Monthly Archives: January 2011

Life Update

Life is a bit of a mess, but I’m managing…almost.  Worked on someone’s bookcover which I’ll post over on my art blog zentao.com later today or tomorrow when I get two breaths to “make it so,” doing a bid for a CD package, working on a leafy tee, practicing to play Zappa with Forrest in a guitar/flute duo, taking care of the home front, Mom, the animals, the plants, and trying to get up the gumption to finish a manuscript, something that’s been on hold since before Christmas.  Oh, and I have to prepare invoicing. In a word, I’m scramblingly busy.

De-cluttering Mind and Life

I abhor clutter and disorganization, yet, while in the midst of a project it looks as if there’s nothing but. I move from concept to creating the necessary elements of the project which stack up in seemingly chaotic piles.  Then, once I have all the piles of necessary elements created, I put them together. From concept to clutter and seeming chaos comes order and a completed project, the detritus neatly swept away.

So why would there be a hoard of clutter over in this corner and that? Projects abandoned is the reason, but the pieces retain an intrinsic value and could contribute to a different project.

Several months ago I dumped all the corners of clutter, organizing what could be and discarding the rest. Now, in the midst of the first of the year cycle of “to-do’s”, I’m also deciding what to de-clutter from life and mind. So far, that includes any activities and events which are not productive for my well-being and peace of mind, which alter my desired state of being, which deviate me from my lifeway choices.

Removing these means changing life protocols and removing myself from certain circles. The protocols are easy. The circles, which are comprised of people, tend to be a bit more difficult, because the people who create those circles don’t believe me when I say ‘goodbye’.

Jobs: Many Articles, One Inevitable Conclusion

There are and have been a lot of articles about the state of jobs in the U.S.  Reading them, I find only one or two that actually address the real problem: over-population.  That’s because it’s a tabboo subject; it’s unpopular to suggest that people must stop having so many babies.  When I was in high school, then college, though, it kept striking me that population growth along with technological innovation would, in time, prove to be disastrous for our nation and the world. And, unfortunately, that time has come.  I used to argue that in Economics class; I still argue that with colleagues, though, lately, their voices are fewer and weaker because, 1) their jobs have been outsourced overseas, and, 2) computers and automation have taken over their tasks. Even jobs requiring a high degree of mental acumen and skill are being phased out from a “permanent” position to that of a “permanent temporary”, subcontracted status. Mostly gone are the lucrative, lifetime jobs where you could look forward to retirement after, say, thirty years of satisfying, steady employment with the same firm, working your way up the company hierarchy.

DOING MORE FOR LESS
Technological innovation and computer automation are, of course, wonderful. One person can do so much more today than they could even ten years ago…by themselves, without an army of help. So, pound for pound and dollar for dollar, they and the company they work for make more money, right? Maybe, depending on the circumstances and the business. Mostly, it depends on how the business is run and how much competition vies for the same market…because competition for income is more intense with the increasing number of desperate available bodies willing to do it for less.

REPLACING THOSE EXPENSIVE HUMAN WORKERS
Of course, robotics allow companies to get rid of expensive workers who, being human, are, well, human. Emotions, illness, familial responsibilities, and the need for reasonably safe, comfortable working conditions all add a toll to hiring live bodies as opposed to high-tech mechanicals. Robots are expensive, though. Still, when measuring one robot’s productivity against that of a live worker, robots make a lot of sense.  It takes 4.2 human workers to do the same amount of work as one robot if those humans can and will work at the same speed and with the same efficiency as said robot.  And, of course, you need the tech to maintain and fix the robot…or a contract with the company who makes it.  Still, the robot is still cheaper, especially since a robot can be used as a depreciation expense.  So, considering all the variables, buying a robot (or several) is definitely much more appealing than employing human beings.  And robots don’t need health care or retirement benefits, a huge plus in savings.

BURGEONING POPULATION
Then, of course, there’s the sheer volume of people who need or want work. That makes workers very cheap and becoming cheaper still as population increases.

SHORT TERM SOLUTION? I don’t think there is one that’s politically appealing to either of our political parties, nor one that is practical without closing the borders and isolationism, plus some stringent new commerce laws…such as: to sell in the U.S., you must create the product in a U.S.-based factory that employs U.S. citizens, else pay a huge tariff for the privilege of selling to Americans.

LONG TERM SOLUTION? Pretty easy to figure out: reduce the human population by reducing the number of babies born.

Super Calderas

Ron H. sent a cool article about a super caldera underneath Europe.  The article is here: Supervolcano Threatens Life in Europe

Here’s a video about one of the biggest caldera’s we know about on the planet — the one under Yellowstone.  I watched this about a year ago, and I thought it was well done.