Migration – the Great Culture Changer

Mariner was watching the weekend television information shows, which are informative shows, not news shows. He noticed a comment, just one sentence on GPS, the Global Public Square with Fareed Zakaria, that today virtually the entire planet suffers the pressure of large migrations of humans.

The comment prompted mariner to remember migration as a major culture changer. Humans have had major migrations since prehistoric times. 60 thousand years ago a great migration of early humans left Africa likely due to a major climate shift. It was responsible for starting populations in every direction in Europe, the Middle East, and east into India and Southern Asia. That migration certainly brought change to Europe as immigrants overwhelmed the resident Neanderthal population and essentially replaced them. In the process, newer hunting methods and different social capabilities brought a different culture to Europe.

15 thousand years ago, a short ice age caused another migration into Northern Asia and eventually across the Bering Strait to populate North and South America.

10 thousand years ago improved farming induced a population explosion that added more immigrants into Europe and Asia and down to Australia.

Migrations are launched because of imbalances in safety, food, disruptive weather and overcrowding. The Middle East has suffered two great droughts – suffering the latest one since 1998. Today’s drought in the region is 50% drier than the last drought 500 years ago and the driest in 900 years.

Today’s drought shows no signs of letting up and continues south into Northern Africa where government conflict and social unrest continue to grow.

As a result, migration continues to grow.

Given the patterns of migration in human history, natural drought patterns are the most common cause and likely are intensified by climate change. Cultural stress disrupts governments leading to revolution, terrorism and rampant populism. Unlike Sub-Saharan Africa where 20 million face starvation, the Middle East has oil. The vagaries of imbalance as seen in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen and Iran have launched a migration from that region. Combine the Middle East migration with other migrant groups from South and Central America and cultural change seems a certain experience in our future – virtually guaranteed in Europe.

The US is experiencing homophobic behavior because Donald promotes it. His base, those who feel they are being pushed out, easily adopt homophobic behavior. However, immigration is not a bad thing. In fact, the US is far better off as “the great melting pot” than it would be otherwise. Besides, in a nation of 350 million, even a million immigrants will not have a disruptive effect but they may, as in past US history, contribute to positive change. If for no other reason than rebalancing the lopsided US demographic profile, they should be welcomed.

– – – –

Don’t blame the turmoil of cultural change just on immigration. Toss in computerization, the internet, and the devious smartphone. The smartphone is eliminating the rich culture based on human-to-human contact and virtually eliminates group processes like clubs, community service, a strong sense of self and an absence of accountability to one’s community. The net result is a culture of blasé. From whence do we derive our ethics, morals, compassion and empathy? These are the energies that make us human. A photograph on Facebook does not make one a living, incorporated human being.

Perhaps being responsible to care for our new immigrant citizens will reset our human values.

Blasé is bad.

Ancient Mariner

 

What is it?

You can feel it. Everyone can. It is similar to flying through the Universe faster than the speed of light. It feels like a tennis match using a dozen balls instead of one. It whirls you about like a carnival ride. It feels like you are crawling under barbed wire in the mud while bullets fly around you.

It is change. Change in religion; change in life style; change in deep-rooted national values; change in economic dependability; change in the Earth’s environment; change in self-confidence; change in the workplace. It is change. Change happening faster than ever before. Change so pervasive as to leave the entire world in disarray.

War is changing. Fresh water is disappearing. Work is changing. Seas are rising. Vital food chains are disappearing. Human life lives too long to be supported. Changing weather drives millions out of their habitat into starvation. The mammalian age is fragmenting. Sea life is dying.

If you are older than the Millennials, it feels like passing out in a spinning centrifuge. If you are a Millennial, reality is a hodge podge of artificial experiences that lead nowhere.

Change is so disruptive it begs the question, “How can we change change?” We can’t. Change is not arbitrary; change has no speed control; change cannot be reversed. And, to identify the cause of change, as Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Broadcast news services cannot bring us all the changes. There are too many changes from too many diverse sources. News agencies are busy chasing down nothing more than political frivolity and gossip. Most viewers aren’t interested in change; viewers are interested in viewing frivolity and gossip which require little thought and action. Yet change rumbles the ground beneath us. Rock solid virtuosity is changing to flowing currents of ineptitude. Human life is in the midst of the largest quake in human history.

