Saturday, September 26, 2009

What is the Alternative?

We are slaves to fossil fuels.

And why not? They are currently the most efficient producers of energy. Be they coal, oil, natural gas, or whatever, there is currently no viable alternative.

Doubt me? Consider.

Wind power: I recently went on vacation through Ontario. I saw what wind farms look like. Giant towering turbines that thrill on first glance, then simply become eyesores that produce little return for great investment.

Solar: A pipe dream. Unless and until the energy eggheads develop the perfect solar panel that can defeat cloud cover, it will never work.

Nuclear: Will always be dangerous and toxic. Nuclear power will never be safe until Fusion is here. Fusion is the energy of the future--and it always will be.

So we are stuck with burning our fossil fuels until they run out. We don't have an alternative. And when they do run out, we will be forced back into a simpler existence. Maybe not within my lifetime, but it will happen.

Maybe not. There may be some egghead someday soon that will solve this problem, hopefully before my nephews are forced to deal with it.

God, I hope so.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009



What do I see when I tune my non-cable television?

ABC: Obama's speech to Congress.
CBS: Obama's speech to Congress.
NBC: Obama's speech to Congress.
PBS: Obama's speech to Congress.
FOX: So You Think You can Dance.

If anyone at this point thinks that Fox is not a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party, please consider how many times Fox didn't show a speech and/or Press conference given by George W. Bush.

Monday, September 07, 2009

A Trend I'd Like to End

I have a bad habit.

I have this notorious tendency to avoid seeing CG animated movies in theaters.

This habit has caused me to miss seeing any number of quality films over the last 2 decades. They are, in no particular order: Toy Story (1 & 2), Shrek (All), The Incredibles, Cars, Finding Nemo, Bolt, Monsters Inc., A Bug's Life, and many, many others.

(I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not gonna link to those. I'm not your damn search engine!)

You see, I am a reasonably mature adult, and I have this deeply embedded fear of going to see any animated movie in a theater, for fear that I will be labeled a juvenile.

It's a fear that I am sure is shared with many other adults, and one that I and others need to get over.

Typically, these CG animated features are of the highest possible quality, if for no other reason than that the sheer effort involved in producing them ensures that no CG project will be greenlighted if there is no assurance to the producers that it will profit them. Seriously. These things typically take over 2 years to produce and can involve dozens or even hundreds of people, an investment of time and effort practically unheard of in Hollyweird.

Now. I have seen all of the above mentioned movies at home, on DVD. And they were all tremendously entertaining. I can't imagine what it must have been like to see them on a Movie screen.

So the next big CG film that comes out, I will be there. I promise. Really.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Great Lakes

Recently I was on a vacation trip to Manitoulin Island in Ontario (Canada)

(In case you wondered what or where that is, check here).

It's a very nice place. It can get a bit cold at night, which is not surprising considering it is roughly at the same latitude as Northern Minnesota and Michigan's Upper Peninsula (places where summer typically lasts about a week and a half). But there are several nice beaches and plenty of sights to see, and a whole lot of isolated spots for folks who want to get away from civilization (the largest town on the island contains roughly 1800 people--there are more deer than people living on this island.)

Or, at least, there WERE several nice beaches.

You see, the Great Lakes are at their lowest level in decades. So all over the island, what were once pristine sandy beaches are now mosquito-infested, goose-crap covered swamps, teeming with bacteria (I picked up a bacterial infection from one of them that landed me in the emergency room.)

This fact should scare everyone on a number of levels. The Great Lakes account for roughly 22% of the world's supply of fresh water. They supply water to nearly every state and province that touches one of them. And they are being heavily overused.

They also act as a conduit for international shipping, which is a source of invasive species that threaten their delicate ecosystems.

Anyway, to make a long story short: Humans are slowly and systematically killing the Great Lakes. And if we don't stop doing it, the Great Lakes region is going to face a water crisis that is going to make what the western states are going through look like a 2-week drought in comparison.