Talkin bout my generation

Dick, Jane and Spot  go to school The redneck,is a boomers, people born between 1946 and the late 1950's.   We are called boomers because our parents had lots of kids, so they named us the baby boom.  Now that we are senior citizens the baby part was dropped.   An interesting thing about being a boomer is that apparently no one saw us coming, despite  census data that would have revealed that we were not sneaking up on anyone.   The most memorable thing about my school years is that every school I went to was under construction. Every one of my schools also  had 'portables' trailer park classrooms planted in the schoolyard.   One of my schools was so short of teachers it was staffed with old warhorses who should have been retired decades ago.  My grade 5 teacher used to fall asleep like clockwork every day, right after morning recess, he had to be at least 70 years old. When we got to College, it was the same as our school days.  Suburban 'community colleges' spra

Comparitive Religion

  The  Siberian Shaman Humanity's original religion was probably Animism.  Animists believe that all things living or dead have spirits, even inanimate objects like rocks, trees, rivers and motorcycles.  Animals hunted and killed for food, or trees cut down for construction projects have spirits too. It is OK to to kill the deer or cut down the oak but their spirits must be treated with proper respect.  The Redneck has been bitten, burned, tripped, and smacked by just about every inanimate object or living thing he failed to treat with respect.  Animism remains the religion of choice in remote inhospitable environments from the high arctic to steaming jungles and arid deserts, places where a good deal of respect for the things around you are needed for survival.  You might be a closet animist if you swear at hammers that hit your thumb, or if you gave your car a name other than the manufacturer or registry office supplied one.   According to Wikipedia, if asked for their religion, 

Mirror Mirror on the wall, Who is greenest of them all?

  This is a test. Which of these three vehicles do you think was responsible for the most carbon dioxide emissions per year in Alberta?  Each vehicle was listed for sale in the Alberta Kijiji on line marketplace in late April 2021, cherry picked by the Red Neck to make a point.  So if you smell a rat, you are correct.  The Tesla is only four years old as this is written, but has managed to rack up an impressive 171,000 kilometers.  The little Civic is also extremely well used, 480,000 km and counting.  The truck on the other hand, has accumulated 82,327 km over 7 years, which for Alberta means it's mostly a lawn ornament.  Comparison  will use the average mileage, or kilometerage per year for each vehicle, so the Tesla's impact will be based on 42,750 km per year,  Honda has been motoring along for 15 years, so 32,000 km PA, the dumb truck could only manage 11,761 diesel burning km a year.   But wait the Tesla is electric, so zero emissions right?  Well no, not exactly.  Batter

The Irrationality of Metric

  Officially Canada is 100% metric, but in reality our heights are in feet, we weigh ourselves in pounds, but we buy our steaks in kilograms and put liters in our gas tanks.  There are several good reasons to use imperial measure and some bad ones. The best reason for imperial is that we share many products with our imperialist cousins, the excitable states.  Most of the stuff we buy,  food weights or volumes, cooking temperatures, building products are manufactured, measured and sold in feet, inches, gallons, quarts, liquid ounces or in Canada as awkward conversions to metric no one uses, such as a 3.78 liter one US gallon can of paint.    A bad reason to use imperial might be old fartism, of which I could be guilty.  When I learned to measure it was in imperial, but stick with me a for a moment.  When the 18th century enlightenment era philosophes (bored French rich people) contemplated ridding society of archaic measuring standards, such as the length of some long dead king's f

How America became Un-Great

Charles Murray, a political scientist, is worried about social breakdown of the USA.  He has authored numerous books and articles criticizing social welfare policy and people who score low on IQ tests, especially if they weren't white.  Murray uses census and survey data to show what should by now be obvious to everyone familiar with the USA. Some people are doing spectacularly well, and a large number are seemingly locked into a downward mobility spiral from which there appears to be no escape.  This time he confines his observations to the white population to avoid muddying the waters with race, unlike a previous book, The Bell Curve . Murray attributes the  decline of the white working class to the breakdown of the two parent family, laziness, failure to attend church regularly and dishonesty, as in not respecting the law.  Distressingly, Murray notes that working class IQ and SAT (Scholastic Achievement Test) scores are getting lower. The upper middle class is also complici

Who is right about climate; a guide for non climate scientists

This was published a year ago, but went back to draft for some reason, so here we go again. The red neck remains not entirely convinced that one side or the other was right about climate. What swings me to the agnostic side are things like the University of Alberta's apparent firing (officially she resigned) of their Vice President of Community Relations for daring to suggest that global warming might not be all bad.  To put this into context, the University of Alberta is located in Edmonton.  Edmonton has the dubious distinction of being the farthest north city of more or less one million population in the western hemisphere.  Winters here are long and cold, anyone who can flees south for winter, including many of our birds.  Despite all this, Edmontonians in the public eye are supposed to profess that even here warming will be catastrophic or risk their career and reputation. Alberta also has oil and gas, lots of it, including the infamous tar sands.  Alberta has long been

Yet another inconvenient truth

Image So, it turns out that global warming started 100 years ago .  This is really bad news if increased carbon dioxide levels are responsible for global warming. In 1900 it is estimated that the 296 ppm CO2 level was only 16 ppm higher than they were before the industrial revolution started to impact CO2 levels (280 ppm in 1800).  Let's review what that implies.  In 1804 world human population was about 1 billion. World wide coal consumption could be measured in thousands of tons, mostly for heating homes in the few places where coal could be found or transported.  There were no gas or oil wells except maybe a few in China. And other than a few steam engines in England there were no cars, trucks, trains, airplanes or stationary machinery running on fossil fuel. So, if the solution to reduce CO2 to pre-industrial levels in order to halt  global warming, and to do this will require tota