Ancient Mariner

 

Health Care – Captive of Capitalism

 

Mariner wrote a post recently that said the first thing to fix in health care is its costs. In the nineties, administrators and a new breed of eager MBAs decided to change how health care was billed. Instead of the old-fashioned idea of billing based on cost, health services henceforth will bill what the market will bear.

Mariner visited a health care person (doctor) who prescribed a medicine (pharmaceutical industry) that costs $10,000 each month. Health insurance companies don’t cover this medicine – even they recognize fraud when they see it. Mariner does not intend to accept a health care policy that says, for all intents and purposes, “Wait. Don’t die yet; let us take your assets first – then you can die.” Mariner has no intention of following this advice.

Nevertheless, Chicken Little is pacing about. The destructive President, GOP controlled Congress, state governments, and a conservative Supreme Court bode disregard for common class quality of life in the future. The primary advisors to Congress are the health insurance companies who desire only to maximize profits with no regard for social responsibility – after all, it’s a health service… Of course, all US governments are not interested in social responsibility either – only profit. Obama took the leash off Big Pharma in order to pass the Affordable Care Act; someone must catch them soon and put them back on the inadequate leash they had.

Health insurer CEOs made big bucks in 2016:

Michael Neidorff     $32,161,754

Centene Corp.

Bruce Broussard    $17,019,300

Humana

Mark Bertolini        $41,676,887

Aetna

Stephen Hemsley  $33,368,652

UnitedHealth Group

Joseph Swedish      $17,057,940

Anthem

David Cordani        $21,990,392

Cigna Corp.

Dr. J. Mario Molina  $3,816,395

Molina Healthcare

Kenneth Burdick      $4,687,059                             Source: U.S. Securities and

WellCare Health Plans                                            Exchange Commission documents

Ancient Mariner

Drive On.

For several reasons including fuel efficiency, more electric vehicles, and the degradation of tax value because of inflation, the fuel tax at the pump may be on its way out. Ready to pay by the mile? Below is an excerpt from Atlantic Magazine’s ‘city scape’ section.

“The national gas tax has been, for many years, a “third rail” for tax-averse Republicans and Democrats alike. Americans pay Uncle Sam 18.4 cents per gallon at the pump, a number that hasn’t budged since 1993 as lawmakers are loathe to levy what many view as a regressive fee.

Every year the Highway Tax Fund drags with it a multi-billion dollar shortfall. The Congressional Budget Office estimates it’ll be up to $18 billion from 2021 through 2026.

Taxing miles instead of fuel better matches the current transportation landscape: This is, after all, an era where technology is rewriting the rules on how people move, and how they relate to transportation.

The mileage fee, or VMT tax—seems to be one whose time has come. The tax reorients the transportation “product” that users are paying for with a philosophy more in step with how people travel now. Simply put, drivers pay for their travel based on a per-mile rate. It’s almost like slapping a toll on every road, except that mileage could be measured and billed based on a low-fi transponder, or a high-tech piece of cellphone gadgetry. Drivers could alternatively pay through a one-time annual fee, if they hate the feeling of being “tracked.”

Mileage fees would still need to be kept up with inflation, but they wouldn’t be sensitive to gains in fuel efficiency. They could also be adjusted to reward environmentally sensitive vehicle choices, and policymakers could send chunks of VMT tax revenues towards transit investments, so the fees needn’t be punitive or regressive.”

– – – –

Hope Exists!

Sometimes, when things are at their darkest, something will occur that renews our hope. Hope is a critical survival tool; without it, life fails, if not ends. Michael Bloomberg (NY ex-Mayor) and Carl Pope (a former executive director of the Sierra Club) bring us a book full of hope. Despite the ravaging of the EPA, the abusive priority for fossil fuels, the cutting of funding for all things reasonable and humane, progress continues to be made. Even the natural forces of supply and demand ignore the Administration’s policy abuses.

The book: Climate of Hope, How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet, Bloomberg and Pope,

ISBN: 9781250142078

ISBN-10: 1250142075

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: April 18th, 2017

Pages: 272

“We are writing this book because we believe that it’s time for a new type of conversation about climate change.”

