November 20th, 2008

alan's poppies

Daylight Savings Time -

I personally have never liked daylight savings time.  I prefer to be in alliance with the sun, and am constantly adjusting myself to the "real" time.  It began as a way to save energy and I can go along with that, but now a study shows it actually consumes more energy because it began when lights were the concern, but now heat and air conditioning are perceived as necessities.  A study was done in Indiana when a change was recently made and more energy was consumed.  No wonder Bush lengthened the time we have it.  It is time to eliminate it.  It is confusing for one thing.  We went through it one weekend in Rome, and again, here.  Ridiculous and it uses more energy.  It is also time to abolish the electoral college.   The popular vote should count, and that would equalize our votes in CA with those in WY.  

The electoral college was set up because of slavery.   "The southern states liked the fact that their slaves, who would be excluded from a direct vote, would be counted - as three-fifths of a white person - when Electoral College votes were apportioned."

That period of history is now firmly over.

Op-Ed Contributor

What’s the Point of Daylight Time?

Published: November 19, 2008

Santa Barbara, Calif.

WHY do we — along with 75 other countries — alternate between standard time and daylight time? Although many people believe it has an agricultural provenance, daylight time has always been a policy meant to save energy. As Benjamin Franklin argued, if people moved up their summer schedules by an hour, they could live by “sunshine rather than candles” in the evenings.

Energy conservation was the motivation for daylight time during World Wars I and II and the oil embargo of the 1970s, and it remains so today — even though there has been little scientific evidence to suggest daylight time actually helps us cut back on electricity use.

Recently, however, we were able to conduct a study in Indiana, where daylight time was instituted statewide only in 2006. Before that year, daylight time was in effect in just a handful of counties. This change of policy offered a unique, natural experiment to measure the overall effect on residential electricity consumption. We could compare the amount of energy used by households in the late-adopting counties during the two years before they switched to daylight time with the amounts they used during the year afterward — while using counties that always practiced daylight time as a control group.


Collapse )
alexander calder

Arrogance -

It was always obvious that the Bush family had no ability to understand the financial choices, and difficulties of the average American. McCain showed a similar disdain for the economic facts of life for most Americans. Just move in to one of your other homes if you lose one or it is destroyed. Marie Antoinette looks like a saint in comparison with Bush's comment that if you can't afford medical insurance, you can go to the emergency room. I thought I couldn't be surprised or shocked by these goof-balls, but reading that the chief executives of the Big Three flew to Washington D.C. on a corporate jet after their criminal behavior in the mis-management of these car companies is beyond mind-boggling. They won't even see the stark facts now.

There are 24 daily nonstop flights from Detroit to the Washington area, yet Richard Wagoner, Alan Mutally, and Robert Nardelli arrive on a corporate jet to ask for a hand-out that they say they deserve. They also feel they have done nothing wrong. It is difficult to understand a country that could produce, and allow to reproduce, people so out of touch with reality. I remember when Ronald Reagan released people from mental institutions in CA. Problem solved, he said. There are no mentally ill people here, and perhaps in comparison to his own disturbed thought process, or lack thereof, there was some truth in that, but I think we need those institutions back so we can put those whose ego maladjustment is such that they are deluded enough to think they are god, in a place where they belong.

Ronald Reagan's dissolving the mental health care system when he was governor of CA led to the homeless problems we still endure today.

alan - morning glory center

Blinking -

National Geographic has a fascinating article this month on blinking, especially interesting in light of John McCain who seemed ensnared by blinking during much of the campaign, which dissipated when he came back to himself in his concession speech.

"Blink rate varies wildly depending on mood, activity, concentration level, and species."

A human newborn blinks two times per minute.

A nervous adult blinks fifty times per minute.

Someone staring at a TV blinks 7.5 times per minute.

A calm adult blinks fifteen times per minute.

"What goes on in the blink of an eye?  Most obvious, the lid spreads tears across the ball surface, warding off dryness and scratches.  We blink less when reading or staring at a computer or TV - that's why eyes dry and burn - more when tired and at times of transition, like turning a page.  But blinking isn't just a reflex.  Calm slows blinking; anxiety can cause eyeblink storms.  Think of a nervous politician or a bad liar, who usually blinks fastest after a fib.  Psychopaths, with altered brain function, are less likely to blink vigorously when startled than an average Joe. Also, blinks dull brain activity related to visual awareness, perhaps to keep us from noticing the microseconds of dark.  Blink mysteries include why babies do it less than adults - maybe because of all the new stimuli to take in - and why so much variation exists in animals.  Case in point: A parrot blinks 26 times a minute, an ostrich, just once."

As I consider on this, I wonder if we blink less with open focus.  A baby is openly focused.  It takes awhile for a baby to tune in and differentiate.  When I consider the natural environment of the parrot vs. the ostrich, it seems there is much more variety and color for the parrot in the jungle that the ostrich on the plains.  Also, the ostrich has the fastest land speed of any bird.  Maybe it needs to keep its eyes open.  The parrot is more tangled in flowers and trees.   Perhaps differentiating, we blink more to define the categories.  Just a thought, and a blink.

Maybe next issue, National Geographic will discuss winking.