Gravity

A fascinating news story turned up in the day’s headlines.  Apparently there is a scientific gizmo out in space that has been set to measure (yours truly definitely did not know there was a difference in this, but apparently it’s been known) the extent of the earth’s gravity pull in different areas of the earth. It isn’t the same everywhere.  According to the pictures of different parts of the earth, The whole of the United States has less “pull” than the whole of Europe, for example. And, there are huge areas, such as in Africa, that fall between the two.  If there is a difference between “here” and “there,” the ramifications are staggering. 

As is understood (and, let it be noted that the understanding here is extremely limited) it would mean something like it would be easier for a bird to get off the ground in the United States than it would be for the same bird to get off of it in somewhere like Europe, all other things like wind being equal.  Even a miniscule fraction of a difference in how much effort it takes man or animal to walk, when calculated over a lifetime, is bound to have substantial repercussion in all sorts of things.  That’s above and beyond straight out physical variations – would a landslide do less damage some places as opposed to others? 

As a firm supporter of Aviation Trail with an interest in the principles discovered by the Wright Brothers, there has always been the mysterious question in it all of why did it happen there, Dayton, Ohio?  What combination of things helped to unearth the mysteries, such as obvious things like relatively flat land. If the land where they lived were hilly, experiments would have been far more limited right around home regardless of what correct scientific knowledge was in play.  Time, place, family backing, indeed, a wide assortment of factors enable something to be workable.  It’s not just what someone figures out uniquely.  Gravity? 

There are powerful new things to learn. 

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Government

There’s no question some sort of “government” is needed on many levels of life to maintain order.  That’s the whole purpose of government, to create systems, insofar as possible, whereby people can live peaceably side by side each using his or her time and energy in his or her interests (personal or other) without at the same time running into other persons in some attempt to use their time and energy in their own interests.  If a government doesn’t provide an orderly living for it’s citizens (and even a place’s visitors), it’s not a good government.  And, it should be done without hardship for anyone. 

Well, in the United States there’s federal, state, and local government. The local might easily be more than one kind, like county or community, which might be a big city or small village or township. There are also various neighborhood types of organizations. That’s all government; but, there are also  many other kinds of what is essentially government, such as rules and contracts governing places of work, club by laws, church laws, and more.  It’s all government, and one might easily ask, isn’t there too much government?  Often overlooked (it’s not really a sort of government people acknowledge) is world agreements. 

Dealing with any government is a tricky thing. For one thing, the people at work in government jobs are all different.  Some are responsible, some aren’t.  Some are experienced and some aren’t.  More important, each has his or her ideas of how something should be.  Social security (federal government) is a concern of yours truly at present.  City is, too, but social security has shot to the top today. To go to the local social security office by taxi would cost no less than sixty or so dollars.  It doesn’t happen to be the nearest supposedly usable office.  It is just the local office.  If that’s good, it’s only administratively so. 

Can there be too much government?

The Car…!

An automobile is an expensive proposition.  Just a basic car can cost more than a house, particularly in today’s depressed housing market.  To that are added a few “extras” that the person with the car thinks at least useful if not important, plus maybe a few doodads to make some kind of a statement. That’s what’s the actual thing bought.  Chances are the car itself is not bought outright (although sometimes it does happen), so there is interest on the loan.  And, there usually is a need for insurance.  The government expects licenses.  The car doesn’t run without gasoline.  There is the cost of upkeep or maintenance…. 

Out in the parking lot of the apartment building there are many cars, not one for every resident, just many. A few are pretty far gone. Most are “still okay.” Some are well kept.  They are in price ranges from low to high.  The class is also from low to high.  Some have owners that are cutting corners, obviously.  Some have owners that are still managing okay.  One can sit outside and look over the cars and consider the amount of money invested.  All of the cars represent money, a lot of it in a few cases.  Then someone with something like a good pick-up truck parks somewhere out there, and nearly all of the cars look like lesser beings. 

Today yours truly went to the apartment basement vending machines and paid sixty-five cents for some crackers with peanut butter on them.  There is peanut butter in the refrigerator, and crackers can be obtained any trip to the grocery if desired. They were bought because it’s been a long, long time since those were bought. It boiled down to four cents a cracker, two cents per peanut butter dab and a nickel for the wrapper.  And, it led to the question, was a cracker worth at least four cents?  Was the truck in the parking lot that looked like about twenty thousand dollars worth twenty thousand dollars by comparison? 

Precious things may not cost much.  

Saving Energy

Before the use of electricity, people, of course, used other methods for different things now operating on electricity.  The light bulb is the thing in mind presently. Even if one lives in a place for a while, especially if one has lived other places for a while, in the depths of the night if one awakens and starts staggering around half asleep in the dark, one can easily fall and break something.  While it costs a little to keep a light on at night, it can also save a lot. Well, the world is trying to do something with that marvelous thing called a light bulb.  It turned night into day in it’s own way, and changed life a lot.  The substitute is a candle. 

The world needs to do something about the consumption of energy, and there is good reason; but, that would mean doing with less light bulb, maybe even a return to candles.  In days gone by a house was bought, and the ex-owner left a few things in the place.  One was a cookbook that carried an advertisement saying, “Wire your house for electricity.”  The book really wasn’t that old; but, it was a rather vivid reminder that houses were not always “wired for electricity.”  Imagination can conjure up a life without the table lamp at hand.  Things would be arranged a little differently, like no paper pile so close to a burning candle. 