The premise throughout is that businesses, cities and market forces are operating independently of the Federal Government. Mayors, in particular, see cost saving technology beyond coal and other fossil fuel solutions; there is more to be gained in local economies if renewable fuels are used – in some cases at near zero cost.

The book documents the surprising use of renewable energy that already exists. All electricity generating plants have converted or plan to convert from coal to natural gas – a program pushed by Barack Obama.

– – – –

Facts.

The mariner’s curiosity noticed that we have created variations of facts. In the past, a fact was a fact, that is, something that physically occurred at a given point in time. Recently, more than one interpretation of fact has become common usage. Why is that?

Of course, the primary reason is that the current administration manages circumstances by lying. That’s a fact. The President will change a lie to fit the situation; Kellyanne Conway is famous for creating “alternative” facts. But it can’t all be blamed on the current administration.

Even before the President campaigned and took office, news programs – all news programs – added pundits and arbitrary experts to their programs. Older folk will remember that Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite didn’t have guests; they just gave the facts as they occurred. The facts were the news. Today, the news can’t be broadcast without panels, experts, even other news anchors that work for the same broadcaster. More often than not, it’s a newspaper’s interpretation of events that becomes the version of facts broadcast as ‘facts.’

The public has become accustomed, if not irritated, by politicians who, without difficulty, can create alternative facts about a fact to the degree everyone isn’t sure what the original fact is. Just ask a democrat and a republican to describe the new health bill pushed through the House. At the end of it all, does any voter know the facts? The facts about what?

Somewhat arbitrarily, the mariner submits a handbook with the different kinds of facts and how to spot them.

FACT. What really happened – no more, no less, no value judgments. More often than one may think, the original fact is difficult to identify. The best way to know a fact is to know the true source and the actual witnesses or creators of the fact. Too quickly, however, the trail cools as pundits, experts and politicians add their interpretations of what the original fact is.

ALTERNATIVE FACT. The interpretations of a fact provided by second and third sources. Commonly in broadcast news, this is everyone who did not have direct involvement when the fact occurred. In the day-to-day world, we call this gossip. An alternative fact is used by anyone with time to kill and someone to listen to their stories – especially if the story teller didn’t like the original fact. Rush Limbaugh actually makes his living this way; Saturday Night Live does, too.

FAKE NEWS (Fake Facts).

This isn’t about the fact itself. This is a term used by an individual to describe facts that are not beneficial to that individual. The administration’s cabinet has been using this phrase to disavow the information gathered by the Departments they intend to eliminate, for example, the EPA information about climate change is fake.

Ancient Mariner

 

The Rise of Authoritarianism.

Chicken Little is whimpering in the henhouse. He whimpers more loudly when another indication of encroaching authoritarianism occurs. Online access to the press already is shut down. Now it’s the knowledge, documentation and historical application of policies that are being selectively destroyed – especially in the EPA and Banking Secretariats as well as Health and Human Services – in all areas of government that do not agree with the new administration and eliminated at the hands of its Secretariat henchmen. One thinks of the valuable statuary, temples, mosques, and ancient documentation destroyed by the several wars in the Middle East. Is Donald no better?

What is global warming? Look it up on government EPA websites; it has been summarily erased on order of the Secretary, an oil advocate of ill repute as States Attorney of Oklahoma. Scientists in every discipline are rushing to replicate and distribute scientific information so it can’t be completely destroyed. Even NASA and NOAA are losing data and functionality. At this point, Donald has unleashed the Four Horsemen to wreak their havoc on anything unacceptable to the administration.

The nation waits apprehensively as destruction of a political culture is dismantled day by day. Citizens expected a repair to the phenomenon called Donald, a socially misfit King; citizens expected it would take some time. It has been long enough; destruction of knowledge, Constitutional rights, and under-the-table shenanigans with US banking and international money payoffs already occurs.

One would think every elected politician would be committed to shutting down the authoritarian attack on our nation. Instead the republican Congress tries to tear apart the one success of civil legislation by removing the financial underpinnings of the Affordable Care Act while at the same time dragging its feet on anything smelling of removing Donald.

