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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Women are Insane, Men are Stupid (Where have all the good men gone...?)

There is an article over on WSJ about "Where Have All the Good Men Gone?" by Kay S. Hymowitz.

She points out that men, er boys actually, in the late twenties and early thirties are basically useless as men.  They live in a quasi-child/adult roll partying, loafing, and generally being unproductive.  She talks about a "gender gap" where women of the same age have societal value, careers and a life.

What I wonder is why is this a surprise?

These young men are useless because the women in society have made them useless.

That's right - women have made them useless.


Very simply by making "adult sex" a part of the "extended 30-something childhood" she complains men are living in today.

Let me explain.

For the last few hundred thousand years or so women have always had to make the greatest investment in societal progression.  The investment I talk about here is not one of money but instead of self, of time and of focus of effort.  Once attached to a man a woman was responsible for having and raising the children, for taking care of the man, for advancing their (the family, the couple, the children) social role in society, and much more.

This investment was often the ultimate investment - women literally sacrificing their lives for the betterment of their children and families. (Is this really crazy?  I think not...)

And like any shrewd investor women had to make the very best (and wisest) investment that she could given her situation.

And what were they investing in?

Men, of course.

Women (or the woman's family) selected the best men they could to be their spouse.  After all, they would spend their lives with that man, so they better pick the best one available.  Just like investing in a stock or a bond, women (and/or her family) shrewdly analyzed what was available based on extended family, genetics, appearance, strength, and whatever else to help make the best decision.  This choice often, at least before about 50 years ago, involved a strong familial element as well: A father would want to know if the man was good enough?  Did he work? Was he reliable.  And so on.  So the investment often went beyond just a single woman planning a future but involved the progression of the entire family unit.

Would the man be reliable enough to keep the daughter around when the daughters parents got old so they would have a place to live.  Even thirty five years ago I remember the fear of meeting the 6' 4" 300 pound father of my future wife - would he kill me on the spot?  (Years later I would come to find out that her family knew I was a hard working guy and I would make a good husband - I guess the "kill you on the spot" act was just for show...)

The choice made of a particular investment the woman next set about to "close the deal" as it were.

This might have meant "making the best" of an arranged marriage or might have involved meeting a man through a family connection.  But whatever the details it was up to the woman to make it work.  And clearly sex and children were part of making it work.

And what was the man to do in this situation?

Like any prize show animal his job was to, well, "show off".  To demonstrate how he would be able to make a successful life - whether by showing off dad's previous efforts or his own.  Show his strength, his fast car, his daring...  Show the woman he was the one for her (hormones I suppose).

And the real driver behind all of this?

Sex.  Plain and simple.

No wife, no sex.

Sex, for the man, was the reward for acceptance of the responsibility of adulthood.

And so, as a man, your future sex life was defined by being married.  (Sure you could fool around and certainly there were women who would oblige.  But over all this was not the focus of society.)

And once there was sex there were mostly likely children, responsibility and all the rest.  All the rest of the reasons that a man has to grow up and be a man.  And if you as a man didn't look like a good investment opportunity your chances of sex over the long haul were very limited.

But all this changed in the 1960's when feminism cast out the traditional role of woman from society.

Now the role of women and sex is different.  There is no investment involved.  Woman can have sex as indiscriminately as men.

Whatever you might think about this consider what this has done to the role of being a man.

It has removed the "prize" aspect of selecting being selected by a wife.  Of being thrust into a role of responsibility, of having to grow up.

Ms. Hymowitz talks about a movie where twenty-somethings loaf around all day smoking pot, playing video games, and planning to develop a porn site.  What's not said, of course, is that foolish women are certainly "hooking up" on the sly with these guys on at least a semi-regular enough basis to keep them lazy, stupid pot-smoking loafers.

If there were no sex involved in their current lazy, stupid lives they would quickly grow up and find a serious relationship.

So my point is simple.

