Friday, November 12, 2021

The Age of Reality: Looking Back at the Future (Repost)

 Note to Readers: This reflection was first posted on October 21, 2017 and originally written as a contest entry on the topic or The United States in 100 Years.  It was written before Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President and was not published as part of that contest. These days it is easy to get bogged down with our difference and we need to sometimes remember we have a long way to go to the next Back to the Future Day.

It is October 21, 2015, “Back to the Future Day” in popular culture.  Newscasters and fans alike are creating commentary about what the popular movie series predicted correctly and what it got wrong. Only 30 years after its debut in the mid 1980s, the movie was remarkably correct.  In the same way, it may be time to reflect on where the 21st Century  will take the world. Certainly the first 15 years have seen little more than difficulties. It has been a time of political disruptions, economic downturns and catastrophic natural disasters.  No part of the world seems to be without conflict.  The icecaps are melting from global warming, Third World countries as well as modern cultures complain about the lack of quality health care.  Large scale economic and military agreements between major powers are brought down by passionate and highly motivated grassroots organizations.  It is not looking good for the next hundred years. 

Imagine then that it is possible to jump into the outdated DeLorean with a now aging Marty McFly headed to October 21, 2115.  It is not a relative he is seeking but a sense of what has happened in the 21st Century.  He is worried about where the human race is headed.  Will there be WWlll, a cure for cancer, space travel or just a long, unending period of worry, self-protection and discord?  What characteristics will define the time period?  What insights will he be able to offer to the people of the world upon his return?  Ride shotgun on this trip to find the answer to these questions and more.

The doors close. The motor starts to hum. Lights begin blinking and gauges move as the DeLorean bumps through the years.  Suddenly, it comes to a halt with a strong thud.  The motor quiets and the lights and gauges settle into a flat position. The doors to the time machine open and the world is in clear view. It has been one hundred years since the first “Back to the Future Day” and there is trepidation as one looks out of the open door.  Marty exits the machine and takes a look around.  There are people gathering around - even now recognizing the iconic body style and doors.  

As Marty lets out a breath that he didn’t realize he was holding, there is recognition.  Fashions are slightly different but much the same as the comfortable but practical style which had been adopted for nearly 40 years.  The neighborhood has the same homes but each shows signs of modernization and is complimented by mature landscaping.  Cars still operate in much the same traffic pattern as they did, roads and wheels have, after all, been around for thousands of years.  The time of Star Wars and the Jetsons has not yet arrived.  Music still sounds like music, children still play and people still are attracted to a strange vehicle that suddenly appears where one did not previously exist.

But the world is different.  Unlike the passion for new and need for change that characterized the 20th Century, there has been an overriding need for the truth based on facts and science not moral premise or majority vote.  Real truth has become the goal in the major areas of health care, environmental protection, economic policy and finally global politics. The Age of Reality has come to the world and with it a sense of peace and well being that has not been seen in hundreds of years.  

In the year 2115, people are remarkably healthy.  Universal health care is a given - much like police presence and fire and rescue services. And yet, it does not resemble the specialized and competitive health care system that existed.  After a long period of costly and often, contradictory treatments, patients became disillusioned with treatment for symptoms instead of cures.  They began researching their own symptoms and challenging the concept of specialized medicine. Doctors were forced to include the patient's perceptions and knowledge as part of diagnostics.  General practitioners, particular those with the skills of Dr. House, rose to prominence leading teams of specialists who have taken on more of a role of assistant. Team medicine became the norm for every patient instead of just for major illnesses.  Patients no longer sit for hours each month waiting to see separate doctors in separate offices and are treated in a holistic manner.  Real health is preferred to that which is controlled by artificial means such as drugs or repetitive procedures.  Health professionals have been forced to admit that the practices which kept the human race going for thousands of years have far more value for longevity than originally thought.  Foods and vitamins are acknowledged to impact health in similar ways as prescription drugs.  Corrective measures such as glasses have all but disappeared with the use of new but non-invasive measures.  Technology puts an end difficulties of those with hearing impairments and damaged limbs. 

