National Week of the Ocean

The first week of April is the National Week of the Ocean.

A perfect time to think about the ocean.  Not just the beaches.  Though they do matter.  The beaches are like the leaves of the ocean. They stretch out to join ocean and Earth.  Ocean and sky.  We see the health of the ocean through its natural beaches.  Those less travelled by humans.

Oceans were once teeming with life.  Now, many sections are left barren by overfishing.  Empty places, with little, or nothing to fill them.

Beaches show this by their lack of living, mostly mammals and crustaceans, who once lived on the beaches, the border between the land and the sea.

Oceans are now filled with debris.  Much plastic, and other garbage, that floated into them from the mountains, down the once pristine streams, to glutted rivers, and deposited in the ocean. Animals eat this plastic, thinking it is food.  Or, in the case of filter feeders, there is no escaping as they open their mouths to eat.  In many ways, plastic in the oceans, is like smoke in smoke-filled room.  No escaping it.  It is in your clothes, lungs, food, drink, hair, and everything there.

We see the devastation on many beaches. Covered with garbage, brought in by the waves.  Garbage that did not originate on that coast, or even that continent.

Europeans are doing their part to enact laws to cut back plastics use, and help clean up oceans, regardless of where the trash in them came from.

Our beaches show us the life and death struggle of the animals that live both in the depths, and those that live on land.

Once, the beaches teemed with life.  Both ocean life, and terrestrial life.  Sleeping, feeding, and raising families.  Now, many are lifeless, empty, eroding without the animals to keep them safe from harm.

Ocean Garbage : https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/science/2018/03/22/great-pacific-garbage-patch-grows/446405002/

Ocean Cleanup:  https://www.theoceancleanup.com/

Ocean Cleanup on Beaches where the garbage did not originate.  People drink this water.  Fish from it.  Bathe in it.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/09/modern-life-rubbish-helping-mumbai-clean-up-beach-india-city

It doesn’t have to be this way.  There are plenty of teens inventing solutions to collect the garbage from the oceans.  As much as possible.  Of course, millions of jobs could be created.  Governments choose not to, as they’ve no place to put all the garbage.  Though, it could be sorted, recycled, and broken down into less dangerous particles.

Garbage Bin: http://www.slate.com/articles/video/video/2015/12/a_clever_new_automatic_ocean_trash_collection_system_called_the_seabin_is.html

A list of options: https://upliftconnect.com/clean-up-the-ocean/

There are dangers to fish being trapped inside the garbage collection devices.  And most of the choices will not collect microplastics, especially microplastic beads. Which tend to fill plankton, that are eaten by larger fish, and larger fish, up three or four sizes before being eaten by humans.

Microplastics https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/microplastics.html

Another option is bacteria that digest plastic.  They could eventually help clean up our oceans, and our landfills.  https://phys.org/news/2016-03-newly-bacteria-plastic-bottles.html Again, creating millions of jobs to grow the bacteria, disperse, it, and evaluate the landfills as they shrink from plastic disappearing.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the ocean, and its beaches teeming with life, rather than litter?

Snowflake versus Grasshopper

Snowflakes. Sweet gentle, delicate, lacy things. No two are identical.

They value diversity. They clump together to create intricate designs. As they slip and slide from the sky, they reach out to help one another. To lift each other up. Occasionally, one flake may lose a piece of itself while helping another. They join, and rejoin to create beauty in the eyes of people who are alive.
Children lick the snowflakes from the sky with pure delight. They sled and play in them.
Adults, those who are living and breathing with nature, enjoy their beauty from afar. They sip hot coffee, or hot chocolate, from the warmth of a fire. They know, the more snow, the more flowers spring will bring.
Adults who ignore nature, or see it as beast to be tamed, fret, argue, and scream at snow, as they beat it into water, slosh it way, and drive over it, abandoning their family time for isolated buildings far away.
Occasionally, the wind will roar. Snow will form a blizzard. It will cover everything. While it may look on the surface as if it is a uniform texture and coverage, it rarely is. It has humps, bumps, hills, dales, valleys, and even gentle streams lurking underneath.
When it melts away in spring, the beauty revealed makes all want to enjoy it. Streams and rivers form.  The ground is softened, ready to grow. Farmers know deep snows will bring forth abundant crops. Many regions depend on the deep snows for drinking and irrigation water.

Without the blizzards, droughts haunt the breadbasket of our country.

