Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Get Organized, America

Perusing a few of my favorite websites and feeds for a worthy topic, I came across Just a Girl in Short Shorts Talking About Whatever - Fed Throws Up Hands & Wall Street Runs. In response I originally intended to leave a comment, but as usual I got carried away in my writing and decided it was becoming too long to just be a comment.

What my thoughts centralized around was that so few people even know what's going on outside the sphere of their own personal lives. I've been out of high school for half over two years and I'm starting to realize that this "world" or "society" that we all talked about in class was not quite the same as discussing Les Miserable or, unbearably boring as it was, The Scarlet Letter. No, this world around me has come into focus a substantial amount recently. Now, especially as the elections near and I actually take part in selecting a candidate to throw all of my support to (Ron Paul), I realize that what we need to do is maybe "cater" a little bit to people like my former self by taking part in the effort to spread truth and information in such a way that most people can come to understand.

People allow themselves to be blinded to things around them in favor of living out their own lives in ignorant bliss, or say they have too many problems in their own life to worry about it. Either way, it's irresponsible because it's enabling some pretty horrible things to come to be that our descendants will have to deal with. Though the economy is considered a pressing issue for this coming election, nobody really cares to talk about it. They'd rather watch news about celebrity gossip and tips for a healthier lifestyle that they're never going to follow. Never mind the fact that our economy is running out of anything useful to produce. Instead of some major export that does anybody any good, 70% of our economy is run by people buying lots of "toys" and other useless junk. Where does that leave us when the economy crashes? When jobs are scarce and pay cuts incurred around the nation, who's going to buy all of this garbage?

Many people realize that an out-sourced factory means that there are fewer jobs here in America. They may even take into account that this means we are sending these foreigners our money as well to provide the labor. What they don't realize is that every product we stop making here contributes to the increasing possibility that the US just might not last forever. When the economy's down and nobody's out spending the money we need to support our own country, what will we have to recover? If we had some major exports being made here, some products that were actually MANUFACTURED HERE and, maybe for a change, WORTH BUYING then we'd be able to buckle down, make some budget cuts (personally and nationally) and just focus on bringing the money in. Instead, things will probably just get exponentially worse.

The newer Bankruptcy laws are not helping like expected either. It seems as though expecting a person to pay back the loans and credit within five years is a just thing to do. It probably means lower payments then they'd already have. However, many people in this position got their homes at a low adjustable rate. These rates will definitely go up a lot in a very short time here. When these rates go up, it becomes less and less reasonable for a person to keep paying on their homes, their cars, AND their payments arranged when they filed for Bankruptcy. All in all, expect a lot of forclosures over the year 2008, and remember that each one of those is costing society money.

Then what about the oil that, as I've mentioned before, we could've been weening ourselves off of already for a few years? Prices are only going to go up, and that's more money flowing OUT of the country instead of IN. Instead of buying their oil, they could've been buying GM's EV1 models or a similar American product that actually held any value. Don't get me wrong though, it would definitely take a lot more than one product or one company.

As I write this, the national debt is at $9,173,759,902,852. Broken down, that means that each of us is essentially worth -$30,179.93. With everything that we don't make here, that number gets worse. Every barrel of oil we buy, every dollar we spend at war OVER THIS OIL THAT WE SHOULD ALREADY BE BREAKING FREE OF is another dollar/barrel closer to, quite possibly, the self-destruction of our nation.

At Immigration Counters, you can watch in real time the costs of illegals in our country. It's almost as scary to watch how quickly these numbers climb as it is to watch our debt climb. It's changing as I go so these numbers will in fact be MUCH different by the time anyone reads this, but here are some figures:

21,259,292 illegal immigrants in the US

$43,892,613,000+ wired to Mexico since 2006

$345,856,200,000+ wired to Latin America since 2001

$397,483,935,830 spent on social services for illegals

$14,913,529,435 spent on illegal children K-12

$1,485,070,305 spent on incarcerating illegals since 2001

10,268,034 jobs held by illegals here

To those humanitarians out there who think these people are no burden and deserve to be here as much as we do, here's some proof that they are in fact a huge burden. True, they deserve as good a life as the next guy, but not at the next guy's expense. Look at how they gather here in our country to fight for their "rights." If they gathered like that in their own countries, they could bring about some major reform. But, then, so could we to our own country if people learned to gather and fight in groups for the changes that need to happen.

