Wow, just four days ago Justice Clarence wrote that there should be tighter regulations on social media – This from Axios:

New rules from tech companies are making it harder for users who commit crimes in the real world to become famous online, Sara Fischer and Stephen Totilo write:

“Twitch, the Amazon-owned livestream platform used primarily by gamers, yesterday unveiled a new policy to take action against users in cases of “severe misconduct” off its platform.

That can include deadly violence, terrorist activities or recruiting, credible threats of mass violence, sexual exploitation of children, sexual assault or membership in a hate group.

Why it matters: This more holistic approach may help tech companies protect themselves against criticism for hosting potentially harmful people or groups.

But it’ll be harder to draw the line on activity that’s harder to define as explicitly illegal, including bullying.”

From Protocol:

Pinterest has some new guidelines, called the “Creator Code,” meant to set the tone for how people operate on the platform. It’s also giving creators more tools to remove content and promote good stuff.

Facebook is all-in on context. It’s testing a system that adds labels like “satire page” or “public official” to posts in the News Feed, in an effort to give people more information about what they’re seeing and why.


Also from Axios: America’s financial titans are coming to a consensus: We are on the early edge of the biggest economic boom since World War II, with the promise of years of growth after the privation of the pandemic.

Why it matters: They might be wrong. But all point to the same data: This expansion will be kick started by trillions in spending from presidents Trump and Biden, the Fed’s easy money, and piles of cash that consumers and companies accumulated during COVID shutdown.


Amazon warehouse workers turn down union.

The majority of Amazon’s workers in Bessemer, Ala., voted against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. 5,800 people work at Amazon’s Bessemer facility and 3,215 cast ballots in the election. The union is filing papers with the National Labor Relations Board because of unfair practices by Amazon in the campaign.


China commissioned 38.4 gigawatts (GW) of coal-power plants in 2020. That compares to the rest of the world shutting down 37.8GW of coal plants – the first coal energy increase since 2015.


It has been proven that muons have magnetic characteristics. This changes everything in particle physics.

– – – –

Does the reader feel like an earthquake is starting? Futurists claim this will be a turbulent century and it’s only 2021. Mariner believes this century will be as significant in change as the fifteenth century was for Europe.

Ancient Mariner

Have you heard the (ugh) news?

World news, US news, local news, human news, environment news – all are disturbing. Is it the disorganization of global humanity? Perhaps it’s that there is nothing that is improving or that so much individual suffering is about and in our conscious thought. In any case, news is depressing and leaves us at loose ends.

Add to the lack of a meaningful life in historical terms the extreme oppression brought about by the virus. Jobs, relationships and self-esteem have been crushed – even life itself has been taken from so many.

Where is our victory train? Where is satisfaction? Where are seamless good times? It was bigger news than would have been typical when the roller rink reopened in a nearby town. How starved are we to experience enjoyment that a roller rink is headline news? Mariner was so thirsty for good times he reminisced for a minute or two about his good times at roller rinks. That was more than sixty years ago!

To be more abstract about it, we are like the mouse in a very large, complex maze where progress cannot be measured until the successful completion of the maze. Similar to the mouse, we have only our faith in ourselves, our ability to remain humane and courteous, our tenacity at remaining sane even in a social vacuum, and our commitment to accomplishment – if only to survive.

When one thinks about it, that list is a tall order indeed. But it is duty, it is our charge, the rules of life’s game. It is the path to survival.

Anthropologist Joe Campbell had it right when he said our lives are like a hero’s path. Let’s hope at the end of the journey we can all be in one of those exuberant beer commercials.

Ancient Mariner

Some of this, some of that

֎ Strolling about on the search engine, as is mariner’s wont, he came across an infrequent word that took him back to college/preacher days when he was reading about religion, philosophy and logic and as a preacher, dealing with religious understanding as part of his job. The word is ‘theodicy’. Mariner had to search for a while but he found a post written in 2016 about this very topic. The subject of theodicy had been raised when one of his nonagenarian friends used the word. Mariner was surprised that someone actually knew this word and its context in theology. A discussion ensued about the goodness of God, whether goodness was derived from human experience and other obtuse considerations.