Like snowflakes, grasshoppers are pretty and fun for children to chase. When they occur a few at a time. Most are harmless. They simply eat a little grass and grain, and become the snacks of spiders and birds.
Once, our nation was covered in these tiny creatures. Now, they are rare.
Like snowflakes, grasshoppers can create storms on the wind, called locust swarms. Although locust swarms were once common in the US, they have been gone for almost 100 years.
When grasshoppers combine to swarm, they don’t do so to lift each other up. They gorge. They become larger. More extreme. Identical. Giant grasshoppers, all teeth and stomach. They fly together. They eat everything in sight. They are so ravenous, their tiny jaws will bite the flesh of human and animals as they engulf crops, grass, leaves, and any green thing in their path.
They leave destruction and death in their wake. Destroyed crops may extend for hundreds of miles in either direction. Before the days of the engine, entire villages would be wiped out, as grasshoppers ate the crops the people and animals depended on for winter.
However, unlike snowflakes who build each other up, locusts tear each other down. They abandon their weak, their wounded, the legless, and the wingless, to die a miserable death eating the last few hidden bits of grain in a location they devastated.
Not only that, locusts lay eggs in the millions that will hatch and eat next year’s crop as it rises out of the ground. It may take decades for a region to recover it’s flora and fauna from a locust storm.

Are you a snowflake lifting others up? Valuing and creating more diversity? Creating beauty in the now, and furthering life after you melt in the warmth of spring?

Or a locust, eating everything in sight, and leaving the once fertile fields barren of life?

Conservatives versus Liberals

Before November of 2016, I rarely thought about politics. Why bother? Bunch of hollerticians who would rather fight each other, than help the common person. Rarely did anything change. Although, Obama tried to get passage of several laws that would allow equality among people with disabilities, medical conditions, the poor, and other overlooked and forgotten populations.
He tried to help the common person. Congress and corporations fought him every step of the way.
I never paid any attention to political “parties.” They have no idea what a party is. A party is a loud, obnoxious, sound and sight disaster with constant commotion. It begins and ends, and is over. Politics groups rarely end.

Our founding fathers did not want a two – part polarized political system for the very reason of what has happened in the last year.

The group who took control of the branches of government call themselves conservatives.
What are they conserving?

They do not want to conserve freedom of speech.  They have declared the press, and news channels, the enemy.
They do not want to conserve the air. They want to pollute to where you won’t be able to see your mailbox from your home. They have voted to destroy the EPA.
They do not want to conserve the water. They want to fill it with toxins and make it undrinkable. That will also kill the fish, and the ocean.
They do not want to conserve the animals. They don’t care if every animal on the planet dies. They have decided to eliminate the Endangered Species Act.
They do not want to conserve land. They want to turn the public lands over to developers. They want to destroy the national parks.
They do not want to conserve the science.  The first accounts they tried shut up were the scientists.
They do not want to conserve jobs. They’ve already eliminated more jobs through the destruction of the EPA, Endangered Species Act, and Healthcare repeals than they can create.
They do not want to conserve healthcare. They want to destroy the ACA, and take healthcare away from those who most need it.
They do not want to conserve the Social Security program. The program that workers paid into for their entire working careers. They want to eliminate it.
They do not want to conserve Medicaid. They want to delete it.
They do not want to conserve education. They voted in a person to run the education department that has no understanding of the education system, and wants to eliminate education for those with disabilities.
They do not want to conserve the future. They have no concern for the future, or the children of today. They don’t care if they live, or die.
They do not want to conserve the ADA laws. They want to hide and ignore those with disabilities. Including the elderly, blind, deaf, wheelchair users, and walker users. If you aren’t identical to everyone else, they don’t want you.
They do not want to conserve women’s rights. They want to remove all of them. Including the right to vote. It isn’t much of step for them to remove property rights, jobs, education and more as well. This is beyond a slippery slope.
They do not want to conserve safety. They have voted to repeal many domestic violence laws. The president even brags about sexual harassment, and walking in on young girls changing clothes. How was that ever okay?
They do not want to conserve relationships with other countries. They’ve already seriously damaged relationships with Mexico, Canada, Australia, and most of Europe.
They do not want to conserve the right to choice of religion. Or no religion. They want to go against the Constitution and insert their personal, private religion into political situations.
They do not want to conserve the rights of minorities, regardless of ethnicity or gender. They want to take away their rights to self choice. Some of which have been hard fought for.

Does anyone know what a conservative does want to conserve?