The mariner has had much grief over the decades with an electorate that fails him. He has no confidence in the electorate now. He would be glad to say, “You voted for it. You deserve it.” But not everyone deserves this. Will the 2018 election be any different? Lord bless us if Donald and the four henchmen aren’t out of office by then. If they aren’t, blame the Republican Party – if it’s still allowed.

Ancient Mariner

 

Here and There

The mariner attended his county’s off-year caucus a few days ago. There were about 80 or so in attendance. As he told a friend, the room was full of millennials – from the last millennium. If the Democratic Party is to “capture” the Bernie crowd, the union crowd and the under thirty-five crowd, they have a long way to go in 20 months.

Credit is due the 20th century centenarians. They came from all over the county and the dialogue included fixing the election process across the state. A few comments focused on how to increase party voters but the insights were curtailed by the attendee’s ages and the chasm between 1940’s culture and that of 2017. In a letter to his Congressman a few weeks ago, mariner suggested organizing the party not from the core members but from the groups of advocates who already are vocal and active about important party centric issues.

As to Donald, his libertine and selfish lifestyle is beginning to weaken his command of the netherworld. Amos believes, though, the art of the deal will allow him to abscond without persecution.

Mariner can think only of Yuval Noah Harari’s philosophy[1] when he listens to Paul Ryan expound on the virtues of the new health bill replacing the Affordable Care Act. Paul was pleased that the funding scheme slowly squeezed out the poorer half of the citizenry and the elderly. As Seth Meyers asked, “Doesn’t he understand how insurance works?”

Still, as other nations can attest, an unbalanced population, whether economically or actuarially, is dangerous to a nation’s wellbeing. The US must identify the correct solution. Mariner believes the oligarchy must be disassembled. Harari would think the gesture hopeless.

 

LIBERAL ARTS SECTION

Mariner encourages the reader to develop a daily route of web sites that are useful, entertaining, informative, and feed the spirit. On the mariner’s route is an entertaining and sometimes whimsical stop called “Arts and Letters Daily.” The web site offers several articles in an email distribution once each week. Subscriptions are free.[2] This week’s list is replicated below:

 

Of Ice and Art

From Burke’s sublime to Freud’s unconscious to Hemingway’s theory of artistic ingenuity, the iceberg has come to represent the creative process. Why?

 

Against Everything

Professions colonize our imaginations. So thought Ivan Illich, who was against schools, medicine, transportation, law, psychotherapy, and the media.

 

In Praise of ‘Useless’ Knowledge

The best scientific minds — Einstein, Faraday, Planck — have been driven by curiosity and intellectual challenge, not practical applications.

 

Gender Matters

Think of a powerful person. You probably pictured a man. To empower women, a different way of thinking about power is called for. Mary Beard explains.

 

The Impediments of Style

Terry Eagleton’s writing proceeds by jokey elaboration, winking asides, and absurdist flights of fancy. It’s fun, but frustrating.

Copyright © 2017 Arts and Letters Daily, All rights reserved.

 

Ancient Mariner

[1] See recent posts, Samples that confirm Harari 3-9-17 and Yuval Noah Harari talks about the Future 2-22-17.

[2] See: http://us9.campaign-archive1.com/?u=8cbd654fc43afe6be9455ae3b&id=07ca33e09e&e=af427aa89f

Generalisms

Mariner has been writing often about myths. Myths are a legitimate, indeed critical part of religious understanding; without myths, the indescribable spirituality we draw from our faith would not be possible. From the same box of tools for explanation is the generalism.

Everyone uses generalisms every day. We use generalisms to express opinion without having to give a lecture and in the context that offering the generalism does not mean it is absolute. A simple and innocuous example is:

Larry says, “Hello, Tom. I plan to have a Thanksgiving dinner this year. What do I need?” One knows instinctively that Larry does not want a half-dozen recipes dictated or directions to the library or a show and tell about Tom’s last four Thanksgiving dinners. Tom uses a general statement to offer Larry an opinion: “Oh, maybe the common items are a turkey, potatoes and gravy, some vegetables and desert, like a pumpkin pie.” A generalism is an excellent means for expressing a large, unofficial collection of information. It should be noted that a generalism is not an idea; it is an assimilation.