The next day mariner wrote the post in an effort to settle the meaning of the term theodicy. Mariner provides the reference if you are curious about theodicy; be forewarned that there definitely is no room for emoji and other iconery. [Go to the Home page and search “Theodicy and Secularism” posted March 19, 2016.]

֎ On a less esoteric front, March is upon us. Living on the 40th parallel, small thoughts of gardening, shrub pruning and weed killing poke into consciousness. This past winter was unusual in that there was significant snow cover for about three to four weeks. This snow just now is disappearing as the Sun’s rays melt it away.

Having the snow cover for so long has been hard on small wildlife. Mariner’s shrubbery has exceptional damage caused by hungry rabbits, eating some smaller shrubs to the ground. Rabbits are one of those creatures nature put in place so predators would have something to eat. In a town, there are no indigenous predators.

Sometimes a fox will take residence in town; they are excellent predators. Once in a while the few Redtail hawks will capture a young rabbit and sometimes one of the few feral cats will catch one. None of these predators, however, do enough damage to control rabbit population. In his defense, mariner has become a predator, too. But he isn’t any better at killing rabbits than all the other town predators. So it will be another year of cursing the rabbit in the yard because the rabbit is between mariner and his rifle.

֎ Moving on to more serious matters, mariner wrote in a few posts about the need to have multiple nations bond together administratively in order to manage global issues. An early, embryotic move in this direction is how nations are dividing chores among themselves to deal with China. Note this paragraph from Politico:

“COUNTERING CHINA WITH … MODULAR SECTORAL ALLIANCES? The Wall Street Journal reports progress within the Biden administration on how to organize containment of China. According to the report, alliances would be sectoral and the members would differ with each issue. The core alliance members would be the G-7 countries, with others added according to need: a modular model that avoids new bureaucratic institutions and resembles calls for a T-10 group of democratic tech allies. For example, Israel on tech and artificial intelligence, or India on trade issues. Don’t expect that every country will announce their participation.”

Ancient Mariner

Life as a Supernumerary

Is the reader familiar with the word ‘supernumerary’? Mariner first read the word in his college days reading about ancient Japanese culture instead of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In ancient Japanese culture, there was a ritual celebrating the wisdom and contribution an individual made throughout their lifetime. At a time when the person was retiring or, more accurately, when the person wasn’t part of the mainstream of things anymore, they were promoted to the status of a supernumerary. It was a positive, honorable acknowledgement. A supernumerary was one who was approached for advice in those few times when elderly wisdom was needed.

For the record the dictionary says: supernumerary – “exceeding what is necessary, required or desired.” Today’s use of the word doesn’t seem to capture the same elegance implied by the ancient Japanese.

Mariner has declared himself a supernumerary (along with everyone else over 75). A supernumerary does not understand contemporary social principles. Readers know that mariner laments the approaching reality suggested by the Matrix movies – a life totally controlled by artificial intelligence. To this end, mariner must share two cartoons from The New Yorker. The first speaks for itself and represents mariner’s greatest fear:

The combined effect of smart telephones, radio, television, computers, internet and social media is that the meaning of life does not come from individual experience. If one was born before this electronic invasion, one remembers discovering life from individual experience. True, life was quite parochial and limited to existential experience but the meaning of life began within an individual’s own brain without the puppet strings of Big Data. The second cartoon speaks to this disparity:

The cartoon speaks to mariner because he was one of the last to have creased jeans with a two-inch cuff. To supernumeraries this cartoon speaks to a time when reality was very much more intimate with human labors and experience. Even the labor of pulling a book from the shelf and turning pages to educate one’s self has been reduced to a thumb scrape or two.

A clear example of disparate social values is the current identity crisis that consumes our daily life, allows wealth to be increasingly unbalanced and causes political wars where there is no compromise. Many say that the only hope is to have unity in our nation. But what does unity mean? What does it feel like? How will citizens behave without populist values? Part of the problem of creating unity is that no one knows what it means to be unified.

Supernumerary folks know. If one experienced World War II that was a time when the nation was unified. America came first – even before citizens chose their groceries, automobiles, vacations, even when to turn all houselights off. Every neighborhood had social clubs for soldiers and sailors; mariner’s father held a weekly dance for the military from Fort Meade and the navy crews in Baltimore harbor. Good cuts of meat were not available in grocery stores because the meat went to the Armed Services. Gasoline was limited to three gallons per month. Women were the majority in factories. Enlisted men had free seats on trains.