As health care changed so did farming and production of all manner of goods and services. Environmental concerns became as important as a trip to the gym.  The USA revamped its laws and worked with other nations to find common ground in exploring more natural methods of energy use and food production. What is eaten is no longer determine by marketing whims and company profits. Data used in claims of health benefits now requires up-to-date testing not supposition.  Global standards for food production and energy use have been put into place and have made great strides in addressing worldwide hunger.  Conservation of energy has been the push causing a gradual reduction in use of fossil fuels. Solar power has become more viable and passive energy collection powers most homes.  People have adopted the Old World traditions of family meals, home-cooked dishes, and a healthy relationship with both food and others. And as people start talking around the dinner table, there emerged a sense of consensus that has not been seen in decades. 

In 2015, the United States was a country of power and influence but without a clear identity.  It was born in revolution, came of age a hundred years later during a teenage-like rebellion within its borders and then settled into its growth and identity as world leader and protector during its next hundred years.  But as the 21st Century began, it found itself in a new position. It was now a target for the underdog countries wishing to make their mark. Instead of rash patriotism and dedication to its principles, America responded like a prized fighter who had reached his prime and was struggling to hang on. Its people were divided into two equally strong camps without the strength to sway the other side.  The status quo was not necessarily a choice but something that existed because making a firm decision seemed an impossible task.  It was becoming more like the older countries of the world - those that had lost their dominance years before and relied on agreements between neighbors to maintain their positions.  America was getting old. There was too much to risk to take chances and it was slowly, ever so slowly losing its influence.  With its age, America was also become wise and was now able to work to benefit its population not its status at the lunch table. 

And so with people enjoying health and taking the time to build relationships, America realized that its future, and the future of its diverse population, depended on cooperation. This is not just a policy for military peace but a level of cooperation that transcends economic, religious and territorial boundaries.  The people of the world gradually move into the Age of Aquarius as the baby boomers who protested so strongly for it, are leaving the earth much like Moses fails to enter the promised land.  

What is left is a world in which individual rights are not trampled by the good of all. Cars drive themselves so that individuals can read, sleep or revive a lost art while commuting to work.  People enjoy a shorter work week and higher working wage so that they can focus on their health, live comfortably and support leisure activities of all kinds. As families spend more time together and health improves, mental illness declines. With declines in mental illness so follows the incidence of violence. The World is enjoying a sense of safety and calm that resonates in a new time of learning.  Life has become real again and it is good.

In the last half of the century, the world has experienced a rebirth.  Love of the arts is supported again by common folk who enjoy concerts, reading an original copy of Harry Potter, now only available at the local museum, and creating art without the aid of a computer.  Travel has become easy with the adoption of global passports.  One can travel the world much like one buys a subway or bus pass now.  Education has become an individual focus with functional skills being mandated but interest, aptitude and employment driving specialized education.  Online curriculum delivery has now replaced the social aspects of college and high school rivalries.  There is time to make a good living and have a good life.  There is no working poor and a universal retirement program that offers more than bare existence. 

It is a good impression that Marty McFly will take with him as he returns to the DeLorean to begin the journey home to 2015.  Certainly, the last 100 years were not perfect.  Mother Nature took its toll when needed to keep the environment healthy. Earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards and hurricanes have not been erased.  Crime and war are not gone either.  It would be foolish to expect all people to operate by the same rules. However, diplomacy and etiquette have returned to the political stage.  With a greater sense of decorum, the attraction of self-preservation such as gun-toting and military defense have become unnecessary traditions.  Violence still happens and will continue to do so as long as man walks the earth but for this brief period of time, there is the closest thing to Peace on Earth that any religion can hope for. 

Marty takes his impressions and climbs back in the DeLorean.  He is pleased with The Age of Reality and hopeful that the world will be able to maintain what it has accomplished.  Cooperation and compromise have succeeding in a way that defense and demands have not.  The doors close.  The vehicle disappears once again and returns to 2015.  Will Marty tell of all that he found?  Will he nudge people into the future he has seen or will he simply wait to see what happens?  Will the Age of Reality become a reality? Only time will tell. 

Special Note:  Several of the predictions here can be backed up by current conjecture.  Those items can be cited if needed but according to the guidelines print with contest materials readability was more important that research and justification.  I would be happy to cite any point if needed for publication.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Climate Change: Methane is NOT the Monster Here

Since the very beginning of life itself, methane has been a part of the atmosphere. How can someone like me know this with certainty?  Simple.  You see, methane is a natural by-product of anything that is or was alive and if methane were as toxic as those attending the Cop26 climate conference believe, the World would have problems far greater than a degree or two of global warming.

