Tag Archives: retirement

Friday Linkage 7/6/2018

I absolutely love the discussion about civility in national politics right now.  I love how people like Donald Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, or anyone else associated with the right wing can claim to hold any shred of credibility with regard to being civil when these are the same people who have given us the likes of Steve King, Louie Gohmert, and others.  Heck, they gave us Donald Trump who is literally the most vulgar person to hold the office of President of the United States in the history of the country.  Come at me with a different person, please.

We have truly entered the straight up Orwellian dystopia phase of the current political cycle.  Up is down, black is white, and Trump is right.  If you are not with the dear leader, regardless of where his policy position is that day, you are against the dear leader even if you have done nothing but maintain long held beliefs.  Just wait until they start burning books that do not have more space dedicated to pictures than words.

On to the links…

Scott Pruitt Asked Aides To Find His Wife A $200,000 Job—Scott Pruitt may be the most corrupt person in Washington D.C. since the administration of Warren G. Harding.

It’s Time for the Republican Congress to Impeach the EPA’s Scott Pruitt—This is not the opinion of a liberal mouthpiece.  It is coming from a business publication.  Here is the thing I wonder about.  When the administration changes how will Republicans react to the smallest of infractions by a Democratic administration?  What sort of faux outrage will people like Chuck Grassley manufacture after spending the prior four years closing their eyes, plugging their ears, and screaming “La, la, la!” while Trump and his cronies looted America?

This is how People Tried to Teach Scott Pruitt about Climate Science—Remember, this is the man in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency.  You can’t teach Scott Pruitt because Scott Pruitt is bought and paid for by the oil and gas lobby.

Path to Zero Emissions Starts Out Easy, but Gets Steep—Does anyone really doubt that this is true?  However, we will not get to the innovation part unless we start on the easy stuff first.  If history is any guide to the future, however, advances in energy production will come along that moderate the steepness of the deployment curve.

Coal Power Plants Retiring Quickly During Trump Administration—It looks like we are already trying to get coal out of the picture.  Despite Trump’s best efforts—which have probably slowed down retirements but not stopped the trend—coal is not the way we will generate electricity in the future.  Maybe he really should try and bring back Blockbuster?  Or ToyRUs?

Solar Power Employs Twice As Many As Coal In US—For every coal mining job Trump claims he is trying to save, which is really code for him just trying to save coal barons’ paychecks at the expense of everyone else on the planet, he is endangering more solar jobs on the other side of the ledger.  This is a losing hand that he is playing to the bitter end.  Good luck with that Donny two scoops.

Electric Vehicles Alone Could Cause Peak Oil Demand within Decade—Peak oil used to be about Hubbert’s Peak and the decline of production based on economically producible reserves, but maybe the worm has turned and we will just demand to use less oil.  I like to think that I am contributing ever so slightly by biking into work several days a week.  Demand destruction is real.

Climate Change is Making it Harder to Revive Damaged Land—Just add this to the list of things that climate change is going to make harder for future generations.

Call to Turn Oil Rigs into Nature Reserves—Why don’t we just take every offshore rig at the end of its life and turn it into a combination artificial reef and offshore wind turbine?

UK Renewable Electricity Generation Tops 30%, Scotland Increases By 11%—The U.K. generated over 30% of its electricity in the third quarter via renewables.  Not for a day or a month, but an entire quarter.  In the same report it was noted that for the entirety of 2017 Scotland generated almost 70% of its electricity from renewable sources.  The future is now folks.

Battery-Backed Solar Power to Undercut Coal in China by 2028—So, once China figures out how to cut the price of solar with storage what is the market for energy going to look like?

Solar Power Fuels Savings, Consumer Loyalty and Competition Among Craft Brewers—You mean to tell me that people like it when their favorite beer makers also believe that the world is a better place with more solar power?  I would have never thought such a thing were possible.

The Dirty Little Secret Behind “Clean Energy” Wood Pellets—Do any biomass energy schemes ever work out as intended?  It always seems like the promise is predicated on a bunch of ifs.  If the forest is replanted or if the forest is not clear cut and so on.

The US has a 1.39 billion-pound surplus of cheese. Let’s try to visualize that.—I am stuck here thinking about what a 1.39 billion pound round of cheese would be like sitting on the mall in Washington D.C.:

Cheese_Stock__1_

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Taking on New Challenges

What keeps us alive? I do not necessarily mean what keeps us physically alive—that can be done externally by machines—but rather what keeps us feeling alive. Alive, as in, the feeling we would get as kids when we first conquered riding a bicycle or when we were teenagers and the acceptance letter for our dream college arrived. Alive, like when we knew we met the person we would love forever and the feeling when we held our children for the first time.

What happens when we hit the major milestones? What breaks up the monotony of the rinse and repeat routine of work and home?

We fall into the routine because it is efficient. We eat the same types of dinner and go to the same restaurants. We watch the same television shows and go to bed at the same time. Before you realize it a couple of weeks have gone by or an entire month has expired or, god forbid, a whole year passes.

We keep telling ourselves that we are saving for retirement so that we can pursue our passions when we are done working. Why? Why do we have to wait until we are sixty five or older to do something that excites us?

The way we can feel alive again is to break out of the cycle of monotony. We need to make ourselves uncomfortable again. Do you remember the first time you walked into a college classroom, sat down, and wondered if you were really ready for the entire experience? If that was acceptable at eighteen years old why isn’t it acceptable to be that uncomfortable at forty?

