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Posts posted by miles

  1. Now I see what the "problem" is. Before I venture to answer your question, I would like to understand better where you came from, if I may.


    Originally posted by:

    I commute 45 miles each way to work in order to live in a town with good schools and low crime. That commute and that of my neigbors, many of whom commute farther isn't helping the environment any.

    The reason for you to commute to work is a common one, and also a good if you have younger kids. Now my questions are:

    (1) Why do you (others are implied) have to drive to work? No public transportation?

    (2) Why the qualities of schools are different by a large measurment? Otherwise, school won't be worth mentioning right?

    (3) What is the cause for the lower crime rate in your neighborhood? Or alternatively higher crime rate in the neighborhoods near your work?


    Originally posted by:

    I put all kinds of chemicals on my lawn to keep the trees and grass nice. Those chemicals will eventually wind up in the ocean as will all the chemicals that my neighbors use.


    (1) How do you know the chemicals on your lawn to keep the trees and grass nice will eventually wind up in the ocean (your neighbors is also included)?

    (2) Why do you have to use chemicals?

    (3) What kind of chemicals do you use? Bio-degradable or not?


    Originally posted by:

    but the combined activites of 4 billion people affect the earth much more than 500 CEOs.


    (1) How do you know people outside of the United States live the same way Americans do?

    (2) Do you know one man can change tens of thousands of lives in one small country alone? What do you use to equate the power of different capacities by the numbers?

    (3) I suppose that 500 CEOs you meant the CEOs of the so-called Fortune 500? Let's if you add up the wealth of these 500 people, and also add up the salaries of all other human beings in the world, how does the result look?


    Originally posted by:

    The thing that I can definitely agree with you is that it is reprehensible to kill sea turtles in order to make an attractive luxury. Or an elephant for their ivory, or bears for their paws that are believed to be an aphrodisiac in some cultures.

    Not to defend (over-)killing in any way. But some people forgot some "cultures" are much, much older than others. Some "beliefs" are carried over from thousands of years ago--big games were a means of survial. Some nations are obviously too young to have history way back to the stone age.

  2. Congrats, Ken! I actually like it a great deal, especially the color, the shape and the bigger f-holes. I bought a violin with a bigger f-holes because it was said to have bigger A string sound, which I cannot really tell by playing it myself. Does #1 have a bigger volume on A string as I believe it does?

  3. quote:

    Originally posted by:

    After reading both articles I must be still missing the point because I still fail to see any linkage between capitalism and the environmental problems discussed in either article. The LA Times article is pretty explicit about the problems caused by over-fishing and by fertilizer runoff into the oceans. However, the fishing industry and the agricultural industry are Karl Marx's idea of economic justice, where the workers own the factors of production. Fishing is primarily done by an individual who owns a single boat and works on that boat hauling in the nets. Likewise farming is primarily done by someone who owns a piece of land and works that land every day. Both the fisherman and the farmer are in a very dangerous business that is not highly profitable, so it isn't too surprising that they are more concerned about survival than their contribution to fertilizer runoff or overfishing. But blaming their actions on capitalism, or greedy CEOs is entirely incorrect. In their business the worker and the owner are the same - Karl Marx's dream come true.

    "But blaming their actions on capitalism, or greedy CEOs is entirely incorrect. In their business the worker and the owner are the same - Karl Marx's dream come true."

    Karl Marx's dream come true? This is truly shocking. I hope only I was missing your point somewhere.

    I'd suggest that you re-read the LA Times article regarding the change in chemical properties change in the sea(shore), and think about how the changed was induced. Capitalism might not be directly linked to the root cause SEEMINGLY...

    Here's an article from Timesonline. The title gives it away how big corporates and politicans might work together when money is at stake...

    Illicit artefacts sold as eBay turns blind eye

    Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent

    # 3,500 items for sale in two months

    # Sellers claim to have obeyed the law


  4. Eric,

    The source you cited is from wsj. Who has more interest in corporate profits than those wall street guys?

    And yes, I'd say Ehrilich's predictions are scarily accurate even though he was not a prophet nor a psychic:

    For their part Paul Ehrlich and Steven Schneider offered a series of 15 items "pertaining to material human welfare" they were willing to bet would worsen over the next decade. Simon declined to accept the wager. The criteria included:

    * The three years 2002-2004 will on average be warmer than 1992-1994. (Rapid climate change associated with global warming could pose a major threat of increasing droughts and floods.

    * There will be more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 2004 than in 1994. (Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas driving global warming).

