Author: Shawn Stoller

Asker of questions, seeker of answers

Save the Planet: Stop buying clothes!

The Economist 

Business and finance

Apr 5th 2017

…..

Dressing to impress has an environmental cost as well as a financial one. From the pesticides poured on cotton fields to the washes in which denim is dunked, making 1kg of fabric generates 23kg of greenhouse gases on average, according to estimates by McKinsey, a consultancy. Because consumers keep almost every type of apparel only half as long as they did 15 years ago, these inputs go to waste faster than ever before. The latest worry is shoppers in the developing world, who have yet to buy as many clothes as rich-world consumers but are quickly catching up.

Most apparel companies know that sooner or later, consumers’ awareness of this subject will rise. That is a worry……..

Aware now? Just sayin…..

 

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Guns don’t kill people, cars kill people

Ride-hailing apps may help to curb drunk driving

GUN violence in America gets plenty of attention, but cars kill more. Around 40,000 people a year die on American roads, more than all fatalities caused by firearms (of which two-thirds are suicides, not homicides).

Facts, just sayin….

If you really want to make a difference….

Stop eating hamburgers!

I know, a radical idea, but you might learn something you didn’t know or fully understand by reading the article above, just sayin….

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that confined farm animals generate more than 450 million tonnes of manure annually, three times more raw waste than generated by Americans. 1

 

……..animal agriculture accounts for:

  • 9% of annual human-induced CO2 emissions,3
  • 37% of methane (CH4) emissions, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of CO2, 4 and
  • 65% of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, which has almost 300 times CO2’s global warming potential.5

PS – there are footnotes and lots of references which are dated now but the issue is still out there.  Here are data from the EPA for those digging deeper.

File under: Things we should all know

What they learned after only seven years is worth remembering (or learning, as the case may be).

The Articles of Confederation versus the US Constitution:

The United States has operated under two constitutions. The first, The Articles of Confederation, was in effect from March 1, 1781, when Maryland ratified it. The second, The Constitution, replaced the Articles when it was ratified by New Hampshire on June 21, 1788.

The two documents have much in common – they were established by the same people (sometimes literally the same exact people, though mostly just in terms of contemporaries). But they differ more than they do resemble each other, when one looks at the details. Comparing them can give us insight into what the Framers found important in 1781, and what they changed their minds on by 1788.

They might have been onto something here:

Term limit for legislative office
Articles: No more than three out of every six years
Constitution: None

Interesting but guessing they haven’t much regretted not using the special exemption:

New States
Articles: Admitted upon agreement of nine states (special exemption provided for Canada)
Constitution: Admitted upon agreement of Congress

For those seeking advanced knowledge only: The Preamble was several full clauses in the Articles of Confederation.  Perhaps using the abbreviated version in the Preamble was saving too much paper. Just sayin….

The Preamble

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

From the Articles of Confederacy:

Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

Provide for common defence was:

Article III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.

On raising armies:

Article VII. When land forces are raised by any State for the common defense, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the legislature of each State respectively, by whom such forces shall be raised, or in such manner as such State shall direct, and all vacancies shall be filled up by the State which first made the appointment.

Good documents to reread often. Just sayin….

 

Flying Cars! Uber’s white paper

On-Demand Urban Air Transportation

A network of small, electric aircraft that take off and land vertically (called VTOL aircraft for Vertical Take-off and Landing, and pronounced vee-tol), will enable rapid, reliable transportation between suburbs and cities and, ultimately, within cities.

Imagine traveling from San Francisco’s Marina to work in downtown San Jose — a drive that would normally occupy the better part of two hours — in only 15 minutes. What if you could save nearly four hours round-trip between São Paulo’s city center and the suburbs in Campinas? Or imagine reducing your 90-plus minute stop-and-go commute from Gurgaon to your office in central New Delhi to a mere six minutes.

Every day, millions of hours are wasted on the road worldwide. Last year, the average San Francisco resident spent 230 hours commuting between work and home—that’s half a million hours of productivity lost every single day. In Los Angeles and Sydney, residents spend seven whole working weeks each year commuting, two of which are wasted unproductively stuck in gridlock. In many global megacities, the problem is more severe: the average commute in Mumbai exceeds a staggering 90 minutes. For all of us, that’s less time with family, less time at work growing our economies, more money spent on fuel — and a marked increase in our stress levels: a study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, for example, found that those who commute more than 10 miles were at increased odds of elevated blood pressure.

Where do I sign up? Just sayin….

Digital Asset Estate Planning is critical!

Sadly, we had a good friend who did not make these arrangements and I still get his image popping up from his Facebook so here’s a short reminder on making changes to your estate plan for your digital assets:

Estate Planning for Digital Assets

The adviser realized leaving her client’s eBay and PayPal accounts open after his death could leave his heirs vulnerable to having those accounts hacked, a logistical nightmare if she didn’t have access to them.

“Anyone could hack into the accounts—which are connected to bank accounts—and take the money or rack up huge debts that the estate is then responsible for,”

They researched service agreements at social media, e-commerce and file storing sites. In accordance with those agreements, they came up with an amendment to the client’s revocable trust that they hoped would give the trustee, Ms. Pedersen’s firm, access to all of the client’s digital accounts when he dies.

