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Saturday, June 11, 2011

SIMPLE SOLUTION ESSAYS: Piffle Squared

The following continues the serialization of SIMPLE SOLUTION ESSAYS of a HuffPo published almost three years ago:



My next article published on 14June08 made fun of superstitions and large numbers.


Piffle Squared


Piffle squared? That's what we think of the national renewable energy program.

What is the relationship between Friday the 13th and Father's Day, both which occurred this weekend? Nothing much, although this coincidence provides me yet another opportunity to point out the wisdom of priorities we have on how we spend our money.

Some of you suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia or triskaidekaphobia, a fear of Friday the 13th.  Why?  One explanation is that women  have 13 periods in a year.  Some Chinese think this is a good luck number because it sounds like "must be alive."  But most Asian cultures add four (sounds like death) and nine (suffering), which add up to 13, so this number must be bad. Buildings sometimes skip that floor and people tend to be a bit more careful that day. Almost a billion dollars is said to be lost to business on this day and the British Medical Journal reported that there is a significant increase in traffic accidents on that day.

You can also probably blame the Bible for most of this nonsense because Eve offered that fateful apple to Adam, Christ was crucified and Noah's Great Flood began, all on Friday the 13th. Judas Iscariot was the 13th guest at the Last Supper. This will be the only Friday the 13th in 2008, but three are coming in 2009.

We also have Father's Day in the U.S., which is celebrated world wide throughout the calendar year. Our first Father's Day occurred almost exactly a century ago, on July 5 in 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia to commemorate, of all the things, a coal mining tragedy.

President Woodrow Wilson was instrumental in making this day popular, but it was President Lyndon Johnson who made this a Sunday "holiday," officially recognized by President Richard Nixon in 1972 as the third Sunday in June.

With Mother's Day, these remembrances help keep business in business. Sons and daughters spend $30 billion each year to honor their parents. This is more than thirty times what the U.S. Department of Energy (our tax money) annually sets aside for renewable energy research. Hmm, maybe one year we should apply all the money spent on these two celebrations towards saving Mother Earth and prolonging the life of Father Time, and something with these funds to ameliorate Peak Oil and combat Global Warming.

Oh, yes, we treat Peak Oil / Global warming about the same as Friday the 13th: we're somewhat careful, but hope that nothing bad will happen. As a Nation where 90% of us believe that there will be some kind of afterlife, it is no wonder that we can blithely go on hoping for the best, as underscored in the religion chapter of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity.

Yes, $30 billion is a piffle compared to the $45 trillion reported by the International Energy Agency as needed to just deal with mitigating climate change. But, again, $30 billion is more than thirty times what we currently spend on renewable energy research. Thus, Piffle Squared!

Comments (0):  No comments.  Hmm, I guess sometimes humor is taken silently.



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Adrian is not a hurricane anymore and is disintegrating in the East Pacific.

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