    * There will be more nitrous oxide in the atmosphere in 2004 than 1994. (Nitrous oxide is another greenhouse gas that is increasing due to human disruption of the nitrogen cycle).

    * The concentration of ozone in the lower atmosphere (the troposphere) will be greater than in 1994. (Trophospheric ozone is a component of smog that has important deleterious effects on human health and crop production).

    * Emissions of the air pollutant sulfur dioxide in Asia will be significantly greater in 2004 than in 1994. (Sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere becomes sulfuric acid, the principal component of acid rain, and it is associated with direct damage to human health, forests, and crops.)

    * There will be less fertile cropland per person in 2004 than in 1994. (Much of Earth's best farmland is paved over, but even if it weren't, population will reduce per-capita acreage).

    * There will be less agricultural soil per person in 2004 than 1994. (Erosion virtually everywhere far exceeds rates of soil generation).

    * There will be on average less rice and wheat grown per person in 2002-2004 than in 1992-1994. (Rice and wheat are the two most important crops consumed by people).

    * In developing nations there will be less firewood available per person in 2004 than in 1994. (More than a billion people today depend on fuelwood to meet their energy needs).

    * The remaining area of virgin tropical moist forests will be significantly smaller in 2004 than in 1994. (Those forests are the repositories of some of humanity's most precious living resources, including the basis for many modern pharmaceuticals worldwide).

    * The oceanic fisheries harvest per person will continue its downward trend and thus in 2004 will be smaller than in 1994. (Overfishing, ocean pollution, and coastal wetlands will continue to take their toll.)

    * There will be fewer plant and animal species still extant in 2004 than in 1994. (Other organisms are the working parts of humanity's life-support systems).

    * More people will die of AIDS in 2004 than in 1994 (as the disease takes its toll of already infected individuals, continues to spread in Africa, and takes off in Asia).

    * Between 1994 and 2004, sperm counts of human males will continue to decline and reproductive disorders will continue to increase. (Over the past fifty years, sperm counts worldwide may have declined by as much as 40 percent. Paul and Steve bet this trend will continue due to the widespread use and environmental persistence of hormone-disrupting synthetic organic chemical compounds).

    * The gap in wealth between the richest 10% of humanity and the poorest 10% will be greater in 2004 than in 1994. (10)

    The items offered by Ehrlich and Schneider dramatically highlight the different approach between them and Simon. The first five items, for example, don't even pretend to measure human welfare. Simon wants to bet on things like human life expectancy, while Ehrlich and Schneider respond that they want to bet on the composition of the atmosphere.

    Some of their suggestion are even odder. The proposed bet on income inequality, for example, seems strange. Income inequality between the top 10 percent and the bottom 10% will be much higher on Jan. 1, 2000 than it was on Jan. 1, 1900, yet by every measure the bottom 10% is much better off today than 100 years ago. Ehrlich and Schneider apparently believe this improvement is not as important as achieving more equal income distribution.

    Similarly the claim that sperm counts have declined worldwide is specious and relies on data that is highly controversial. Recent studies claiming that sperm rates in the United States had declined were found to be flawed because they were comparing different geographical regions and, for reasons still unknown, sperm counts vary by region (contrary to what one would expect if Ehrlich's fear of chemicals were accurate, sperm counts are actually higher in urban areas than in rural areas in the United States).

    Simon illustrated the difference with an analogy involving the Olympics,

    Let me characterize their [Ehrlich and Schneider's] offer as follows. I predict, and this is for real, that the average performances in the next Olympics will be better than those in the last Olympics. On average, the performances have gotten better, Olympics to Olympics, for a variety of reasons. What Ehrlich and others says is that they don't want to bet on athletic performances, they want to bet on the conditions of the track, or the weather, or the officials, or any other such indirect measure. (11)

    Simon said he was willing to bet on the items in Ehrlich and Schneider's proposal that directly measures human welfare -- such as the per capita rice and wheat crops -- but that Ehrlich and Schneider insisted on betting on all fifteen propositions as a package deal. (12)



  5. quote:

    Originally posted by:

    But alas overkilling cannot always be corrected when we stop. Our dear cod was overfished and the niche left empty by declining cod stocks became filled by all sorts of creatures that in took over that niche, shouldering remaining cod out. There are not always more fish in the sea..

    "But alas overkilling cannot always be corrected when we stop."

    Yes, if the situation is beyond correction and no humans take any interest in that species. However, if humans are interested enough, the cod will be "rescued" in an artificial way, such as what the Japanese has done with blue-fin tuna or other animals by humanity/scientific groups. I am not familiar with lives outside humans', but I don't recall that cod is on the endangered species list, is it? If it is not, only one small ruined habitat is unlikely to cause a stir given it a larger scope.