Are the younger citizens ready for unity? Can they put aside their populism? It took a world war to unify the United States. There is another war today but it is not bullets. It is climate change, complete restructuring of society and jobs and creating the reality implied by phrases like “All men are created equal.”

If one is not a supernumerary, one has no frame of reference for the responsibilities of national unity.

Ancient Mariner

Do you remember that time when . . .

There is an advertisement on television at the moment that shows a group of young people doing the limbo at night under the colored lights of a hamburger shack. Seeing this caught mariner’s full attention. He had a flashback to the very same scene at a beach on the Magothy River in Maryland. He won the contest that night; perhaps that’s why he has bad knees today.

Continuously we are confronted by realists, psychologists and others who attack our good memories. “It wasn’t as good as you remember it.” Or, “You don’t remember how insecure you were then.” Or, “Isn’t that the time your father grounded you for two weeks for not coming home until the next afternoon?” Remember what Victor Hugo said, “Melancholy is the joy of depression.”

Who cares? What is important is that what builds the libido are those moments of joy, success and fulfillment as we grow up. Supposedly, the typical human stops ‘growing up’ in their mid-twenties but the memories of childhood, good or bad, will be who we think we are for the rest of our lives.

Today, those youthful experiences buried in our libido are constrained as we live trapped in our homes, hidden behind personality-erasing masks and unable to enjoy the collegiality of close conversation. Our common experience is missing a large chunk of normalcy; our ability to express who we are is shut down. Is it because we can’t emulate the expectations of our libido?

Mariner, for one, gleaned every drop of enjoyment and memory from that advertisement. For a thin moment, he had a good time.

Ancient Mariner

The long and short of it

This one is long: The first ‘human’ to evolve was Homo habilis who appeared 2.4 million years ago and survived for about 1 million years. A similar neighbor who came along about the same time was H. rudolfensis, who survived only for 100 thousand years. The first truly upright was H. Erectus who evolved 2 million years ago and survived until just 110 thousand years ago – about 2 million years. Today’s H sapiens came aboard 90,000 years ago and still is around. Just food for thought – will H. sapiens survive for one or two million years?

This one is uncomfortably short: If the United States were a sailing ship adrift at sea and President Biden took command, he has about six months to right the ship and reset the sails before international meetings and conferences will occur that will determine the ship’s course back to a role that leads in the race to the next decade. Righting the ship involves taming the pandemic and new rigging in Congress that can get things done.

This one is too long: Lingering with the ship metaphor, there are two storms at sea – the nation’s economy and the dangerous waves of Big Tech. It will take long enough to restart the economy that it will influence the 2024 election. Can the new sails and rigging hold? Big tech requires shifting ballast around below deck, which is restructuring taxes for the too rich investors and corporations, keeping the ship at good speed in choppy seas.

Really short: Donald Who? Don’t worry, he’ll be back as his business dealings and a number of investigations involving unconstitutional behavior reopen without the protection of executive privilege. However, we should not be zealous about whatsisname, we have a ship to sail.

Did you hear the Bosun’s whistle? Every citizen to their station!

Ancient Mariner


It’s a New World

While the western world has survived the beginning of the twenty-first century more or less intact, getting organized for the rest of the century makes it seem as if the destruction of the Middle East is more descriptive.

Hopefully, Guru envisions a burst of energy, jobs and economy as the whole world responds to climate change, repairing infrastructure and shifting world economies in a way that will stave off international disruption through abuse of the Internet and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the global imbalance between the wealthy and the starving.

These tasks all are international and the wringing of hands and claims of the apocalypse will be part of the experience. It will be like training one’s wayward feet to fit into a new pair of shoes – if not painful at least uncomfortable.

Nations and their resources, unfortunately, do not drive the schedule of recovery. Every issue is at a critical stage such that avoiding catastrophe is the order of the day rather than casually planning new ideas with time to perfect them.

For the sake of brevity, mariner will describe only one issue – the one issue that ignores politics, economies and cultures; it is the most disruptive of the several critical issues: Climate Change.

