More about Swamps and Glaciers

If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere
[CityLab] “Don’t sneeze: It looks like New York may finally become the first city in the United States to introduce congestion pricing on its streets. The New York Times reports that state leaders have reached a consensus to put electronic tolls in place for drivers entering the most heavily jammed parts of Manhattan. Politically speaking, the idea has come a long way since 2008, when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg floated a version of congestion pricing that was seen then as a non-starter.”
–> Anyone who travels major highways around the US has observed electronic toll gates where a driver does not need to pay cash but has a pre-paid pass that reads the pass as the vehicle drives through the turnstiles. Some toll roads don’t want any cash but photograph the license plate of non-pass drivers; the driver gets a bill via the US Postal Service.
New York City has a two-fold issue: Manhattan traffic jams last all day and the solution is supposed to be a modern, civilized subway. The congestion toll will help pay for subway construction that is over budget in astronomical numbers. If one has need or simply plans to visit NYC, definitely use commercial transportation – leave the car at home.
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Mariner has a few friends who are preparing to move into retirement communities. One easily can relate to the confrontation of which books to keep, which memorabilia, large and small and dear to the heart and maybe belonged to a beloved grandmother, to dispose of or to keep. Will there be room to keep the entire collection of photograph albums, LPs and 45s? And clothes, and yard equipment, and furniture and . . . The agony of it all.
It occurs to mariner that changing a life style is as difficult as changing from one cultural age to another. Much faster, of course, than the decades it takes to make cultural changes in perceived ethics, economics, and life values in every family and business that is affected.
Many consider the decades after World War II to be the Golden Age of American history, the time when ‘The Greatest Generation’ lived. WWII expedited change by bombing every nation from Norway to Mozambique and from France to the islands of the Pacific. Mariner has mentioned before that many sociologists believe there is a fifty to sixty-year life cycle to a given culture – give or take a few years. This includes small towns, cities, nations and today many nations at once. The sixty-year cycle seems to hold up in recent history:
– From the War of 1812 to the Civil War (58 years).
– From the Civil War to World War II (75 years).
– From World War II to the Vietnam War (50 years).
– From the Vietnam War to the Iraq War (45 years).
It is a shame that cultural life cycles can be measured loosely as the time between wars. It seems the entire planet is at war right now; in fact that’s true. Only 11 nations out of 182 are not at war. The advantage living humans have is that they are aware that more is happening than just war. War is a simplistic and cruel way to respond to insecurity but in the midst of the gunpowder and espionage, people are changing their values. As the values change, increasing pressure is brought to bear on government, business, economic law and daily life to change as well.
And so it is that the US is in a bipolar state: what cultural behaviors and rules will be kept? Which will be thrown out? What are the new rules? Like it or not, the US is at a time similar to mariner’s friends; the nation is moving to a new culture.
Ancient Mariner

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