Like myths, while absolutely critical to insightful communication, generalisms can be abused:

One can adopt a literal value for a general statement. This is called prejudice. Good or bad in intention, a generalism is not a specific, formulated entity; making a general statement innately means there are many exceptions and diverse perspectives included – one cannot legislate by means of generalism. It is this error that confronts Donald at every turn. Further, one cannot live a healthy and insightful life trying to act according to a set of prejudices.

One cannot infer a further generalism from an existing generalism. That is the same as executing a split-middle in a syllogism: All cats are four-legged animals; all horses have four legs; therefore all horses are four-legged animals. The derived generalism: all animals have four legs; ducks are animals; therefore ducks have four legs.

However, it is this abuse, building a generalism referencing another generalism that is the foundation of racial prejudice in the US: Whites are successful; blacks are less successful; therefore blacks are not the same as whites. The derived generalism: Successful whites are ambitious; blacks are not as successful; therefore blacks are not as ambitious. One can imagine the multiplicity of prejudice by those who believe generalisms to be literally true.

Broadcast news has drifted from investigative reporting to information of viewer interest, that is, generalisms and placating viewers. This weakness has allowed Donald, among many other misrepresented issues, capable of running an entire campaign and Presidency leveraging generalisms. Donald’s flamboyant pontifications were the news – invalidated by facts. News organizations have lost credibility as a consequence; individuals and legislation hurtful to our culture succeed without scrutiny or public awareness. Generalisms are not always the proper form of communication for the task at hand.

Three cheers and a gold plaque for NBC White House press reporter Peter Alexander when he corrected Donald’s claim to have the Electoral College’s highest win votes in history since Ronald. Peter had done his investigative homework and called out Donald on his blatantly touted falsehood; Donald wasn’t even fourth. Asked how the public could have faith in him if he lies, Donald said someone else gave him the information. Except for Peter, would the public have accepted the generalism not knowing the facts that make the generalism false and self-serving?

Generalisms are not facts, they are presumptions.

Yet, because the public prefers not to spend time postulating and judging facts, generalisms are more entertaining therefore draw a larger viewer share. As the official prevaricator of information, broadcast news owes the public more than entertaining generalisms. A condition lasting several generations, the public will require therapy to restore the requirement for facts.

[The first news center was converted from a public service to a profit center in 1977 (20/20). By the late 80’s all news was competing for profit rather than better news based on facts.]

The public has become lax about being correctly informed – paradoxically, during an era when more facts are free, more information is quickly accessible and more available than ever. If the news won’t investigate, the viewer is vulnerable unless the viewer decomposes news generalisms into the ‘facts’ that may or may not support them.

Ancient Mariner

 

Election Postscript

The 2016 election has left the nation deflated. A citizen, no matter their ilk, can take only so much wear immersed in politics, morality, philosophy, culture and other esoteric, massless issues none of which ever produce absolutes a citizen can count on. Alas, the wear has only begun. One segment of the nation’s politic, a narrow one, will feel positive about the outcome of the election: the upper and middle class far right. One pundit on CBS television said “We have a President with no ideological direction appointing intense ideologues as Secretaries, supported by the most conservative and dominant Republican Congress since before the Great Depression.”

The largest losers are the faithful who voted for Donald. There’s an old saw that goes, ‘Why would a working class person ever vote Republican’? Fareed Zakaria had it right before the holidays: the electorate votes for the personality most like themselves; policy is not a factor. It is normal for voters to select preferable bits of gossip and campaign noise to support their opinion; 2016 saw uncontrolled abuse from the social media – Donald among them.

A tonic for the general public – and an important lesson in civics – is an interview of Jon Stewart by Charlie Rose that ran last November and was rerun on Bloomberg channel last week. Jon is no one’s court jester. His wit made him a leading personality in serious politics. Jon has a no-nonsense attitude about politics and feels all’s fair in love and war as the spirit and purpose of our democratic republic is hammered out by the electorate. “It’s a messy business,” he said, “but it’s our job to keep this country free rather than let it slip into something else.” He commented on his intense campaigning for the passage of a bill that would pay the medical bills of first responders on 9/11 by saying that if the government is doing something immoral or abusive, it’s everybody’s job to take action to set things right.

