Interesting article in the Atlantic about the lack of social mobility and economic progress in America.

Click to read.


You want drama?
You want drama?
Go ahead...make my day...press the RED button....,
You just never know what might happen next time you go out
for a nice quiet cuppa coffee-!!!
Press the red button and find out...



Small House Movement

The small house movement advocates living in small homes. Family size is shrinking while homes have grown in size.

There is a very good environmental argument for decreasing home size.  Smaller homes take less energy to construct, heat, and cool. Many of the homes proposed in the small house movement are too small for most people. But there are good solid reasons to reduce our footprint on the ground.






Interesting article in newgeography.com  on commuting. New York has by far the most transit users. But a surprise is that Washington, DC has the second highest percent of transit users.

Click to read the article.



End of the Big Beasts

Who or what killed off North America's mammoths and other megafauna 13,000 years ago?

There are four major theories on what caused the extintion. Click to read an interesting article on the subject.


Costs of Environmental Regulations

The article below quantifies the economic costs of environmental regulations. There are real costs to regulations. Of course there are real benefits also, and it is very difficult to quantify the true costs and benefits.


The Effects of Environmental Regulation on the Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturing

Michael GreenstoneJohn A. ListChad Syverson

NBER Working Paper No. 18392
Issued in September 2012
NBER Program(s):   EEE   IO   PR 

The economic costs of environmental regulations have been widely debated since the U.S. began to restrict pollution emissions more than four decades ago. Using detailed production data from nearly 1.2 million plant observations drawn from the 1972-1993 Annual Survey of Manufactures, we estimate the effects of air quality regulations on manufacturing plants’ total factor productivity (TFP) levels. We find that among surviving polluting plants, stricter air quality regulations are associated with a roughly 2.6 percent decline in TFP.

Click to read the article 


France, Germany, and the United States

We spent the last month touring France and Germany.  Two very nice countries that we always enjoy.

The two countries are very successful and great places to visit and live.  Germany has made a major commitment to wind and solar power generation and there are numerous solar panels on rooftops and wind turbines on hilltops and ridges.  France has a high percentage of their power generated by nuclear plants. Germany has decided to eliminate nuclear power.

All three countries enjoy a high standard of living. The per capita income of the United States is still considerably higher, however, according to figures published by the world bank.

United States    48,442

Germany          39,414

France             35,194


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GDP Per Capita by Nation

World map showing countries above and below the world GDP (PPP) per capita, currently $10,700. Source: IMF (International Monetary Fund).
Blue above world GDP (PPP) per capita
Orange below world GDP (PPP) per capita.

Click to see the per capita income by country.

The United States is still near the top despite 

our recent economic problems.


In San Francisco, a secret project bears fruit



Published: Sunday, Sep. 16, 2012 - 1:00 am
All Tara Hui wanted to do was plant some pears and plums and cherries for the residents of her sunny, working-class neighborhood, a place with no grocery stores and limited access to fresh produce.
But officials in this arboreally challenged city, which rose from beneath a blanket of sand dunes, don't allow fruit trees along San Francisco's sidewalks, fearing the mess, the rodents and the lawsuits that might follow.
So when a nonprofit planted a purple-leaf plum in front of Hui's Visitacion Valley bungalow 31/2 years ago - all flowers and no fruit, so it was on San Francisco's list of sanctioned species - the soft-spoken 41-year-old got out her grafting knife.
"I tried to advocate for planting productive trees, making my neighborhood useful, so people could have free access to at least fruit," she said. "I just wasn't getting anywhere."
Today, Hui is the force behind Guerrilla Grafters, a renegade band of idealistic produce lovers who attach fruit-growing branches onto public trees in Bay Area cities (they are loath to specify exactly where for fear of reprisal).

Thanks to Mike Yui for sharing.


City Planner Leonardo DaVinci

We visited the Leonardo DaVinci exhibit in France yesterday in the home where he lived the last three years of his life.  


City Planner Leonardo DaVinci

"Perhaps no idea speaks to the epic ambition and scope of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions better than his ideal city.""

"Da Vinci’s ideal city idea came about after the plague had ravaged Milan, killing off nearly a third of the city’s population. Leonardo wanted to design a city that would be more united, with greater communications, services and sanitation to prevent the future spread of such diseases."

His ideal city integrated a series of connected canals, which would be used for commercial purposes and as a sewage system." 

"The roads were designed to be very broad, most likely in response to Milan’s narrow streets where people were jammed together, probably contributing to the spread of the plague."

"Being an artist and architect, da Vinci’s city also would be a vision to behold, with elegant buildings featuring large arches and pillars. Da Vinci said of his style of urban planning: "Only let that which is good looking be seen on the surface of the city.""

Click to read more about Leonardo's Plan.




"Run, Hide, Fight: Surviving an Active Shooter Event"

Interesting video on Surviving an Active Shooter Event


Of course you have very little chance of being a victim of an active shooter event. Violence is responsible for less then 1% of all deaths according to the Wikipedia link below, and the percent of those violent deaths by mass murder is very small. But I suppose it does not hurt to be prepared.