That, to me, is the biggest problem. All of these issues would be irrelevant if people weren't so apathetic. Maybe apathetic is the wrong word. Many people care, they just don't prioritize the needs of the many above their own. I understand this in a lot of ways. Working as the factory worker under strict attendance policy, I wouldn't have left work for a rally to fight illegals or save the electric car at the risk of being unable to feed my wife, and soon my own child. The people who win and who make reforms are the people who can gather the largest organization of people. That's supposed to be one of the most important principles in America. Majority rules.

If you, like myself, come away from this blog with that "gotta get out and do something" feeling, go join an organization that shares your most passionate issues. For example, I'm a strong supporter of home schooling becuase I feel the education system of today is inadequate. People aren't honestly getting any smarter than they were before. If anything, the opposite is happening. I was watching "A Christmas Story" with my wife today, and I was blown away by the way Ralph's teacher was able to talk to the kids. Now, teachers talk down to the kids like they're all perpetually two years old. As a result, your average high school graduate speaks no better now than (s)he did by the end of elementary. I myself remember feeling like I was taking the EXACT SAME English class every year from seventh grade on. So, I got online and did a search for "Utah homeschool organization." From result #1 I'm off to a good start, Homeschool World: Utah Homeschool Organizations and Support Groups. Now, say I join and X proposal comes up threatening to take away my right to homeschool my children. If I belong to an organization, I have a good source to turn to to gather in large numbers and fight it. If I don't belong to an organization, I probably just sit there staring at the headline shaking my head and thinking, "Well that sucks."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Some More "Green" Power

As much as I enjoyed the political environment of my Government class in High School, I've always been more for the progression of science as an answer to society's problems, and what frustrates me on this topic in particular is that the science is OUT THERE now.

Technology #1: The Electric Car. Also read the Follow-Up to My Electric Car Post.

Technology #2: Solar Power. Coal power costs around $1 per watt. Your typical solar cell costs $3 per watt. Now, however, Nanosolar has created solar "panels" that are actually a thin coating that you lay on any sun-exposed surface. The grand total here: 30 cents per watt by eliminating many of the wasteful components in the production process. It's as easy as printing out a big roll of clean energy. Now imagine that your electric car charging station was run on this. That, or your house.

Technology #3: Wind power. Not the strongest source, no, but not something to rule out either. Current wind turbines have too much friction in the gearbox and other components. Shawn Frayne, a 28-year-old California inventor, came up with the "Windbelt." Instead of a huge mill spinning around, it uses a membrane fitted with magnets that vibrates in the wind, causing the magnets to oscillate between the metal coils. The device is currently around 20 times as efficient as the windmills we use currently.

With these technologies combined, I can't see how we'd ever have an energy crisis again. The only reason these things haven't come into effect at all is because of profits. Companies see a HUGE loss in profits by developing energy sources that virtually sustain themselves and have so few components.

Monday, December 10, 2007

First Trimester Bleeding

In honor of the uninformed, like myself (on this occasion), I'm going to spare anybody out there who just found out she was pregnant some potential trauma. To set the scene properly for just what an impact this had on us today, I'll mention that my wife had a miscarriage about a year ago. Today, less than a week after we found out she was pregnant again, we thought we had a repeat on our hands. She went into the bathroom and found she had a very small amount of bleeding going on. She mentioned having heard of something called First Trimester Bleeding, but didn't seem to believe that could be it. I'd never heard of it, and I assumed by her lack of confidence in it she didn't know as much about it as she (or I, really) should. I Googled it, and found some information.