We should be thankful that the pandemic has given the world practice at dealing with worldwide apolitical issues. Like the pandemic, climate change is no longer an issue of local environmental regulation and politics. It has become a global condition, an instability at the core of an environment that sustains all life. It is difficult to get excited about climate change because it is so slow in the manner by which it changes the environment. Mariner compares it to how sloping shoulders develop over decades of aging, one day at a time, one tiny increment of spine curvature each day. Then suddenly there is back pain and limitations of flexibility. The world already feels the pain of climate change.

Flooding of low lying land around the world already has become a crisis in many parts of the world: 11 million people in Bangladesh have lost two years of crops as the tides invade and stay longer each season; many populated islands around the world will disappear in this century; six large key cities in the United State will be overrun by rising seas – Miami already has in place city-wide pumping stations and drains to accommodate high tides.

Rising seas are caused by a warming atmosphere that melts the polar ice reserve. Being unusually warm, the atmosphere has extra energy for storms and, globally, the jet streams are shifting enough to begin changing agriculture on all the continents.

The following paragraph is a report from Forbes magazine:

“By 2050, sea-level rise will push average annual coastal floods higher than land now home to 300 million people, according to a study published in Nature Communications. High tides could permanently rise above land occupied by over 150 million people, including 30 million in China. Without advanced coastal defense and planning, populations in these areas may face permanent flooding within 30 years.”

The entire report is worth reading and has maps of where US cities will be flooded. See:


Storms get stronger

Data: NOAA. Graphic: Reuters

With climate change, hurricanes overall are moving more slowly, meaning they can linger for longer over land, causing more damage. —Reuters

The temperature, as a daily personal experience, will be much warmer. In the United States the entire sweep of Gulf States will become very hot with frequent temperatures over 100°. Not only will agriculture be forced to relocate, so will the people. This means that hinterland cities will receive large migrations of people and jobs moving north. Retiring to the southern shores will no longer be a pleasant fantasy.

So Climate Change is a serious, immediate issue that will notably change weather, geography, agriculture, population centers and a reordering of governmental functions and responsibilities – and each citizen because the changes will be quite personal.

Mariner agrees that the confrontation is serious, perhaps greater than all the wars in US history. But. It is a new time to unify and tackle a big problem together. The world must succeed. Mariner is reminded of Rosie the riveter. Let’s wind up our sleeves, get beyond petty politics and personal agendas and get on with it.

Ancient Mariner

What do You Believe?

That is not an easy question to answer today. There are no clear hints about what is absolute or true or real. It used to be easier way back in the very old days. For example, if you lived 75,000 years ago, the only source of belief was one’s experiences with the natural environment. What was true was simply an anthropomorphic existentialism (Yes, writing about philosophy invokes the use of philosophical words – which is why novels dominate the retail book market). What ‘anthropomorphic existentialism’ means is that nature had its motives and you had yours. The interaction with nature was not always predictable; after all, nature thought for itself just like you did.

Interestingly, anthropomorphic existentialism easily lends itself to a way to measure whether you are a successful thing or not by the way nature, an uncontrollable power, treats you. This method of measuring success still exists in today’s world. Just one example among many, it is how monetized religion works today – if you give enough money to the television evangelist, you will be rewarded in kind by God (AKA nature). Speaking cynically, this con was developed by religious middle men from the beginning. Remember having to pay the church so your family could get out of purgatory? How about sacrificing your child in exchange for a good rainy season (AKA nature)? Given this perspective, it is understandable why military leaders pray to a supreme influence before going into battle.

Given some thought about it, one realizes the tit-for-tat relationship that even today requires some sacrifice or commitment on our part before a deal can be made. If Nature (God) is to be served today, what is our modern tit-for-tat? Is it global deforestation or contaminating air and water? Just food for thought; that’s what philosophy is good for.

Jumping forward a lot of years, humans learned enough about nature to define how nature thinks differently than we do. Nature says all living things are created and survive according to the rules of evolution – nature’s measure whether you behave well or not and deserve a tit-for-tat. Our species will thrive and be successful simply by following nature’s evolutionary playbook. Unfortunately, this is hard for us to do.