    Regardless, overkilling is unlike to cause drastic change in chemical properties of environment, such as industrial wastes and bombs. In your given example, if the "all sorts of creatures took over that niche [of the disappeared cod]" becomes overwhelming, new balance will again formed. It is also hard to say whether the good old cod will once again appear if the environment is suitable/optimal for its survival or other better fit species will emerge. But the little old cod niche will not be turned into a "primeval soup" like what was described in the LA Times.


  6. quote:

    Originally posted by:

    Prohibition of importation of sea turtle shell and of ivory is shared by capitalist and socialist countries. I believe that the US and most of the European countries have banned importation of these items.


    Agreed, but the point is still missing. Putting species on the protection list is only a band-aid, not a solution. I wonder whether you checked out the links bean_fidhleir and I put up in this thread.



    Furthermore, these prohibitions taken by any government might be doing more harm than good; it in a way exonerates the corporates and politicians from bearing due responsibilities by diverting attention to over-killing, which is less devil in this regard.

    Over-killing can be corrected when humans stop, but how about environemntal issues, which alter the chemical properties of the waters and climate? Bombs don't just kill lives; they also kill the environment most suitable for human dwelling.

  7. quote:

    Originally posted by:

    FinProf, Miles can speak for herself of course, but my impression was that she was criticising capitalism wherever it's located, and the US only because it is the "apex (capitalist) predator".

    Capitalism as practiced is based on the belief that the world is both an inexaustible garden and an uncloggable sewer. As Paul Hawken among others has illuminated, capitalism refuses to account for all its costs. The costs expressed as pollution are ignored, but pollution cleanup is considered a positive value, which is crazy!

    But Earth tallies up the costs accurately even if the accountants don't, and she's made it increasingly obvious that she's going to get rid of us completely unless we get our act together SOON. Yet we show every sign of
    not listening. We have intelligent, mentally healthy professionals like yourself, with kids and grandkids who will bear the brunt of Earth's displeasure, still apparently not tuned in.

    Paul Ehrlich remarked in an interview that every scientist he knows is "scared sh****ss" right now, and it's not hard to see why.

    Ah, even I cannot summarize my posts better than yours, bean_fidhleir! Thank you very much, indeed!


    As always, your insight commends plauding.

  8. quote:

    Originally posted by:

    I agree. Entertainers are often "idolized" by the mass. But it doesn't induce deferene entitlements. What they have is notoriety, not prestige. No wonder they are often called celebrities, something that come and go, transient...

    Well, I am willing to agree with/accept your explanation. But how does one rationalize "I want to be Mike [Michael Jordan]?" My understanding is Britney Spears was also a role model for a lot of girls. It will be very difficult to defend such phenomenon...


    Originally posted by:

    Isn't that a part of Chinese culture that intellectuals are intentionally trying to dissociate themselves from money matters? After all, as Max Weber once said, money power is vulgar.

    That is not the whole story if you are familiar with Th Analects, which governs, by and large, Chinese philosophy of life. Confucius does not condemn, as far as I remember, money and/or power itself, but the means and circumstances one acquires wealth and power. More importantly, how does one utilize wealth and power [with the implication that the intellectuals bear higher social responsibilities and should uphold higher moral standars of themselves].

    Higher social status comes with greater social responsibilities.

    However, people may misunderstand/misinterpret, misuse unintentionally or intentionally deploy benign ideology as pretex for manipulation/control. For instance, liberty in French revolution, and most likely democracy in the invasion of Iraq. History has not concluded our time; therefore, I stand to be corrected for my view on the war in Iraq.

  9. quote:

    Originally posted by:

    Social status is a composite measure even here in American society. Some people who carry enormous earning power may carry very little in terms of prestige. Some folks even believe that movie stars are no better than say, hookers, in terms of prestige.

    Nevertheless, it is often culturally justified in a capitalistic society that those who eat better cuts of beef (say filet mignone) have every right to ridicule those who eat chopped steak (or even worse, pork and beans, macaroni and cheese dinner, etc...).

    If Americans are stupid in that regard, then so are others.


    In Chinese culture, social status is quite expicit. Living in the US, I have heard for almost two decades, social status has much more to do with money and power.

    "Some folks even believe that movie stars are no better than say, hookers, in terms of prestige."

    I would not go that far to say that. But let's face it: When the so-called mega-star speaks, how many people listen? In Chicago, you can often hear people say that when Oprah touches something, that something will turn into gold. That statement is quite true even though one can find people with disagreement. Why does an entertainer have so much power if not prestige? I personally found/find it has little to no merits nor intelligence. This is my personal view, and anyone is welcome to enlighten me with substantial facts.