Modern feminism has made men superfluous.  Men can find sex without commitment, effort or responsibility - and so they do.  And that keeps them stupid and lazy.

Since only women can offer sex to the men it is they who are responsible for the men being foolish, stupid and lazy.  Men, as they say, are stupid to begin with and taking away what drives them to overcome this is exactly the wrong thing to do if you want good men.

So, Ms. Hymowitz, things are only going to get worse, not better.  In a decade or two your daughter will find that men will still be "adolescent" in late 30's or 40's instead of the 20's and 30's of today.

Men, left to their own woman-less existence, will continue to invent amusements like video games, cell phones and other geek toys, Maxim magazines, porn web sites and the rest to alleviate their need for a strong, solid on-going relationship with a woman.

There still are good men out their - you just cannot find them because you are not looking for the right kind of man nor are you looking in the right kind of place.  A serious man that wants a long-term relationship with a woman for the old fashioned reasons I mention above is not going to be readily available for an on-the-sly "hook up" and the local speed dating site or bar.

(He, no doubt stupidly, thinks better of a true woman than that...)

You see there are still good men out their - and its harder for them to find good women - women who want the have children and raise families.

They just know better than to hang out where modern women might find them...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Single Serving Egyptian Friends (I hope you are well...)

I have been following the protests in Egypt with interest.  About six years or so ago Lexigraph, my business, was working with a couple of people from the Egyptian offices of a large, international computer business.  This was for a potential project related to some printing for an international gathering.

As part of the project Basem and Asra came over from Egypt to the US to spend a week on the design of the system we were building.  Basem, the IT Specialist, was a Coptic Christian and Asra, the Project Leader, a practicing Muslim.  Both are a relative rarity here in rural western Pennsylvania where I live.  Over the course of the week they were here I had a chance to get to know them and learn a little bit about their culture.

What made me think of them was the fact that much has been said about the fact that many of the protesters are "young", use cellphones and the internet for communication, and so on.  Of course, both Basem and Asra were relatively young and no doubt fit the profile as "tech savy" types that would be plugged into the protests, at least according to the news accounts.

As the visit progressed we were able to take our guests to lunch and sometimes dinner.  Each outing was an interesting cross-cultural affair.

As a Christian Basem was considerably more westernized in his views - though perhaps more with an flavor of the 1800's than the 21st century.  Coptic Christianity, which originated int the first century, is a faith practiced by about 1/6th of all Egyptians (10 million out of 60 million) - a figure surprising to me at the time as I considered Egypt to be a Muslim country.

(Even the name Egypt is a western creation.  It was first used by the ancient Greeks, Egyptos, from the ancient Egyptian words (Hut-Ka-Ptah), one of the names for “Memphis”, the first capital of Ancient Egypt.  I spent some time studying the Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Greek languages in school.)

Basem was gregarious and cheerful.  He was happy to talk about his culture, his life and his family.

For example, he told us dating was allowed only as a group affair - there were no western-style boy-girl dates.  Basem, who I estimated to be in his middle-late twenties, described of how mixed gender groups of friends would get together and go out to restaurants or parties in order to get to know one another.  As two people's interest in each other would grow there was eventually a formal process for the male "asking for the hand in marriage" of the female dictated by their culture and faith.

There was no "living together" or any of the common western-style relationships one finds today.   Beyond this he was generally familiar with the west and our views - though he considered our model for male/female courting and dating absolutely bizarre.

Asra, on the other hand, told us that she was initially frightened of us.  Being a practicing Muslim woman from the middle east alone in the USA her perspective on the west was that we were probably all war-mongering barbarians (sort of along the lines of the Capitol One airline mile credit card barbarians you see on TV).  However, as the days passed her views changed, at least a little.  By our second or third group trip to lunch she began to believe that we would not attack and kill her and began to relax a bit.