Think about your accounts at Google, Facebook, Amazon, PayPay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, BitCoin, Itunes, etc. and how digital your life has become and make arrangements for someone to take down your digital accounts.  Don’t have your face pop up on a friend or family Facebook account after you’re gone, plan today.  Just sayin…

 

I just couldn’t resist offering this up

Can Hillary Clinton get out of this one?

January 29 at 5:21 PM Washington Post

Former attorney general Michael R. Mukasey wrote that “from her direction that classification rules be disregarded, to the presence on her personal email server of information at the highest level of classification, to her repeated falsehoods of a sort that juries are told every day may be treated as evidence of guilty knowledge—it is nearly impossible to draw any conclusion other than that she knew enough to support a conviction at the least for mishandling classified information.” If that is the case, Mukasey concludes, “The simple proposition that everyone is equal before the law suggests that Mrs. Clinton’s state of mind—whether mere knowledge of what she was doing as to mishandling classified information; or gross negligence in the case of the mishandling of information relating to national defense; or bad intent as to actual or attempted destruction of email messages; or corrupt intent as to State Department business—justifies a criminal charge of one sort or another.”

Equal may not always be equal, we’ll see after Iowa. Just sayin…

Maybe he’s onto something here…

Republican self-destruction is fun to watch, but bad for us all

January 29 at 1:44 PM Washington Post

…An intellectually vibrant conservatism is essential to a healthy democracy.  The United States needs conservatives willing to criticize the grand plans we liberals sometimes offer, to remind us that traditional institutions should not be overturned lightly and to challenge those who believe that politics can remold human nature.

Wait, is he suggesting we are slow to change? No, say it’s not so!

At its best, as Philip Wallach and Justus Myers argued in National Affairs , conservatism is a “disposition” that “has the most to offer societies that have much worth conserving.” Even those of us who are critical of our nation’s injustices and inequalities can agree that the United States is such a society. The task of conservatives, Wallach and Myers write, is to offer “incremental adaptation” as an alternative to radical change.

So, in plain speak, progress at a thoughtful pace.  How reasonable.

Conservatives in power could never materially reduce the size of government, because so much of what it does and spends money on — from supporting the elderly to protecting consumers to providing for the common defense — is so popular. Conservatives haven’t been able to roll back cultural changes, because most Americans don’t want to return where we were before the rights revolutions on behalf of African Americans, women and gays. And politicians can’t reverse the fact that white Americans gradually are losing their majority status in an increasingly diverse nation.

It’s a good read.  Just sayin….

 

 

Why did Obama really kill XL Pipeline?

If you’ve been following along, you already know that Warren Buffet controls BNSF railroad (which hauls most of the oil around the country).

You also know that John Kerry is married to Theresa Heinz.

Heinz is partners with Warren Buffet.

Buffet is a “great friend”of, and contributor to, Obama.

So, connect the dots, five different State department studies confirmed that, standing alone, the pipeline would have almost no impact on the environment, and

Worst of all, failing to build Keystone XL will actually hurt the environment. That’s because transporting oil via pipeline is much safer than via rail or truck. Indeed, oil shipments by rail are nearly five times more likely to experience spills or other incidents than those by pipeline…

Shipments by pipeline also produce less emissions than alternative methods. Had Obama approved Keystone XL’s permit when it was submitted seven years ago, he would have spared the planet 8.8 million tons of greenhouse-gas emissions – the equivalent of eliminating 1.8 million cars from the road.

“Every year that we rely on rail instead of pipeline infrastructure to carry this oil results in more emissions, more spills, and more fatal accidents,” lamented Catrina Rorke, energy policy director at the R Street Institute, a Washington-based think tank. “With the pipeline project now effectively killed, that number will continue to compound.”
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20151203_Killing_pipeline_actually_hurts_the_environment.html#kPb7iREWbLgWYbrx.99

My conclusion? Killing XL Pipeline was a totally profit motivated decision that Obama is now trying to sell in Paris as a boost to the environment.

What makes the whole episode even more strange is that apart from the rejection of Keystone XL, Obama actually has an unfalteringly pro-pipeline record. On his watch, more than 12,000 miles of pipeline have been built in the United States, mostly underground. That’s the equivalent of ten Keystone XL pipelines – and all without much fuss from the green movement.

Clearly, the president’s opposition to Keystone XL isn’t about the policy merits. With this decision, he has chosen to appease the environmentalist left, which decided to make killing this pipeline its signature priority.

Keystone XL was a tangible pathway to job creation, economic prosperity, and a healthier environment. Unfortunately for us, those considerations took a backseat to cynical politics and posturing.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20151203_Killing_pipeline_actually_hurts_the_environment.html#kPb7iREWbLgWYbrx.99

Would you be surprised to learn that all those environmentalists (See Buffet’s buddy Daniel Tishman at NRDC) who were against this pipeline were associated with “Charities” funded by contributions from Buffet controlled corporations (that then deducted those amounts on their income tax returns!)?

Just sayin….