Sunday, July 21, 2019

Bring Your Own Food, While You're At It?

I only half-joked years ago that restaurants will start charging "resort fee"-type or "baggage fee"-type charges for cleaning dishes, bringing our food to us, preparing the table, etc., or perhaps they'll require us to bring our own dishes.

The snowball begins its roll:
In a bid to better reduce single-use packaging and plastics, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill giving the green light for restaurant patrons in the Golden State to use their own reusable containers and cups.
Does anyone honestly believe that this will do a thing to preserve the environment?  Of course not, this is just another leftie virtue signalling.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Trip Videos

I posted a few trip videos today, just to put them out in the ether.

Bryce Canyon, UT

Inner Harbour, Victoria, British Columbia

Harbour Air floatplane landing in Vancouver, BC


racist:  any person who doesn't toe the liberal/progressive/Democratic Party line.
There was never a suggestion that this man was racist until he ran for president.  Never.  In fact, there was and still is plenty of evidence that he's quite the opposite.

Liberalism, and the Democratic Party that promotes it, is a mental disease.

50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

Yesterday I saw the impressive new Apollo 11 movie, and last night I again watched the 1994 documentary Apollo 13: To The Edge and Back.  A few weeks back I posted about some new coin purchases, including the Apollo 11 commemorative half dollar and dollar coins.

So yes, the old government-run space program has been on my mind lately.

Yes, the ships and their fragility, and the genius of the engineers, and the bravery of the astronauts, and the beauty of the flights, have all weighed greatly in my thoughts lately.  A nagging piece of trivia, though, invades that reverie, and that's the fact that no one born after 1935 has walked on the moon.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Implicit Bias Test

Call it "unconscious bias" or "implicit bias", the test to find this seed of racism still has defenders even though no one is sure what it actually tells us:
Over two decades after it was released to the public, a test that purports to measure the biased and prejudiced feelings of those who take it remains a significant part of popular psychology. Yet while its reliability has come under significant doubt in recent years, the creators and managers of the test still defend it as a useful tool.

The Implicit Association Test, released in 1998 by a group of Harvard researchers, may simply be little more than an entertaining quiz rather than a true measure of one’s hidden biases. Several journalists have suggested that the test is not at all a reliable indicator of internal prejudice, even though the tool has been popularized as just that.

A few years ago at Vox, German Lopez wrote on his experiences taking the test. Lopez took the test three separate times over the course several days and received different results each time. The test indicated he had, alternately, no racial preferences, biases against whites, and biases against blacks...

Smith cited numerous studies that have demonstrated varying levels of reliability, with one paper indicating “a test-retest reliability as low as .01 and as high as .36,” another with a reliability of .72, and another demonstrating .54 reliability.

Test reliability is measured on a scale of 0.0 – 1.0, meaning various studies have found the test’s reliability to range from fairly high to dismally low. Smith admitted that this phenomenon is something that researchers are still trying to solve.

“What explains that variability is something that we don’t understand very well yet,” he said.
I've written on this subject many times, and many of those posts are linked in this post.


Too much of anything, even charity, can be a bad thing:
You know the old saw, give a man a fish and he’ll have a meal, teach a man to fish and he’ll have food for the rest of his life.

It ignores the fact that if you give a man a fish everyday, not only will he never learn to fish, he’ll come to resent you for giving him a fish. He might even come to believe he’s incapable of learning to fish, and that you can only fish because of some invisible “privilege” that allows you to learn that stuff. At the same time you will believe that he’s inferior to you, unable to make his own decisions, and that you must decide and set everything for him or he’ll die. You might not admit it, ever, but you’ll come to believe that he’s a burden. Subconsciously you’ll hate being beholden to him. You’ll come up with all sorts of schemes, from aborting his children to enabling his drug addiction to facilitating his euthanasia just to be rid of the intolerable burden. And it’s no surprise because your “charity” is increasingly met with resentment, envy and outright anger.

Why? Well, because that’s the way humans work. The human being was born to strive. Being handed things just makes them both dependent and resentful of that dependence. This paradise that the very well fed and clothed imagine, where the government just magically dispenses everything everyone might want is no such thing. If it were possible to implement it without stealing this stuff from others (it’s not. The government produces nothing.) it would make humanity extinct in two generations. It would also create the crime wave to end all crime waves.

We clever monkeys don’t like stuff handed to us. We like to improve it, to work at it, to make it better. When it becomes impossible, we’re reduced to the level of pets, and humans don’t do well with being pets. No, it’s not even like the perfect childhood, in which you’re handed all you need. First of all no one had that perfect a childhood, and even the best parents don’t always know what you need (let alone want.) Second, childhood is a time of growing and learning, sometimes quite painful learning, as growing up is a painful process of leaving behind habits and cherished modes of life. Third, even children in happy families chomp at the bit to leave and be adults. It’s just the way we’re built.

Removing someone’s reason to strive is not a charity.
Charity is one thing, dependence is another.  Understanding that difference is what differentiates conservatism from socialism.

The Religion of Plastic Recycling

We pay extra to separate our garbage into blue and brown and green bins and feel good about "doing something for the environment".  Turns out that for plastic, at least, we're probably not doing much of anything:
Millions of Americans dutifully fill their recycling bins each week, motivated by the knowledge that they're doing something good for the environment. But little do they know, there's a recycling crisis unfolding.

Starting as early as 2017, municipalities across the country, from Douglas County, Oregon to Nogales, Arizona to Broadway, Virginia, to Franklin, New Hampshire, began landfilling many recyclables or simply canceling their recycling programs altogether. The impetus for this disconcerting change? China.