We found out that she was concerned, for example, that she would not be able to eat anything here because of Islamic dietary laws.  However, that turned out not to be the case as she found that most places we went to had a large variety of food on the menu - much of which that could be fit to her dietary requirements.  Asra, did not talk much about herself, her family or her social life I think out of fear.

At one point my wife and I took the two of them to dinner.  Up until this point both Basem and Asra had only interacted with males since the entire corporate staff of four at that time was all male.  Upon meeting my wife Asra seemed to open up considerably talking about how afraid she was initially that we were all barbarians and talking openly how she believed that everyone in the USA was out to destroy and kill all Muslims.  I think that this dinner to some degree gave her a different perspective on us western barbarians.

At the end of the week when they were preparing to leave they offered us gifts - papyrus paintings of the pyramids and Spinx they had brought with them.

The project was ultimately canceled (run by a shady Brit it turned out to be just hot air) and he left Basem and Asra's employers with a very large unpaid bill. Unfortunately, like so many "single serving friends" you meet in the corporate world we lost touch over the years.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

From the Land of Unintended Consequences...

The legacy of clean, efficient nuclear power.
I am as clean and green as anybody.  I live in a house made partially of recycled material, have a garden, generate only a bag or two of trash a week, work extensively with recycled rather than new materials... but there are limits.

One of the important limits of "green" is really understanding what the differences are between things that might be green and things that are green.  At issue is that many people like to talk about green but really don't understand what that means.

For example, is buying a Prius hybrid really more green that using and existing vehicle?  My existing truck sits in my driveway.  It uses no energy unless I drive it.  However, its big and old and probably not as efficient as a new hybrid one.  A new one would use less gas but I'd have to think about what the overhead and cost in terms of energy and "green" it would take to build it.  What about battery disposal and/or recycling?  As you answer these questions you see that even though something might be new and more "green" the actual cost of it in terms of "green" when you factor in all of the elements makes it much less attractive.

The same is true of "climate change."

Here there is a lot more rhetoric.  And one theme in particular is loud and clear: "Big coal fired power plants are filling the atmosphere with CO2."  The implication is, of course, that this CO2 is triggering "climate change."

This mantra has been going on from some years and what's interesting to me is the effect its having on other countries. 

China in particular.

And China is often demonized for building a lot of coal-fired power plants (such as this article).

Like any self-respecting country China has decided to do something about these problems - both the perception that their country is a big polluter as well as their problem of being one of the most energy-hungry countries on earth.

Their solution?

Clean, efficient nuclear energy.

But not just any nuclear energy. 

No, not at all.  They plan to use something called a molten salt thorium reactor.

So why write about this?  Well, a long time ago as a child I lived in southeastern Wisconsin.  We lived on the rural farmland where the number of animals far out numbered the people.  In the early 1970's the local power companies decided they needed some nuclear power plants to beef up the local electrical power grid.  The initial idea was that one of these plants would be built across the street from my parents home. 

My father became sort of an activist against nuclear power and by 1972 was busy with other locals putting up signs, protesting, and so on against having this plant built.  (One of my contributions was "No Nukes is Good Nukes.") As a geek child I became interested in the details of how these things worked, what the issues where and so on.

My interest was also fueled by a high school friend who's father worked at the now defunct Zion nuclear plant in Zion Illinois.  We were able to spend time at the utilities test nuclear site, see the computers, examine and venture inside their small test reactor, and so on.  A geek child's dream...

From all of this a few things were crystal clear:

- Nuclear power, while efficient and non-polluting as it operates, was a big mess in terms of creating fuel, managing fuel, maintenance and handling spent fuel.

- Nuclear power was best done with traditional plant designs that us water for coolants.  Exotic nuclear systems were nothing but trouble and a black hole of engineering for the unknown.

- The technology was so complex that there would be a variety of unintended consequences.

And this was the early 1970's.  And since then there have been a variety of minor safety issues (Karen Silkwood, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl)...

