Thursday, November 14, 2013

W's for Jesus

So, tonight, (thankfully former) President W is speaking before the "let's all convert the Jews to Jesus" conference in Texas.  Rachel Maddow has been covering this since the story broke last week.

Without belaboring the 'peculiarities' of this group's beliefs, I, too, am trying to figure out his motivation, and it comes down to the following possibilities:

1)  He doesn't really believe in the group's stated goals, but the money is too good to pass up.

2) He does believe in the group's stated goals, and the money is just a nice bonus.

3) He does believe in the group's stated goals, and the money is totally irrelevant.

And now, my choice for most-believable explanation:

4)  It doesn't matter whether he believes in converting Jews or not.  He made up his mind to do this gig, and The Decider does not ever change his mind.

By the way, I hereby award Rachel Maddow's writers the 'Best Use of Yiddish Today' prize, for accompanying this story with a slide with the words 'Meshugganah Accomplished'.

Well done.  

Monday, November 04, 2013

science (and dread) in everyday life

Karen has a small but impressive collection of antique salt-and-pepper shakers.  One had such an encrustation of salt on its inside that the holes were mostly blocked.  She had been soaking it in water for a couple of days, but the salt remained.

This morning, she asked me if I could get the salt layer removed.  "Easy," I said, "just add some vinegar to the water."  I did so and, an hour later, the salt is mostly gone.

The NY State Board of Regents (funded by the 1960's taxpayers of Elmira, New York) insisted that my Liberal education include basic chemistry. Sodium chloride is a base.  Lower the ph with an acid (acetic, in this case) and the base commences to dissolve.

My moment of self-congratulation was short-lived, as I immediately thought of the escalating acidification of our (one-and-only) planet's oceans.  Calcium carbonate cannot stand up to Carbon dioxide - same principal.  Goodbye shell-fish, coral, and the web of Life that depends on these.

Nothing will be done - we will collectively just let it happen, and try not to think about our grand-children looking at us with the same incredulity as us looking back on World War I and the Spanish Inquisition (to name but two).

Applied Science - how easy to do on the micro level - not so easy on the macro.