    And yes, I totally agree with you that "If Americans are stupid in that regard, then so are others." Absolutely! Intelligence is not a monoply. Neither is stupidity.

  10. quote:

    Originally posted by:
    Allan Speers

    "Great-grandpa was a professional concert soloist with the South

    B^tf^ck Philharmonic. After he died, Great-Grandma kept all

    his stuff in the basement, including this large, locked chest, but

    he must have given away his violins 'cause we never saw them again.

    Gramps sure did love that chest, and it has great sentimental

    value, but there's no room, and someone really should be enjoying

    this beautiful chest! We don't know what's inside, so we'll

    start the bidding at only $49....."

    Yeah, I heard something like THAT before!


    Confess now; just how many accounts do you have on eBay!

    Happy New Year, guys and gals! Time to go out for some firecrackers.

  11. quote:

    Originally posted by:

    Why? I think not.

    happy new year!



    Thank you, Michael.

    Why? It might be an irrational fear of mine, but I was under an impression, from the time Italy joined Eu, that one of the benefits for Italy to join Eu was the currency change. It was said that Italy will get higher price for their exports or something along the line. I might have remembered it incorrectly, and I certainly hope that the case.

    Happy New Year to you and all reading this thread!

  12. quote:

    Originally posted by:

    If Miles is trying to imply, by example, that Americans are stupid he has provided some very bad examples. Nicole Kidman is Australian, and Chanel is a French company. Catherine Zeta-Jones is Welsh and T-Mobile is a German company. The only American is Sam Z.

    No. I am not implying Americans are stupid, FINPROF. Rather, I don't see any intelligence in worshiping entertainers regardless what citizenship one holds.

    That said, you are wrong about Nicole Kidman, FINPROF. She was born in Hawaii, and holds dual citizenship, one of which is US citizenship although she feels "inclined" to be Australian. Let's not forget that she was married to Tom Cruise for ten years and likely to live in the US for the most part (subject to correction). And also Madonda was/is American as well, whom you left out for some reason.

    Yes, I know Zeta-Jones is Welsh, but she married an American. Although I am not sure about her citizenship, she might live, for the most part, in the US.

    And yes, having lived in Germany before, I know very well T-mobile is a German company. However, it does business in the US, and as I understood (I might be wrong), it has emerged as one of the very top cell phone carries in the US in a short period of time. Like T-mobile, Chanel is also a leading brand in the fashion industry, and again like T-mobile, it does a lot of business in the US. Sorry, I don't use cosmetic all that much, and nothing Chanel in my possession I can verify. But I won't be surprised if they have manufactries in the US. If I understood taxes correctly, these foreign companies also have to register in the US and pay Uncle Sam.


    Originally posted by:

    I guess that anyone that we want to ridicule becomes American by default.

    Am/was I trying to ridcule anyone? As I said twice in this forum and I will say it again, I am not comfortable with personal attack. But if you do honestly think I was/am, that is fine by me. No problem.

    By the way, I also hold a US passport. Should it be a good reason not to speak up my mind or even to prevent other people from speaking up the facts/truth they believe in by all means?



    If you think that I was trying to ridicule Kidman and Zeta-Jones, I am sorry to say that you've got my message wrong. Kidman, Zeta-Jones and Jolie are my favorite actresses still alive I can think of off the top of my head.

    Zeta-Jones is an intelligent woman as I gathered from the little information I knew while standing in the long line at the Walgreens reading tabloids and newspapers. She certainly deserves her happiness (at least what we know about it). Jolie seems to have her life getting more and more together, and I hope Pitt would not let her fans down.

    Knowing Kidman was walked on by her ex-husband while 3-month pregnant, and got into another marital mess, I cannot be any more sympathetic toward this beautiful being. How could I have the heart to ridicule her even though I don't like to let emotion get in the way of discussions.

    "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." May the joy survives all.

    Happy New Year!

  13. quote:

    Originally posted by:
    Allan Speers

    -but you think THAT'S bad? By some (believable) estimates,

    there is now less than 80% of the blue-green algae in the sea

    compared to the 1960's (when it was first studied.) Guess

    where we get almost all our oxygen from? Hint: It 'aint

    the trees. When the algae goes, so do we, and no-one is

    doing anything about it.


    "[N]o one is goding anything about it?"

    Am I suffering from ADD now? I remember a couple of (or a few?) earlier posters in this thread were talkng about eating algaes, no?