After 90 million years of evolving the hominin branch of living things, one hominin, Homo sapiens (us), began to do well using an extra amount of intelligence. We figured out a way to consume nature without participating in a tit-for-tat. In other words, instead of surviving like other life, which is living in balance with nature’s rulebook, we figured out a way to make a profit from nature without the balance part.

Nature is not petty or judgmental. The evolution rulebook was written in the very beginning; astrophysicists named the event ‘the big bang’ – the beginning of nature itself. So nature lets our existentialism play out. That means sooner or later, nature will claim its tit-for-tat.

So maybe anthropomorphic existentialism is the right belief. Functionally, what’s the difference between one child sacrificed and civilization sacrificed, functionally speaking. Quite like a reverse mortgage, don’t you think?

Ancient Mariner


Tiny Tidbits

֎ When oldtimers use the stairs, keep a hand floating along the bannister in case that trick knee jumps out or a slipper catches the stair. It is important, though, to use the legs to carry ALL the effort of ascending or descending – the more the bannister is used to disburse strain, the sooner the sense of balance is lost due to small leg muscles never having to balance under stress.

֎ The last environmentally balanced human species was Homo erectus who had mastered fire and stone tools. H. erectus, along with other hominins Neanderthal and Dennisovan, lived for two million years until 110 thousand years ago. H. sapiens, a trashier version, has existed only for 110,000 years but is not in balance with the environment.

֎ Mayo Clinic says the best treatment for insomnia is sunlight. Pills, it seems, aren’t very effective unless sleep is induced by nefarious narcotic means. Even on cloudy or cold days, go outside and stay there for a couple of hours. In cold weather, of course, dress accordingly.

֎ Speaking of human origins, the Australian aborigines moved to Australia 80,000 years ago and developed a characteristic of small, family-based tribes rather than assimilating into nations or empires. Today, aborigines are 3.8 percent of the Australian population.

֎ When using cast iron cooking pans or pots, make sure they have been seasoned at some point in a high temperature oven. Ask Alton Brown how to season iron. When washing, do not use soap. Use very hot running water and a putty knife or other stiff, straight blade, finishing with a vegetable brush. It is important to remove all recent oils and fats. When clean to the eye, wipe dry with paper towels or dry rags; sheen still should be visible. This method preserves the seasoning process and reduces sticking.

֎ Wasn’t it exciting to see Jupiter and Saturn in syzygy? Does the reader know that when the largest planets line up it affects Earth’s declination? When Jupiter talks the solar system listens because Jupiter is 14 percent of the planetary mass; add in Saturn and something is bound to happen. Every once in a while (this happened recently) Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and the Moon get in a line. When this happens, Earth’s declination is changed just a tiny bit. Humans won’t notice the change right away because it is a 96,000 year cycle combined with Earth’s wobble and the relationship of gases in the atmosphere – carbon being the main one. Long story short – Earth is headed for a major ice age in about 5,000 years. Ice ages last for about 150-200,000 years.

Ancient Mariner

It’s that easy time of night

The title is a quote from long, long ago when the local television station opened its late night movie show. For many viewers it was a successful ploy to sit back, relax, put the day behind them and get comfy – both physically and emotionally.

Mariner has discovered the same experience in a television series found on NETFLIX. It is called “The Repair Shop”, a show made in England. It is a simple show that has customers come to the shop to drop off family heirlooms that are in the worst possible shape. Specialists are available covering all sorts of skills such as woodwork, leather, porcelain, clocks, paintings, stained glass, even teddy bears and fire engines.

The tone of the program is focused on a no hurry attitude, is set in a romantic setting of old thatched workshops, has a crew that is oblivious to any amount of detail required, and a soft-voiced narrator.

There is no way mariner can express the expertise of these craftsmen. Nor is there any way he can express their eagerness to engage in immense, tedious detail with the patience of the gods. Anxiousness is not known to these craftsmen because they glory in detail. Time is irrelevant, as well.

It is a perfect escape television show. These craftsmen have never experienced the tumultuous, angry, pressure-laden world the rest of us must endure. They haven’t been tarnished by politics, economy, or the stress of family life. They are perfectly content in a world of extreme detail and patience. – two behaviors the rest of us have no time for.

Mariner highly recommends “The Repair Shop” as an escape from dreary times. After all, it’s that easy time of night.

Ancient Mariner