January 16th, 2020


Self-Awareness Question: Moving

Folks have mentioned an interest in questions and conversations that make them think. So I've decided to offer more of those. This is the current list on self-awareness.

13. Would you move to another country?

In theory, yes; in practice, no.  I have nothing against it in principle, but international moves are fubar now and other places sensibly do not want Americans unless they come with maximum-value credentials.  Also I'm firmly attached to my home and other people here.



Kakeibo Budgeting

If you are not a numbers person, consider kakeibo  budgeting, which is more about mindfulness.

One of the tips is something I do, precisely because I suck at math: pay in cash.  I only carry money in amounts that my brain can reasonably handle.  I don't try to do the math in my head.  Physically handling the cash makes it much easier for me to track.  If I want to buy something online, I hand cash to someone else for it or make a barter arrangement.  For trips or other occasions that require handling larger-than-usual amounts, I subdivide it -- so much per day or per store -- and physically separate the money into those bundles.  This works for me.  I would rather use this simplified method than flail around with more than I can handle, making mistakes and making myself miserable.

Work with the brain you have, not the brain other people wish you had.  Find a budget method that works for you.

Grim Video

NASA has released a grim video about global warming.  We just crossed 2 degrees of rise, and look how awful last year was with wildfires and such.  But that's not the worst part.

The worst part is that this is the least bad it will ever be again.  It's going to get much, much worse than this.  That means last year's appalling consequences -- including the bushfires still raging across Australia -- will soon become fond memories  of how things used to be so much better.  O_O


Smoking Globe

Bushfire smoke has now circumnavigated the globe to cross over its origin. But this was the part that really disturbed me:

“If it becomes constant ... then we do have really significant problems," Flannigan said. "But that's unlikely.”

Yeah, no. It's beyond likely; it's all but guaranteed.  In an overheating world, giant wildfires will become the norm.  This will continue until the Earth's biomass in flammable regions (which are expanding) has been knocked down below what will support wildfires.  So whatever problems we see now, get used to them, because they're only going to get worse.  This is the least bad problem we will have from global smoke for the foreseeable future.

And yes, it's possible for fires to rage all over to the point that people simply stop paying attention to them.  That's Alaska.  When we did the Itadesh Fire thread in Torn World, many of us objected on the grounds that people would have known to get out of the way, since they knew about the fire.  But our host explained that Alaska always  has multiple fires during fire season, and then proceeded to count the ones she could see out her window.  People just ignore those; they have to; you can't really run when fires are ubiquitous.  Itadesh got overrun because one of the nearby fires suddenly switched direction and moved much faster.  That's exactly the kind of fatality we'll see more of in years to come.

Constant Disasters

Climate change means that the new normal is chaos and disaster.

The report also presents a framework that people can use to think about a type of risk that we’ve never experienced before: For more than 10,000 years, and the entire history of human civilization, the climate has been relatively stable. Now it is not.

This, however, is a bit of a stretch.  Humanity actually has survived radical climate change before: at the end of the last Ice Age.  That change ultimately proved to be good, making life a lot easier.  But at the time, it was the end of everything that anyone had ever known.  They wouldn't have refrigeration again for thousands of years!  The climate also got a lot less stable and predictable, which was terrifying.

A key difference, however, is that post-Ice Age climate change moved global temperatures toward  the envelope in which humans could survive without extreme measures.  The current climate change is moving temperatures away  from that range, out the other side.

Poem: "Where Dark Meets Light on the Turning Edge"

This poem came out of the November 19, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "Superintelligence" square in my 10-31-19 card for the People-watching Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Aquariana and Kraken threads of the Polychrome Heroics series.

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Antelope Burgers

We ate the antelope burgers for lunch today.  I used a seasoning blend of juniper berries, rubbed sage, and sea salt which worked quite well.  We also served them on soft pretzel buns.  

I found the antelope meat interesting.  Its flavor is similar to a cross between venison and elk, but with a darker note almost like liver.  I dislike liver, but quite enjoyed the antelope.  It had a stiff texture, not tough but just sticking together well.  I think it would make excellent meatloaf or meatballs.

Forcing Diversity

... does not work, and often makes matters worse.

So how do you make oil and water mix?  You need an emulsifier.  To get past racism, you need common ground that people agree on -- or you need something that attracts people who prefer diversity to division.  For instance, you could offer tax breaks based on diversity: the more diverse the organization, the bigger the break, based on composition of employees or better yet board members.  You could launch a college offering free education based not on test scores but student participation in diversity (e.g. foreign languages, international travel, working a social justice job).  The same approach would apply to a housing complex; there are places in Europe offering discounted housing for people who want to mingle with immigrants, and it works.

People remain separate because a majority prefer it that way.  They're not going to fix this, because they don't want  it fixed.  And if they have to be seen "doing something," they'll make sure it won't really work.