    What really worries me is the wide-spread attitude throughout the Western history:

    "We were the best [ecologists]...," Jackson recalled.

    Compounded by the influence of powerful capitalists and politicians, how much truth was in his statement we got it 100% wrong"? The ground for such skeptism is not difficult to find.

    In light of the former Indian ambassdor's statements about Saddam Hussein (dated Dec. 31, 2006), do we know how much was true in the "portrait" of him by the Whitehouse? Or alternatively, was the report intended to stir even more global anti-American sentiment? But, why? God help!,0008.htm

    Another disaster?


  14. Thank you, bean_fidhleir.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/lo...,0,2628678,print.story (the article cited by bean_fidhleir, but in a print form)

    This article has consolidated and illustrated my posts regarding the dynamics of Nature:


    Taken from LA times

    In many places - the atolls of the Pacific, the shrimp beds of the Eastern Seaboard, the fiords of Norway - some of the most advanced forms of ocean life are struggling to survive while the most primitive are thriving and spreading. Fish, corals and marine mammals are dying while algae, bacteria and jellyfish are growing unchecked. Where this pattern is most pronounced, scientists evoke a scenario of evolution running in reverse, returning to the primeval seas of hundreds of millions of years ago.


    Taken from LA times

    For many years, it was assumed that the oceans were too vast for humanity to damage in any lasting way. "Man marks the Earth with ruin," wrote the 19th century poet Lord Byron. "His control stops with the shore."

    Even in modern times, when oil spills, chemical discharges and other industrial accidents heightened awareness of man's capacity to injure sea life, the damage was often regarded as temporary.

    But over time, the accumulation of environmental pressures has altered the basic chemistry of the seas.

    The causes are varied, but collectively they have made the ocean more hospitable to primitive organisms by putting too much food into the water.

    Industrial society is overdosing the oceans with basic nutrients - the nitrogen, carbon, iron and phosphorous compounds that curl out of smokestacks and tailpipes, wash into the sea from fertilized lawns and cropland, seep out of septic tanks and gush from sewer pipes.

    Modern industry and agriculture produce more fixed nitrogen - fertilizer, essentially - than all natural processes on land. Millions of tons of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide, produced by burning fossil fuels, enter the ocean every day.

    These pollutants feed excessive growth of harmful algae and bacteria.

    At the same time, overfishing and destruction of wetlands have diminished the competing sea life and natural buffers that once held the microbes and weeds in check.

    The consequences are evident worldwide.


    Taken from LA times

    Organisms such as the fireweed that torments the fishermen of Moreton Bay have been around for eons. They emerged from the primordial ooze and came to dominate ancient oceans that were mostly lifeless. Over time, higher forms of life gained supremacy. Now they are under siege.

    Like other scientists, Jeremy Jackson, 63, was slow to perceive this latest shift in the biological order. He has spent a good part of his professional life underwater. Though he had seen firsthand that ocean habitats were deteriorating, he believed in the resilience of the seas, in their inexhaustible capacity to heal themselves.


    "We're pushing the oceans back to the dawn of evolution," Jackson said, "a half-billion years ago when the oceans were ruled by jellyfish and bacteria."

    If the Homo sapiens species continues to "rape" Nature, the consequences might not be what the species can afford to bear even though all Homo sapiens think they are so intelligent and so privileged.

    Yes, bean_fidhleir. Human as a whole has a lot to fear -- not only the external woes, but also the internal misconception and/or self-deception.

  15. quote:

    Originally posted by:
    Allan Speers

    Grandpa collected fine violins, but he kept the REALLY good ones

    locked in this big wooden box, which I inherited.
    We had

    NO idea what was in there!

    So what am I buying?

    Or are you sure there's anything in there? Geez, you cannot even sue the seller for fraud because he never said that there WAS anything in the wooden box.

  16. quote:

    Originally posted by:

    That's exactly what I said. Miles has been using it a lot recently,

    but I don't know what it is. (seriously inquiry)

    Hi dfxlr,

    Sorry for the belated reply; I am still trying to beat the bidding frenzy on camcorders/top cameras on eBay...No sign of sucess...

    I meant Homo sapiens. My apology for the spelling mixed up (there was/is a software company called Sapient??? And my fingers weren't "thining" when I typed, especially when at the same time I was searching for video camera/camcorder... )

    The reason for using Homo sapiens was to put human back in the "earth/universe" without dealing with emotion, which I've long suspected not to develop too well in my brain. I wonder whether there's an emotional IQ test or something...

    Happy New Year, everyone! Now I am off to my camcorder/video camera hunting.

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