For decades, the country was content to accept, process, and transform recycled materials from across the globe, but no longer. In July 2017, the government announced new policies that would effectively ban imports of most recyclables, particularly plastics. They went into effect last March. Considering that China has imported a cumulative 45% of plastic waste since 1992, this is a huge deal.

Where once China offered a market for the world's plastic bottles, tubs, and other packaging to be turned into – for example – polyester clothing, now, that market is gone. This means that recycling costs have skyrocketed. A few years ago, Franklin, New Hampsire could sell recyclables for $6 per ton. Now, it costs the town $125 per ton to recycle that same stuff!

Municipalities across the country are facing this startling arithmetic, so hundreds are choosing the drastically cheaper option: throw most traditionally recycled materials in the trash, instead.

While that might sound horrifying, Thomas Kinnaman, an environmental economist from Bucknell University, says it's actually a blessing in disguise.

"China's ban may actually reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the oceans," he told NPR's Planet Money podcast. "China was not very careful about what got into their oceans for a long period of time, and if some of the plastic piles were just too corrupted they could do whatever they wanted with it."

Moreover, landfilling waste is not the evil many assume it to be. Modern landfills in the developed world are highly regulated, with sophisticated systems to protect groundwater, methods of compacting trash as tightly as possible, and even ways of siphoning off methane gas and burning it to produce electricity. Despite the myth that we're running out of landfill space, current estimates indicate that the U.S. has about 58 years until we need to build additional facilities.

As Kinnaman discovered in a 2014 study – a complete life cycle analysis of the recycling process – it currently doesn't make much economic or environmental sense to recycle plastic and glass in much of the developed world. Both of these materials are fairly easy on the environment to produce, but oftentimes very tricky and intense to recycle. When you factor in all of the water used to decontaminate plastic and glass, the immense distances traversed transporting them (usually by truck, train or ship), and the mechanical and chemical processes utilized to transform them into new goods, it becomes clear that they are better off in a landfill.
That's a large snip, so read the whole thing.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Vancouver Pictures

I didn't get around to posting any pictures from the Vancouver area while I was there, a discrepancy I'll correct now.

click to enlarge pictures
View from The Lookout at Harbour Centre, towards Stanley Park and the Lion's Gate Bridge

At the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park

The BC Place arena, where I saw the BC Lions play one of the worst games of football I've ever seen.  We lost 33-6.

Cable car approaching the top of Grouse Mountain, with Stanley Park visible across the narrows

Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Cliff Walk

Science World at night

Life imitating art

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Heading Home

I've been to Vancouver a few times but still found new things to see and do on this trip--especially Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

My friend flew home this morning and my plan was to spend a couple more days in the Vancouver metro area, but I decided I'd seen and done plenty and now I could start a slow drive home. 

It took about 80 min to cross the US border today, and driving on I-5 through Seattle is never a pleasant experience.  In fact, I dislike it so much that on the trip I'm currently piecing together for next summer, I'll head east and maybe go see eastern Washington and cross the border up there.

Met up with my nephew and his brother in downtown Portland for dinner, and only made it to Salem before calling it a night and getting a hotel room.  No-frills Super 8 has a parking space for veterans out front--never seen that before!

I'm 9-10 hrs of driving from home, but maybe I'll take it slow and stop and see some sights instead of just breezing through.  Jury duty doesn't start till next Monday so I have plenty of time.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Those Dogs Be Barkin'

Even with using the public transit system, I put a lot of steps on my poor feet today.  Essentially I'm just exhausted so I'll post pictures another time--but Vancouver is as beautiful as I remember.

We All Know How Much I Like Modest Proposals

Here's one we should all be able to get behind, if for different reasons:
College campuses have lots of empty housing during the summer. Proudly progressive institutions such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford should welcome illegal immigrants.
We know why they won't, too.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Last Day In Victoria

Had a late breakfast, then drove up the peninsula to the former limestone quarry now known as the Butchart Gardens:

Then trekked the rest of the way up the peninsula to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, where we boarded the Spirit of Vancouver Island for a 100 min ride to the mainland:

Rush hour traffic in Metro Vancouver so didn't even try to get downtown this evening.  Have a whole day for that tomorrow.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Victoria Is A Beautiful City

Arrived in Victoria Sunday morning and have been going nonstop ever since.  Leaving for Vancouver tomorrow afternoon.

Here are the two iconic buildings along the Victoria waterfront.  If you've seen these, you've seen touristy Victoria.

The (Fairmont) Empress Hotel:

The provincial Legislative Assembly Building:

And then there's your blog host having some fun:

Obviously having a great time.  I've been here before, but today was the first time I'd visited Craigdarroch Castle:

Butchart Gardens tomorrow, followed by a ferry ride to Vancouver.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Tomorrow's "Cruise"

Reservation on the first sailing out of Port Angeles, WA, tomorrow on the Coho:

Friday, July 05, 2019

I Apologize, But...

There has been *so* much spam lately (which I have to delete individually) and since I don't want to spend so much time moderating comments on this blog, I have at least temporarily turned on the "I am not a robot" word verification.  Hopefully that will keep the problem manageable.  I apologize for any inconvenience.

Been Home Too Long

Got home from my last trip about 2 weeks ago and it's time to go on another.  Here are a couple pictures from previous trips to give you a hint as to where:

If those don't give it away, how about this:  Let's go Li-ons! (More on that in a week!)