Interestingly, the other group are called Liberals. Nothing liberal about them. They simply want equal rights for all – regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, birthplace, birth income, education status, medical condition or ability.
They want all humans to be treated as humans. With a chance to succeed where, and when they can, in a way that they can. What’s wrong with that?
Liberals believe everyone deserves an education.
Liberals believe everyone deserves clean, healthy air to breath.
Liberals believe everyone deserves clean, healthy water to drink. – Including wild animals.
Liberals believe everyone deserves healthcare. To deny healthcare is abuse.
Liberals believe everyone deserves education. Without it, there is no future.
Liberals believe everyone deserves freedom to, and from, religion. It doesn’t belong in public places.
Liberals believe everyone deserves to be counted as human – young, old, abled, disabled, female, differently gendered, regardless of ethnicity, and other concerns.
Liberals believe everyone deserves the right to work as they can. They value the jobs society overlooks – cooking, cleaning, building, sewing, all the little things the world cannot live without.

Liberals believe everyone deserves the right to live the life they were meant to live, and not be blocked in by walls.

To those conservatives who would say life isn’t fair. We are humans. Not wild animals. We should do everything possible to make life as equitable and fair as we possibly can for all. No human, or animal, should be abused, or killed, for no reason. As humans, we should expect fair, and equitable, treatment by fellow humans.

Scientific Method

Science is a major topic these days.
I’ll start with a dream conversation from a few nights ago.
We all actively participate in science every single day. Every breath, every movement, every cell growth and regeneration is part of science.

We all do chemistry every single day. We eat, digest food and drink, and eliminate waste from our bodies. At least some of the waste. Other bits remain stuck in our cells, and can cause hormone imbalances, or genetic mutation.

The Scientific Method is simple. One we all do from the moment we are born, if not before. Every child has natural scientific curiosity. and employs this process without being taught how to.
Step 1: Ask a question. Any question.
Step 2: Form a hypothesis – which is a fancy way of saying – make a prediction.
Step 3: Conduct an experiment. Babies do this. They cry – and learn what the results will be for those cries.
Step 4: Gather the data and analyze it. In most people, this is done internally, and almost instantly. Scientists will do this on paper multiple times.
Step 5: Reach a conclusion.
Step 6: Repeat as needed, changing variables, while keeping one aspect constant.

Part one of this discussion: Can scientists make mistakes?
Certainly. they are human. Their biases can impact any step of the process. As can unknown, and unexpected factors such as air, water, container quality. Other biases, such as religion, politics, age, gender, and known knowledge also affect each step of the process.
Part two of this discussion: Have scientists recently made mistakes?
Certainly. However, media is a big part of the problem. When they began playing mocumentaries as documentaries, they seriously damaged the scientific community. The stations that played these also damaged their reputation.
The next big question: Is climate change real? Yes. The climate always changes. Always has. Always will.

Are humans impacting it? Without a doubt.
How scientists have shot themselves in the foot, and made every claim they ever made unreliable: Insisting every single month is the hottest month ever.
Mathematically, that isn’t possible. Most people know this. One summer, three or four years ago was turning point. In August, we had 29 days where the temperature did not reach to within 10 degrees of average. It was cold. Jackets in August. The last two days of the month, the temperature reached average. And one single degree above.
Even the most mathematically challenged recognized that there was no way that was the hottest August ever.

Are what scientists calling for to combat man induced climate change reasonable?
Certainly. Solar power, clean water, Community based lifestyles. Little to no driving. Fresh food. Family life again, instead of none, as most people have.
Scientists make mistakes. They sometimes overgeneralize in order to make a greater savings for later. Better to do so, than to regret not making a change at a later time, or a later generation.

We need to encourage science. To develop solutions to the work-a-holic lifestyle, energy that doesn’t demand nonrenewable resources from the planet. Or even overuse of renewable resources. There is much that can be done.
There is much that must be done. Science is the way forward.

As We Lose Our Way

As I watch our nation lose it way, I’m sad.
No more education (no teachers, doctors, nurses, architects, scientists, astronauts, geologists, and more).
No more EPA. No more safe food. No safe steams to play in, fish to eat, or water to drink.
No more FDA. Drugs and food will no longer be regulated. It’ll be a buy at your own risk to eat and drink.
I wrote Trails 1: Trails Through the Fault Lines, and Trails 2: Trails Through the Volcano.
Had no intention of them being prophetic. We know who Mr. Spike is. And the damage he has done.
Yes. Yellowstone will speak. Not kindly. Her ash flows will cover most of the U. S. The Rio Sea will rise again.