Mariner suspects not every political activist has the loyalty to the nation that Jon has. Typically, political activists are warriors for a cause; anyone with another opinion is a dangerous enemy. Once a voter absorbs his personal opinion, not even ISIL can change that opinion. Jon said this firm attitude is what it takes to run this country. However, it isn’t very intellectual. Donald said he could shoot someone down in the middle of Broadway, NY and not lose a vote. So it seems….

What our country is left with in the game of nations is a jump ball. Fortunately or unfortunately each nation has its own ball. The nation with the best overall game will win. Trouble is, our team just drafted teammates of Jerry West.[1]

Jon also said the democrats no longer represent the hometown citizen, the people each of us know next door or in our family. Every time a labor union is busted or a right to work law is passed by state and local governments, it continues to weaken an already bad situation for the working class. The only solution is to strengthen the local democratic presence in order to elect democratic candidates who will support labor friendly legislation; in other words remove redistricting completely from party-sensitive control. Accomplish that and the rest will be easy.

 

REFERENCE SECTION

Mary Noble interviews Arlie Russell Hochschild

THE MORNING AFTER Trump’s victory, The New York Times recommended “6 Books to Help Understand Trump’s Win.” Number two on the list was Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, by Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild. The book takes us to Louisiana, where Hochschild spent five years among Tea Party voters who have suffered at the hands of the oil industry. It’s people like these that have become Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters. Hochschild explores the emotional logic behind what she calls their “deep story”: they believe that the government helps minorities “cut ahead of them in line,” while liberal America mocks their values[2]

This book and the interview are a humanistic and thought provoking look at the intimate experiences of those citizens who have nowhere to turn for a future. We may think of them as misguided or uneducated. But the truth is, the truth is, they have come to us and discovered there is nowhere to turn. If Donald can rock the boat and make a crack in the vast unresponsive firmament, maybe there will be a place to go. It was their last hope.

Ancient Mariner

[1] Jerry West played basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1950’s and 60’s – the implication being the new nation’s leaders still abide by political philosophies and problem recognition that existed over sixty years ago.

[2] Quote from Los Angeles Review of Books, https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/reaching-out-not-backing-down-an-interview-with-arlie-russell-hochschild

Everyone should have a Financial Bomb Shelter

Things are getting a little too uneasy. It’s one thing to read about a war zone and another to be in one. Donald is showing his real persona: He is a sleazy con-man with no morality. He has abandoned his base lock, stock and barrel. All he wanted were their votes. Now he doesn’t care. His cabinet and staff picks are fellow selfish autocrats with whom he has dealt for decades. Mariner hears echoes of Reagan appointments when the Secretaries did not believe in the virtues of the Secretariats they were appointed to and brought an end to a democratic foundation fostered since FDR.

This is worse. There is a foul smell about. The mariner fears that the Republic itself is at risk. No one has hit Donald between the eyes with a steel bar to tell him he can’t mix personal business with public trust. He will find a way. In fact, if he brings a few more plutocrats and generals aboard, Donald can meld the Republic and his business empire into one objective: make money for the team. Screw the public trust.

Meanwhile Paul Ryan and Mitch the Turtle are unencumbered in their plans to disassemble the remnants of the whole concept of discretionary spending.

Will it become so distressful that truly in fact the US will have a problem with emigration as citizens follow their jobs into other countries? If we are incapable of managing our own freedom because an international mafia has taken the country, what else are we to do? There’s one option: turn the second amendment militia loose.

Mariner suspects Donald is having difficulty appointing a Secretary of State because of two circumstances: first, Donald is in up to his armpits with shady deals worse than he accused Clinton of during the campaign; the Secretary of State will be exposed to Donald’s illegalities and un-American financial ties with adversaries to the US. Second, there is no doubt that his ‘friends’ overseas are hardnosed friends just as he is and should things not go as expected, the result won’t be sharing ice cream cones. US military will be put into action for less than scrupulous causes.

Out of harm’s way as change slowly approaches us, Amos[1] has casually warned about increasing tension and feelings of imminent risk. Amos has warned about the confusion and turmoil of the moment of chaos. Similar to global warming, change is here – now.

Donald et al will cause great damage to us. Think North Korea. How can this be stopped?

Ancient Mariner

[1] One of mariner’s 3 alter egos; fashioned after Prophet Amos in the Old Testament. Amos is always complaining about the quality of our behavior.