Many women find within the first 12 or so weeks that they will bleed, and it does not by any means suggest that you are for sure going to miscarry. It should still be discussed with your doctor because it COULD happen, but it seems that doctors usually find the source of the problem to be safe and fixable. A lot of times, some of the cells at the mouth of the cervix cause the bleeding because of intercourse. This area's a bit sensitive, it seems. It could also be the result of infections, including anything from a yeast infection to an STD. Though, husbands/boyfriends/lovers out there, this doesn't mean she's been out cheating on you. Some of the potential infections behind this could in fact have been "dormant" in there for some time.

So, it's definitely something you should mention to your doctor because even if it is something that could prove malicious to your baby, he just may be able to get the problem out of there before it does any harm.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Follow-Up to My Electric Car Post

I'd also like to note that beyond the horrible actions of General Motors to prevent the electric car from ever having a chance, certain California legislations also allowed it to happen. I've just stumbled upon an outlook on how the federal government should handle the protection of the environment and thus encourage the production of such cars, taken straight from Ron Paul's web page Ron Paul on The Environment:

"In a free market, no one is allowed to pollute his neighbor's land, air, or water. If your property is being damaged, you have every right to sue the polluter, and government should protect that right. After paying damages, the polluter's production and sale costs rise, making it unprofitable to continue doing business the same way. Currently, preemptive regulations and pay-to-pollute schemes favor those wealthy enough to perform the regulatory tap dance, while those who own the polluted land rarely receive a quick or just resolution to their problems."

The California legislation that first led to the development of a pretty good variety of electric cars from several different manufacturers stated that if a manufacturer wished to continue selling cars in California X% of their cars must be zero-emission vehicles. That "X" value was meant to steadily climb over the years and would've been incredibly helpful in changing the way society drives and breaking us of oil if California hadn't caved to the car-makers and taken down the law.

What if it were suddenly in the hands of the people, as it should be? If you could make the case that this manufacturer or that was polluting your land and impeding on your ability to function outside the confines of your own home, you could sue them. Fear of this might just have the power to bring back the electric car. I'm not typically in support of the ridiculous law suits we have today, but to bring an end to people fighting and dying for a waning resource, I'd say it's worth it. If the Federal Government was able to sue California for the zero-emission laws, we too should be given the power and government aid to sue those responsible for smog alert days that keep us trapped indoors.

Who Killed the Electric Car?

I highly recommend that everybody watch the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car?" The fact that anybody can be as corrupt as those responsible for the destruction of the EV1 and other electric cars is sickening. We had in the EV1 and electric car that, if given the best batteries of it's time (NiMH), could've made up to 140 miles per charge. If this model had not been obliterated and were given the lithium ion batteries of today, as demonstrated by Alan Cocconi in the T-zero, it could have made 300 miles per charge.

The following rant has a few "spoilers" as far as information contained in the documentary, so if you don't want to watch it but want the gist of it, read on. If you're going to watch it, then just go do it now. If you have digital cable it's On Demand as of my writing this under Premium Channels, then Encore.

To everyone out there: boycott General Motors, and don't put all your faith in this hope of hydrogen fuel cells. They're not going to be all they're cracked up to be. Once the trillion or so known barrels worth of oil out there in the world are gone, gas companies will then become providers of all the hydrogen we would fill our cars with, and then what? prices would be just as bad as gasoline. The costs of building the fueling infrastructure would be insane. As for the electric car, it would be next to nothing in comparison. Your work-place could provide a simple plug-in in the parking lot, and various charging station/parking lots would spring up allowing even further mileage per charge. Many of these could be powered by all the wind and solar power, and even those that were still powered by coal power plants and others would be better than the oil we depend on now.

People die every day for this oil that's just going to run out anyway. Why, when we already have an alternative that would satisfy most needs of everybody? let's even suppose you DO need to go beyond the range of your electric car, if we had a few models of hybrids out there, we'd probably have plenty of domestic oil to meet those needs for quite some time until further developments of battery technology and solar panels allow the car to run as long as you can.

Why did this car disappear you ask? Think of all the components present in your combustion engine right now. Car manufacturers would no longer profit from installing each and every one of those components. Then, think of how many of those components will be replaced throughout the life of the car. The electric car requires only a tire rotation and wiper fluid every 5000 miles. Nothing more.