Showing posts from February, 2016

Real Time Coverage of the Solar Storm of 1859

Earlier today, I learned of the Carrington Event for the first time in my life. It is the largest solar storm on record. Its Aurora Borealis was visible in the Carribean. It not only shorted out telegraph lines across Europe, some telegraph operators were able to send messages after essentially "unplugging" their machinery. Wikipedia has a nice overview.

I went looking for a nice article about the event and was somewhat disappointed. There may be nice articles out there, but, in recent years, this historical event has been used as justification for a lot of articles predicting the next apocalypse.

Given that the storm shorted out telegraph lines across Europe, I have no doubt that a storm of this magnitude would cause substantial fallout. But, I lived through Y2K, which was predicted to be "the end of the world" and had people expecting a global banking meltdown. People who stored up five years of groceries looked a little silly when the primary fallout was th…

Gig Work That Works

I have been blogging recently about my thoughts on what works, including my opinion that gig work, if done right, has the potential to be a big part of the solution we need (instead of basic income, which I am very much against). People are telling me I am wrong, that gig work is simply suckitude.

I understand why a lot of people see it that way: Most gig work does seem to be a really sucky deal for the workers. But, my medical situation precludes me from working a regular job and I work for a good service. So, I have had a really positive experience, thus I think it doesn't have to be a sucky deal, if it is handled well. As I said elsewhere:

...I can make decent money writing online on the days when I feel good, and I don't need to meet dress code or attend departmental meetings. I think it is a real sweet deal, but when I have recommended this service to other people, they seemed to not get it.

So I recently started a website called Write Pay to try to detail the nuts and b…

Meat and Morality

Over the weekend, I read a bunch of articles about a new vegan butcher shop in Minneapolis and I posted this FPP on MetaFilter about them today:
Vegan Butcher Shops: A global trend finally hitting the U.S.

Unsurprisingly, the discussion involves talk of meat and morality. Many people are vegetarian or vegan for ethical reasons. Often, they state that they object to the cruelty to animals involved in eating meat. I have no plans to give my take there.

My take tends to offend people who are vegan or vegetarian for ethical reasons. But, I wanted to write about it, so here I am, on my blog that mostly gets ignored. Hopefully, that means it won't offend too many people.

I was molested and raped as a child, so I went through a period where every single thing involving my life and physical reality was a moral question in my mind. Thus, in my teens to twenties, I went through that stage of feeling that we should be vegetarian because eating meat is cruel and immoral.

But, I am now 50 ye…

Instead of Basic Income, We Need Housing that Matches Our Current Demographics

One of the things contributing to severe financial stress in America today is the mismatch between the available housing stock and our demographics. This problem has roots that can be traced back to the post World War II housing boom, an event that strongly shaped how this country builds housing, finances housing and views housing. We are living in the long shadow of expectations and assumptions that made sense when "the boys" came home from war, but which are a poor fit for reality today.

During World War II, most able-bodied men joined the military and went off to war. Back home, the women went off to factory jobs in unprecedented numbers. They were also encouraged to grow Victory Gardens so farm grown food could feed our soldiers and war-time rationing meant there were few, if any, luxuries to spend the money on.

In a nutshell, the result was a high number of two income families with no opportunity to either have a baby or even indulge themselves with some kind of pers…