So now the Chinese are going to build molten salt thorium reactors.  This is a new and untested technology.

What's interesting to me is the fact that these reactors involve some of the most ugly, nasty and dangerous chemicals on earth: fluorides, uranium hexaflouride gas, thorium, and in much larger proportions than traditional nuclear systems.  And this particular reactor type uses all sorts of exotic versions of these chemicals and new, untested and interesting ways as well as requires a lot of pre- and post-processing of the fuel (think large complex nuclear processing facilities - the kind Silkwood blew the whistle on - but in a country where you just commit suicide after they found out you've been poisoning the animal food for the last couple of years with melamine.)

So off they go on a twenty year plan to "develop" this technology.  Reading the link above its clear that some of there reasons for this are to alleviate their perception as a polluting country, particularly relative to greenhouse gases.

Which takes us back to my original point.

The Zion plant from my childhood sits abandoned today - large pools of 30 years of radioactive waste sitting right next to the shores of lake Michigan (which is busy eroding the shore right near the plant).  The plant itself is large and ugly and takes up acres of land - land which can never be used again - at least not in my lifetime or the lifetime of my grandchildren.

The 1970's promise of a nuclear power bonanza for the region has been replaced with a traditional coal fired plant near my childhood home belching steam into the sky day and night.  (This way we have power to surf the internet, text and use our cellphone while driving our hybrid cars to the organic food store.)

And the Zion plant has as waste fuel rods, chemicals, parts and coolant stored on site.  (There is no place to move them to - no one wants nuclear waste in their backyard - so it sits in Zion's backyard...?)

The Chinese plants will have God-knows what sort of bizarre and horrific waste chemicals that will require as yet undeveloped chemical processing technologies to prepare, manage and store.  And as we know the Chinese are somewhat less fastidious about making sure that the right chemicals are used for the right things manufacturing-wise...

No, I think the Chinese are simply caught up lost in the world "green" rhetoric.

Leaving the rest of us to suffer with the unintended consequences of our actions for centuries.

Don't believe me?

Just as the people of Chernobyl...

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Nicotine, Nazi's and Magical Thinking (Conclusions...)

In my last several posts on this topic I have addressed many aspects of the burgeoning e-cigarette business.  So let me summarize my thoughts:

The demonization of smokers is an activity as insidious and evil as any other racially-based activity.  There exist studies to indicate that smokers have various genetic predispositions to smoking and nicotine hence targeting them as a group is wrong.  (And yes this is like what the Nazi's did to the Jews - particularly because society as a whole goes along with it with a wink and a nod because the government portrays smokers and smoking as unclean.)

Smokers are people like everyone else.  They have rights which cannot be violated because they make others uncomfortable.

The exact same arguments where used by the Nazi's as an excuse to round up Jews.

And no, smoking laws that eliminate smoking from private enterprise are wrong.  Wrong because taking away the rights of the business is no better than taking away rights because of skin color or gender or anything else.

E-cigarettes have nothing to do with smoking and its associated medical side show of misery.  E-cigarettes function no differently than vaporizers and coffee pots.  Both heat liquids containing chemicals, both give off vapors you can breath, both address specific mental and physical cravings.

Personally I believe that they should not be called e-cigarettes because doing so associates them with the historical demonization of smokers.

So why do it?

I have noticed that in social situations most people are so used to the classic "smoking cues" that if you pretend like the e-cigarette is a pen or pencil virtually no one notices what you are doing with it - even in the homes of virulent anti-smoking Nazi's.  People today are accustomed to devices with lights so they don't attract attention - particularly if they are not orange.

People seem to accept it - sort of like seeing a joint for the first time at a party - "Oh, that's interesting!"  "How does it work."  "Can I try it!"

So in the best interest of success it would seem that its best for e-cigarettes not to be cigarettes at all - but rather vaporizers.

This will make it very, very hard to legislate exactly what the difference is between a vaporizer I might give my child as part of a breathing treatment and an e-cigarette.