The light bulb burned out last night.  It was expected, because it was already in a flickering state a few times earlier.  A second light was left on for safety just in case.  In the look around later, yes there was this and there was that which, if in the dark, might be misjudged, that might cause a fall, not necessarily deadly fall, just an injury; but, for someone else some other place it might be a deadly fall.  Then what?  Well, yes, one would likely be buried, maybe even with some solemnity; but, in the end, would the energy of that light bulb be worth a life?  Could someone not do without something else?  The light stays lit. 

Life has trade offs. 

The Really Fed Up

Suicide is not unique in the old folks’ home. Every once in a while someone gets so tired of the living they do something like take all of the pills.  It’s bad enough taking pills when there’s an expectation of getting better.  When there is none, unless the person has a special interest or concern, the notion that without the pills they’re a disaster has to be a real downer.  Just take the medication, keep on living but really do little besides exist can hit any age.  Theoretically, no one really knows why they are kept “operational” while someone more important or more deserving isn’t.  But, among the elderly it’s sure to end soon anyway. 

Some days ago there was a suicide in the building.  It’s about the third recently (like the last two years) out of the hundred and sixty or so possibilities around.  In most cases there’s no future, maybe a few years to do something.  In many cases there’s not much present, especially if the individual is somehow disabled enough to be relying on things beyond a simple cane (there are complex ones). In some cases (maybe even quite a few) there is a past that wasn’t always the best of everything.  In fact, the past may have been quite miserable.  There is usually a need for a reason to be living at most any age even if it’s not sound. 

To all outward appearances the modern day old folks’ home, which is usually a few notches above even a nursing home, never mind something like a hospice, is a pleasant place where the common cares of everyday living are handled by a staff of professionals.  Well, some things are handled, and once in a while it can be with some degree of professionalism; but, the bottom line, as elsewhere, is still going to be how cost effective is it. Attitude plays a part; but, attitude alone can’t do much if money is needed.   More important, appearances may not be as it really is.  That’s not learned until one is in it and maybe unable to get out. 

“Rest in peace” may have a lot of meaning. 

Mysterious Macaroni And Cheese

As anyone who has ever fixed the stuff more than once knows, the way to cook macaroni, as well as noodles and other “pasta,” rice, granular cereal grains like cornmeal and more, is to just dump a bunch of it into boiling water and let it boil for a while.  There are other possible ways to fix some of the boiled things for a variation if nothing else, like oatmeal, for example, can be mixed with milk rather than water and brought to a boil that way; but, macaroni is just slid into boiling water usually in a pot.  And, that’s “already boiling” because, if the water is not moving, the stuff sinks and sticks together.  Water and flour make paste. 

Straight out boiling, if the water is discarded afterwards as is ordinarily done in the case of macaroni, understandably isn’t appealing to people who have lousy tap water and, therefore, use bottled water for cooking.  There is a market “out there somewhere” for food that is already boiled. Given the piece of cheese, the combination of macaroni and cheese, now obsolete as a Friday dish, is a decent side dish but is not really a substitute for vegetables.  It is an “el cheapo” good for the moment because macaroni (like spaghetti) isn’t particularly expensive.  It is better than some things, since at least there’s some egg in it. 

Regardless of possible reasons, macaroni and cheese is appearing on the scene as a prepared dish.  The local supermarket had it on sale (on sale, mind you) at a cost of $2.50.  Not sure of what was involved, yours truly asked a person that was going to the store to bring back some of it.  Well, there was enough in it for two people, including a substantial amount of cheese – too much, in fact. It was not deemed really overpriced.  The direction that went with it, however, were a bit strange.  The label said fully cooked.  The instructions on the back, however, went into thus and so or it wouldn’t be cooked.  Possibly “heated” was meant. 

The outdated may have other use. 

Collections Of Nations

The United Nations has been around for a long time.  It’s in the news headlines a lot for military reasons.  It’s right handy to have because few nations want to be responsible for starting a war; but, sometimes there are “aggressor nations” on the world scene – at least that’s a something in theory. What a lot of people don’t realize is that there are quite a number of “collections of nations” among the approximately 200 countries on the earth.  Case in point:  the Organization of American States (O.A.S.) covers the western hemisphere and seldom makes the news headlines.  Nations join groups for different reasons. 

The United Nations is of particular interest to yours truly these days because, in it’s many non-military activities (and there are many that have done much good on earth), it supports a couple of hundred places in the world that are special in one way or another to humanity. The places or things are most anywhere in the world and include things like unique natural formations and things of rather rare historic interest, such as pre-historic places.  When grouped together, it’s been called things like the U.N. Heritage List, but the listing is according to nationality. Comparatively, the United States doesn’t have much on the list. 

As is recalled, some of this has been mentioned in these pages in the past.  It’s easy to forget the extent of the United Nations when there’s military activity in some part of world, especially if there’s talk about the likes of getting out of the organization (which would be difficult to neatly carry out).  It seemed like it was time to mention the value of the U.N. again; and, to point out that it is not the only “collection of nations” on earth by any means, not that there’s going to be any attempt to list all the possibilities here or even the different kinds.  (There’s been some in the past, too.)  It’s going to be left at the O.A.S. is another. 

Someone once said something about entangling alliances.