It’s being uncomfortable with doing something and conquering that discomfort that allows us to feel like we are growing and changing. It’s the reason that at the tender age of thirty six I took up skiing with my seven year old daughter.

Do you know what is difficult to watch? A middle-age father of two trying to make it down the bunny hill without “yard sale-ing.” Or, having your daughter ask, “Daddy, why did it take you so long to get down the hill?”

In the end, however, I feel better about the day I spend struggling to learn to ski than I would about any other activity I might undertake during the winter. I come back sore and, hopefully, not bruised although I have returned with different parts of my body an unnatural blue color. I may be cold on the lift and scared when I tip over the lip of the run, but I drive home with a smile on my face and something new to work on the next day. Isn’t that what being alive is all about?

Friday Linkage 4/27/2012

April is almost done and it feels like the end of May.  The ivy is pretty green on the outfield walls of Wrigley Field, I have mowed the lawn twice already this season, and the nurseries are full of stock to be put into the ground.

This weekend is going to market my official 2012 start of planting season.  No idea where I am going to go with the yard this year, much to the consternation of my wife but the landscaping is an organic process.  I go where the plants take me.

On to the links…

How to Find Real Food and Make Healthier Choices—Oh yeah, bring on the infographic baby:

Four Things Grosser than Pink Slime—The title pretty much lays it out.

Weed Killer from Dow has A Lot of People Worried—Dow Chemical’s 2,4-D is a potent herbicide that is very similar to Agent Orange.  You know, the stuff that was used to defoliate the jungle during the Vietnam War and is responsible for all kinds of health problems.  Yep, it’s coming to a farm field near you.  Why?  Because the rampant spraying of other herbicides has led to widespread resistance so more potent defoliants are required.  Great.

No Country for Old Chickens—I could not help myself with the title.  Retirement homes for old chickens?  Yeah, you knew it was coming.  If Williams – Sonoma can get a princely sum for a chicken coop than you knew someone would take this step.  It’s the natural evolution of things.

The Barter Economy Coming to a Backyard Near You—I love it when people rediscover concepts and act like it is something amazing.  Where I live—Iowa—we never forgot the art of barter.  Need help taking some stuff to the dump?  Sure, my pickup can be had for a six pack of that new beer you just bottled.  Chainsaw a couple of trees downed in the storm?  Why yes, that bag of tomatoes would do just fine.

First World Problems—Then again, this all seems like a first world problem.

97 Percent of Americans Overestimate Cost of Home Solar—Count me as one of the people who had the $20K number stuck in my head.  As I thought about panels on the top of my house I had used $20K as a benchmark number for any back of the envelope calculations.  Consider me schooled.

With a Shovel and Pickaxe, Seattle Man Rescues Hundreds of Trees—For anyone who does not think that a single person can do some real good, here is a nice little human interest piece to set you right.

Amazing Indian Brickwork—The brickwork on this building in India is simply amazing:

Some of these traditional building methods are perfect for a changing climate.  The “screen” of bricks absorbs the heat of the sun, but it allows for light and air to penetrate.  I have seen similar design concepts in the buildings at Masdar, but the low tech beauty of this wall blows that stuff away.

Friday Linkage 9/30/2011

September has come and gone, football season is in full swing, the leaves are turning all sorts of colors, and I am sitting back enjoying the fruits of my homebrew labor.  With the temperatures dropping into the 30s at night the Patagonia Synchilla fleece has been broken out and my daughter is already sipping hot cocoa.  I love the change of seasons.

In North Dakota, Wasted Gas Flares in the Night Sky—The concept seems insane: burn a commodity for which there is a market.  In a world that is increasingly energy constrained, it is crazy to think that in the U.S. we just flare natural gas instead of collecting it for use heating homes, making fertilizer, etc.  Think about this the next time natural gas prices spike in the winter.

U.S. Gasoline Demand Hits 10-Year August Low—Maybe we do not need as much liquid fuel as we thought.  The combination of recession, high prices, and awareness has led to a drop in the demand for oil that is completely discretionary.  It goes to show how much savings potential exists in the system if people really make an attempt.

The Technology to Cut Greenhouse Gasses by 85% by 2050 Already Exists—Not only is it possible to reduce our demand with cuts in our discretionary energy use, but the technology exists today to effectively cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050?  So, what’s the problem?  Oh wait…Republicans…oil companies…grumpy people…NIMBY…

Want to Make Fuel?  Just Add Water—Maybe there is a future for biofuels if we can get past the current and problematic first generation fuels that divert foodstuffs to fuel.  The world has too many hungry mouths to feed for us to justify filling up SUVs with ethanol made from corn or biodiesel made from soybeans.

The Future of Urban Agriculture—In this video, Will Allen—he of the Macarthur Genius award—shows us what his vision of the future of urban agriculture looks like.  In a world where the resiliency of our food system will be paramount this is interesting viewing.

Eco-Living in Gary—For anyone familiar with Gary, Indiana this is a hard concept to wrap your head around.  Eco-living in Gary?  It just goes to show you that anything is possible.

How to Build a Rocket Stove Water Heater—If you thought building tunnels to let chickens do the garden work was ingenious, you are going to love this how-to on building a rocket stove water heater.  If I were building an off-grid home I would be all over rocket stoves and rocket mass stoves.

The Case for Downsizing Your Home—The article is obviously aimed at people considering retirement, but the same arguments that hold true for people living on a “fixed” income hold true for the rest of us because there is no magic money fairy that raises my income whenever I desire.  In a way, we are all on fixed incomes.