Sucking It Up

Here we are sucking up leaves in January. 


It almost looks like we’re sucking up the whole ground with it!


After the warmest decade on record, we seem to be having the warmest year on record. 


It’s 52 degrees out, and we’ve been reaching up into the high 60’s so far this month.


Global warming or the big fires in Australia or action with Iran are heating things up here in Washington, D.C. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Icing That Migraine

So a lot of people I know get excruciating migraines in the Washington, D.C. area. 


I don’t know the statistical incident rate here for migraines, but anecdotally it seems significantly higher.


Is it the weather patterns, pollution, toxic chemicals or something else in this geographic area?


While medicine seems to be critical in actually getting rid of the migraine, I do notice that sustained use of ice packs or freezing water on the head also seems to help. 


Cold generally constricts the blood vessels, so I am not sure why this provides migraine relief.


Note: I am not giving medical advise or guidance to anyone, but just sharing my experiences. 


I would be interested to see a medical study done on treating migraines with freezing cold–from my experience, I think it definitely helps.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Invasion of Dinosaur

So what’s with the invasion of dinosaurs. 


First one is standing next to the checkout line in Whole Foods in Maryland.


Second one is actually on someone’s terrace overlooking the beach in Fort Lauderdale.


Third one is the real McCoy from the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. 


Certainly, dinosaurs aren’t cute and cuddly–even the plush ones from Whole Foods–they’d eat you and I for dinner if they could!


So why do we gravitate to relics from the Ice Age past?


Perhaps, just like looking forward to Aliens from outer space, the dinosaurs represent an important historical link for us, and thus anchor us in a much larger perspective of time and space. 


In a way, it all points to the dichotomy between us as humans with great–almost endless–potential, and yet at the same time, how small we are relative to the enormous dinosaurs that roamed the earth of yesteryear as well as the distinct possibility of mighty extraterrestrials that we may someday (soon) encounter from outer space. 


From this context, I guess what’s really amazing is that we, as a people, are still here!


Despite our bad habits and unsustainable living, we continue to innovate our way out of own messes of greed, conflict, contagion, pollution, and resource depletion, and create a future far beyond what destroyed our predecessors or even what may come from current or potential future foes. 


Like the economy, we think we can grow ourselves out of all our troubles–and who knows, maybe we can if we can continue to stay at least one or two steps ahead of all the challenges and threats–but, at the back (or front) of our minds is what if we can’t or don’t?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We Broke The Weather

Weather.jpeg

So my friend who lives in FL and recently experienced the crazy hurricanes down there said something very interesting to me. 


This was during the series of numerous recent hurricanes in just a few weeks period of time, including Harvey, IRMA, and Maria that devastated Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.


He said to me:

“We broke the weather!”


And after decades of warning about the impact of global warming–maybe he is right.


This last September was the most active month for Atlantic hurricanes ever on record. 


Further, we are seeing simultaneously the deadliest wildfires raging in California in its history. 


This only 13 years after the deadliest Tsunami from the Indian Ocean in recorded times killing about a quarter million people!


And only 28 years after the deadliest Tornado occurred in Bangladesh in 1989 that killed 1,300 people.


All these as if the increasing threats of nukes and other weapons of mass destruction and cyberattack weren’t enough to keep you up at night.


As we get more sophisticated and technologically dependent, incredible manmade and natural disasters are threatening us superbig time. 


And over and over again, it is being reported that a well-placed EMP explosion over the United States would kill 90% of the population within a year–talk about a extinction level event!


As we experience temperatures15 degree above normal this fall, even the trees are behaving abnormally as the leaves are not changing to colors of yellows and oranges and reds and purples that we expect and enjoy. 


Nature is messed up by our abuse of the planet and nurture is messed up by megalomaniacs with the weapons to do us in. 


If we don’t correct the dangerous path we are on polluting our planet and over-relying on technology then soon we could be turning horrible colors even if the leaves just fall to the ground or turn to ash. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Weather.jpeg

Plastic Pigs

Garbage

So you’ve probably heard about this mammoth island of plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean.


It’s between the West Coast and Hawaii. 


And it’s called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 


Get this…


It’s about twice the size of Texas.


Now researchers are predicting that by 2050, our oceans will hold more plastic than fish!


“More than 8 million tons of plastics end up entering our oceans each year.” 


And we’re dumping the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.  

Just 5% of plastic waste gets recycled. 


So far there is a 165 million tons of plastic trash in the ocean right now. 


The plastic pieces can survive hundreds of years. 


We are making a darn mess of this planet. 


The 5 cent surcharge for plastic bags is a joke in this respect. 


Maybe ISIS actually won’t be the end of Western civilization, but plastic will be. 


Who’s paying off whom to keep this plastic money wagon going to poison our planet?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Lobbying Will Get You…Where?

Keystone
In Washington, D.C., lobbying is a way of life. 



Just walking from the State Department to the Metro means you’ll get accosted by somebody wanting action on some issue. 



I took this photo in action today of this guy obviously not in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline. 



He equates it with “Climate Chaos!”



He is holding a sign up to me and trying to hand me some literature.



Whether or not piping tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast is net good for the economy and national security or bad for the environment and global warming, is of course a matter of debate. 



But like all issues, there are two sides to everything–so prove your case!



Maybe the point to free speech is that everyone can not only have an opinion, but also express it and advocate for it. 



There can be open and amble discussion, vigorous debate, compromises, and ultimately a vote and decision–that hopefully gets us to the best course of action. 



Unlike countries run by dictators or religious fanatics who attempt to quell all opposition–where bloggers are flogged and jailed and authors and satirists are threatened and murdered–we try to make our best case and not condemn those who simply think different than us. 



In expressing ourselves here, someone may occasionally joke and say, “now don’t chop my head off for saying this,” but in other countries they really mean it! 



Tyrannical dictatorships and Jihadists terrorizing and imposing their will on the masses just won’t cut it anymore. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Solve That Problem Simply

Solve That Problem Simply

I have always been intrigued by simple solutions to complex problems.

Bloomberg Businessweek has a great example of how a Fulbright Scholar studying in Beijing solved the smog problem for many people wanting to reduce the danger to themselves and their families.

Air Filters that purify the air can cost around $800, and often one is needed for each room.

But Thomas Talhelm founder of Smart Air Filters found he could do the job with a simple HEPA filter, fan, and velcro strap to hold them together for just $33/kit.

He tested the results and found that he could remove 90% of particles 2.5 microns and above in the room.

Talhem’s biggest problem now are copycat DIY air filters hitting the market.

If only inventors could come up with a simple solution to protecting intellectual property in places where either there aren’t rules or they aren’t strictly enforced.

When innovations are so easily copycatted, there is less incentive to problem-solve and think out of the box, and that’s a problem for society where the s___ really hits the fan. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)