Nicotine is not evil.  Its a drug, like most naturally occurring substances, that comes from a plant.  It occurs in eggplant and tomatoes as well as tobacoo.  It is not well studied except as part of smoking.

However, most anit-smoking Nazi's simply apply the evils of inhaling smoke to nicotine.

They should not be given a pass on this.

The government promotes all sorts of other dangerous behavior so long as its "socially acceptable."  For example, safe sex.  "Safe sex" spreads disease and creates children.  Birth control is never 100% effective.  They promote the latest "health craze" like Lipitor and statin drugs, antibiotics, and so forth even though there is ample evidence that these substances are not helpful and very, very often do much more harm than good.

But because they are in bed with the drug companies these facts are ignored.

Like a heroin addict government is addicted to cigarette taxes.  If you do not believe this conduct the following thought experiment.  "Every quits smoking today."  What happens?  Tens or hundreds of thousands who make a living because of tobacco become unemployed.  The local 7-11's go bankrupt or become unprofitable.  Thousands of FDA and academic anti-smoking Nazi's loose their jobs.  States lose tens of millions a month in revenue - revenue that props up bad pension and other decisions.  People stop going to places that accept smokers.  Millions gain weight and become obese - encountering numerous and serious health issues as they do so.

All of this cuts off the stream of cigarette, employment and excise tax revenue leaving states, already bankrupt, in worse shape than ever.

They turn to the federal government for aid - but its already over extended and fails to help...

The truth is the government (federal, state, and local) requires tobacco revenue, sales and businesses in order to function.  Take that away and they will go bust.


They say they want us all to stop smoking...

Given this scenario do you think they really want to lose their jobs?  Go bankrupt? Have nothing to study?

Of course not.

And what about the moral implications of this?

If smoking is so unclean and evil how could anyone justify making a living from it?

Particularly if they, as their living, claim its evil and unclean.

No, smoking and her friends are like the prostitutes that visit the judges or police chief's office after hours - they are all corrupt.

E-cigarette technology comes from outside the USA.  This is very, very bad because it gives the FDA the entire force of the US government to use against it.  Honestly, I think that e-cigarette companies should set up shop in Mexico and give Mexicans crossing the boarder illegally huge bags of e-cigarette materials to carry (for pay of course) into the country.

This would solve the problem since the US government has no real concern about stopping this sort of illegal entry to the US.

Of course the real problem is that ridiculous laws here make developing technology to help smokers something can only be done in another country - thanks Mr. FDA for looking out for your charges here in the US.

Children will use them! Can you please give me a break.  The FDA is happy to give condoms to kids - with mere paper instructions in the box.  Do the condoms always work? No.  Are they reliable birth control? No.  Does little Suzy remember to take her birth control pills every day?  No.  And what are the risks of those pills long term?  Are they good for you?  If so, why to the packages have so many warnings on them?

Then there is the nonsense of "it entices children"...  So does pot.  So does drinking. So do most things that adults do that children cannot.

Anyone every been to a giant kids party for 18 and under where tobacco companies are giving out cigarettes?  No, me either...  Guess we'll have to wait for the vaping companies to do the same - that way the law enforcement community will have something to work with.

How about just saying "no".

Its time for the industry to setup a trade association and start beating the bushes in Washington DC.

Its time to have some hearings on capitol hill where vapers can sit in front of congressmen, like Henry Waxman, puffing away on their personal vaporizers while they explain why congress should leave the industry the hell alone...

This will all come to a head when some toddler or little kid grabs a bottle of nicotine juice, drinks it and dies.  This kid will become the poster child for the "vaping is evil" campaign.  Posters in every convenience store, dire online warnings, and so on.  But it will be a ruse.

Every vaper must claim that they are using the device to "help them quit."  Not to actually quit, but the help them.  Then explain to everyone that making the devices illegal will cause them to have to smoke again.