As part of the atmosphere, methane is a versatile  gas that has both a practical use and destructive powers.  If captured, it can be used as a very efficient fuel for heating and power generation. When it accumulates in poorly ventilated pockets, it can be a quick and silent killer. In well ventilated areas, it is hardly noticeable and causes not damage.  However, its far greater purpose for the environment is to act as a filler in extremely high altitudes so that our atmosphere remains thick and healthy.  

Generally, methane forms when plants and animals alike have too many  carbon and hydrogen atoms left over from the growth or healing process. For animals particularly, this is common since all foods contain carbon and hydrogen. Similar to how carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, four excess hydrogen atoms join up with one carbon atom to make methane.  The main difference between the two is that methane is lighter-than-air and quietly floats away from ground level while carbon dioxide stays close to the surface where plants use it during photosynthesis.  

Forbes Photo
Does it not seem a bit ironic that the great scientists and leaders of the World have created a wealth of data condemning the two gases that they themselves produce on a daily basis?  Funny isn't it.  Only a computer would be able to come to such an illogical conclusion  but itis computer modeling that has kept the World in a climate change frenzy for over five decades.  

The reality is that preventing methane from entering the atmosphere is, like most climate change provisions, impossible to do and unlikely to keep climate change from occurring.  

As world leaders and so-called experts stand before the 8 billion residents of Earth and proclaim methane to be a toxic, planet-endangering gas, all one can do is wonder whether they are making up the science or just trying to gaslight a fearful public.

Cop26, the United Nations  annual global conference on climate change, was never going to be about proven physical science.  For now, leaders have backed themselves into a corner by making major economic decisions based on computer models and flimsy, out-of-context greenhouse gas science.  Not realizing they are promoting climate change rather than fixing it, the whole experience is beginning to resemble the climactic scene just before Toto pulls back the curtain to revel a scared and uncertain Wizard of Oz trying to be something he isn't.  For now, all that can be done is to continue to question these wild theories until there is no longer any doubt that climate change is not caused by carbon-based gases, such as methane.

Why is Greenhouse Gas Theory Wrong?

John Tyndall, who is credited with discovering greenhouse gas theory, certainly designed equipment to measure the heat absorbed from solar radiation for three different gases--carbon dioxide, water vapor and oxygen. But his end conclusion does not jive with today's scientific knowledge to the point that even amateur scientists can poke holes in his theories.  Only computer generated "false" science supports Tyndall's conclusions.  Think about this situation from a viewpoint that a computer cannot consider.

  • Science now knows that all matter, not just gases, absorbs heat from solar radiation. It is why skin burns and why the pavement gets too hot to walk across barefooted. Tyndall assumed that, like the heat rising from a warm fire, something in the air kept the planet warm.  As logical as the thought process was, the conclusion was fundamentally flawed.
  • Tyndall lived in the United Kingdom, where overcast skies and moderate temperatures are the norm. Even today most parts of the British Isles get less than half of the sunshine most US cities receive in a year. With his studies predating the science of meteorology, it is likely that he was unaware of the insulative qualities of clouds.
  • As for why carbon dioxide tested 'warmer' than other gases, it is well documented that the heavier a substance (the greater the mass) the longer an item holds heat.  With its heavier atomic weight, Tyndall logically concluded that carbon dioxide was the gas which keeps the planet warm.  Every scientist makes similar mistakes when they are looking for a plausible conclusion for an unknown phenomenon.
  • Even if all the carbon based gases in the atmosphere were removed, the surface of the planet would continue to absorb solar radiation and produce heat in equal or even greater amounts than it does now. Computers cannot match the ability of the human brain to factor in the simple along with the complicated.  If it were not for computers perpetuating future projections of planetary doom, scientists would have easily figured out climate change decades ago.

What is Causing  Climate Change?  

Like Tyndall, climatologists, environmentalists and leaders around the world are missing one huge factor in the rising ambient temperature across the planet.  Tyndall missed the impact cloud cover has on the day to day temperature and current scientists have done the same. 