How High the Moon?

Who among us remembers this song when it was popular? Les Paul and Mary Ford made a hit of it and the Beatles covered it in their era.[1]

We on Earth, for the most part, pay little attention to the Moon except as an ornament in the sky. Many are educated in a general way about the Moon’s role in the creation of the Earth – an unimaginable clash of two giant spheres colliding head-on thereby creating an Earth-sized piece and a Moon-sized piece; The Moon ended in orbit around the Earth and set the Earth on an angle that created Earth’s seasons and continues to affect tides not only in water but in Earth itself.

Here is an intriguing update on Moon stuff: The Moon is drifting away from Earth each year by the same distance as our fingernails grow in a year, about 2½ inches. Balanced in a strange pirouette (both spin), the two bodies are held in place by gravity and pulled apart by centrifugal force. Evidently but very slowly, centrifugal force is stronger and eventually will pull the Moon out of its Earth orbit. What will happen next is not agreed upon by astronomers and astrophysicists. Will the Moon simply fly away into space, leaving the Earth an unrestrained pirouette wobbling uncontrollably around the Sun? At some distance will the Moon find neutrality and settle into a new orbit? As the Moon lessens the balance held today, will polar wobbling on Earth become an issue? Stay tuned.

– – – –

When mariner was a young rebellious teenager, his favorite comic book was Mad Magazine. Mad is a disrespectful, ill mannered publication that holds no restraints with its tasteless satire and mockery. Fortunately, Mad is still around[2]; there are times when only Mad’s commentary is equal to reality. In honor of Mad, here is the latest cover:

mad

– – – –

Mariner hasn’t taken a tour of his Internet/magazine reading list for awhile. Every so often he offers a list of websites that constitute a decent review of most of the subjects that fill our lives. Here forthwith:

Politics, Economy and Public News

http://www.politico.com/  …….everything newsy and active in politics

https://www.theatlantic.com/  and the paper edition…….mariner ranks Atlantic as a premier data source for today’s busy, changing world

http://fivethirtyeight.com/  …….a statistical look at many subjects by the numbers

http://www.nytimes.com/  (New York Times) and the paper edition…….world-encompassing coverage of news

http://www.pbs.org/  …….At the website one feels they are in a library. True! Pick your subject

http://bloomberg.rapid-news.cool-links.georgemoen.tel/  …….top notch cable series Reality, Big Problems, Big Thinkers

http://www.economist.com/ and the paper edition…….best common sense reading about the state of economics

https://www.c-span.org/  …….tens of thousands video clips, articles, and programs

 

Science, Technology and the Future

http://www.livingscience.com/  ……eclectic collection of information from scientific sources; written for light reading

http://www.nature.com/news/  and the paper edition…….serious articles about new positions taken on any scientific subject

https://www.scientificamerican.com/  and the paper edition…….many articles about science frontiers and how they affect humanity

http://bloomberg.rapid-news.cool-links.georgemoen.tel/  numerous social, scientific and general interview shows of excellent quality

 

Literature and the Arts

Bloomberg Television   interviews and presentations of operas, artists, sculptors, etc.

http://www.aldaily.com/  (Arts and Letters Daily) source of URLs to numerous artists and other literary news

https://www.wikipedia.org/ …….can’t be beat for detailed review of language, arts, music, writing, philosophy and their histories

 

Health

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/ …….satisfying survey of current issues

http://www.webmd.com/news/default.htm ……. catch some news and use their libraries to check on your symptoms

 

Social Sciences and History

http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/  and the paper edition, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/

https://www.wikipedia.org/ the best, most comprehensive data source on the Internet

 

Entertainment

Science TV Channel (Outrageous Acts of Science)

http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/politicalcartoons/ig/Political-Cartoons/Debate-Gotcha-Question.htm#step-heading …….even in these troubled times, a visit is comforting

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/cartoons/cartoons_of_the_week/ …….another rewarding stop

Mariner recommends making a quick stop at the list every week or so or when you have an interest in a specific issue.

 

Ancient Mariner

 

[1] To listen, see: http://www.last.fm/music/Les+Paul+&+Mary+Ford/The+Best+Of+The+Capitol+Masters

[2] http://www.madmagazine.com/