading

Tea Time – Republican Resurgence

in The Political Slant by

*In early summer of 2010, coming off a DC Metro line at the US Capitol stop, I found myself walking among a dozen or so people, all of us on our way toward a Tea Party Event being held on the Capitol Lawn.  There was a palpable feel to our walk and talk, very nice, and within minutes we rounded a corner to the sight of tens of thousands of people, tens of thousands of American citizens peaceably assembling to address their grievances, like, say, out of control spending and runaway debt.  You know, “generational theft”, and all.

republican resurgence

A few of the guys yelled, loud, “YEAH!”, and couldn’t help but start running a little.  There were beaming smiles all around as we headed on down to join the massive gathering.  We looked forward, of course, to all the speeches, to the camaraderie, and to taking on a president who’d actually started his political career in the home of a terrorist who bombed US targets, including that Capitol Dome on our right.  “How on earth could any politician working in that building be perfectly okay with a president who was so friendly with a man who once bombed it?”, asked one of the men among us.

We slowly shook our heads. 

There is simply no sane answer to that question. Keep Reading

Automation’s Animus Against the Affluent

in Money/The Money Slant by

*It has come to pass, that AI (Artificial Intelligence) and robotics (the word robot comes from the Russian language, meaning work) are moving ahead as fast as they can be built. AI and robotics are inseparable, presenting a one-two punch to anyone who gets in its way, or, in the way of the people who are creating it.

AI, robotics, the internet and the global economy, a synergistic economy-changing juggernaut, have made things very good for some and quite painful for others. As the unions in the U.S. declined, the wages of the non-union employees fell, as when there were unions they lifted all wages as workers tried to get a job at the union shop and the non-union employers had to compete with employers paying union wages. Why couldn’t the unions embrace the internet? Why couldn’t the unions organize around programmers and coders?

Unions couldn’t get the attention of programmers, systems analysts, and the like, because the demand was so high that wages skyrocketed, and there weren’t many companies abusing programmers for every long, because they would just be poached by another organization where the grass was greener; their gourmet  lunch could be ordered and prepared in-house and they made, median salary, $175,000 per year at Google or $240,000 at Facebook. (Those numbers might be dated, as supplied by The Wall Street Journal some time ago.)

Keep Reading

Trump Throws Wolves Under Bus

in The Life Slant by

*This week, the Department of the Interior, led by acting secretary David Bernhardt, announced plans to delist wolves from the Endangered Species Act across America. A small exception of 114 critically endangered Mexican wolves of Arizona and New Mexico could be spared.

Alpha male (712) of the Canyon pack in the Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park. Image credit: Jim Peaco/National Park Service

In the early 1970s, masterpiece grey wolves were hunted to near extinction, a horrifying non-stop bloodbath. Keep Reading

Secrets of Bees and Flowers

in The Life Slant by

*People and honeybees share many similarities including some of the same genes and brain neurons. It’s one of the many reasons why I am awed by these masterpiece creatures.

For my entire professional life, I have followed Senegalese conservationist Baba Dioum’s dictum: “In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught.”

honeybees
Honeybees can add, subtract and count. Image credit: Nat Geo

The more we discover about the incomparable honeybees, the more respect they rightfully garner. Keep Reading

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