Culturally, we want a world with clear skies.  Leaders put environment policies in place that did just that. In a simple case of "be careful what you wish for", those policies reduced the amount of cloud cover worldwide.  By preferring the sun to clouds mankind unintentionally caused climate change.  The sun may be where all energy comes from but clouds regulate that energy so that all species can live well.  

For more information on how Clean Air Policies compromised the environment, please consider purchasing a copy of the book Air Pollution's the Answer! How Clean Air Policy Compromised the Planet and Public Health.  It is available at online bookstores and in an e-Edition as well.  

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Dear AOC: Virginia has Spoken

Update: In what appears to be a press release sent out by AOC (11.19.2021), the young member of the House implies that her help and that of other Progressive would have tipped the scales in favor of former Governor Terry McAuliffe.  While that level of confidence in a young women is admirable, I must disagree with her assessment of the 2021 Virginia state election. From the beginning, McAuliffe was a flawed candidate, a problem that the Democratic party seems unable to understand.  A transplant to the state, McAuliffe skated into the office of Governor when voters reacted to the corruption charges of the previous governor and the good impression of then President Barrack Obama.  McAuliffe would also disappoint voters with mismanagement of funds and an FBI investigation into campaign finances. His temper and quick tongue also contributed to his demise.  The race was always Youngkin's to lose and a young, know-it-all Democrat would have only made Youngkin more attractive to moderate voters.  The party was right to distance itself from you and your policies. 


To House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and those known as "The Squad",

Virginia has spoken and the message is for you. 

Even before the election results are official (mail-in ballots will be accepted through Friday), nationally based columnists and main stream journalists are telling the world that Virginia voting has nothing to do with extreme mindsets and everything to do with a population that seems incapable of knowing what is good for them.  While both parties, Republicans and Democrats have taken the stand that "it's not us, it's them!" in recent years, these election results are a clear indication that the informed, moderate minority has the power to keep both parties in check. 

For far too long, elections in the United States have been playing to loyal followers who can predictably be taken for granted.  Both Democrats and Republicans see this as winning an annual game in which each side gets to change the rules without regard for the integrity or fairness of the competition.  The message to those, like "The Squad", who swing to extreme viewpoints is plain. Virginians on both sides of the aisle have no tolerance for elected officials who show favoritism, fail to compromise for the good of all and disrespect differing viewpoints that are labeled ignorant, prejudicial and stubborn.  Are you not just as ignorant and prejudicial about life in Virginia and haven't you stubbornly held on to your viewpoints while demanding all citizens welcome your viewpoints regardless of their validity?

The closeness of this race and the one in New Jersey mirrors the standoff with Biden's spending plan and infrastructure bill. While others see the President as weak and mindless, my instincts tell me this is the beginning of his presidency, not the end.  What better way to curtail the radical position of younger Democrats then to lump their ideas into a pot of political stew and see how well it is received.  There is no faster and better learning experience than total rejection of one's efforts. Now President Biden has the freedom to silence those who speak from a personal perspective when their job is to consider a wider audience.  Too many in Congress have forgotten they are responsible for the country, not just their party.  

For two years, Virginia's leadership, particularly young and inexperienced lawmakers, took media coverage and polls based in other states as a fair representation of where Virginia should go. They passed special interest legislation in record amounts telling themselves it was a better life for everyone.  The 2021 vote loudly speaks to the missteps of the last two years and should be a lesson to the Federal lawmakers.  Regardless of party affiliation, voters are tired of grandstanding politicians who pass laws that benefit a few and marginalize the many. It is not Virginia that is divided by the need to vote for leaders (state and national) who divide communities rather than bring them together.  Had Virginia Democrats been patient and stayed true to Virginia values, they might have remained in power.  Instead they put party before the Commonwealth and lost big. 

So, to "Squad" members, have you learned anything about being a leader today?  Have extreme Republicans realized it isn't enough to win the top spot if Congress and state houses are evenly divided.  Leadership is not just winning the race but being trained, coached and supported by others so that winning the race has something more than personal satisfaction.  

With November 2022 just one year away, it will be interesting to see if either party learns the lesson of moderation. In Virginia, it is always an election year and until there are elected officials who stand for something more than political affiliation and an electorate that votes without party preference, moderates will continue to cast the deciding vote in every election. 

Virginia Resident

Sarah Schrumpf-Deacon