Climate Change and Republicans-Why the denial?

Climate change map

Why do Republicans deny climate change?

It seems strange that presidential candidates, many of whom have created and run successful businesses and maneuvered through politics, would claim that climate change doesn’t exist, or deny the degree that scientists say it is happening. These aren’t idiots, even if the media might try to portray them that way. So what’s behind this, where conservatives go against the majority of scientists and their evidence?

Well, it’s complicated. But it mostly has to do with the politicization of the issue.

This blog mostly deals with fantasy. So why bring this up? I know it’s a stretch, but it has to do with the fantasies we create to fool ourselves. And no, liberals are not immune to this. They just do it on different issues, and in a different way on this issue.

Climate Change — Not the Government’s Job

The first reason that many conservatives reject the data is because it doesn’t fit in their worldview. They fear what would happen if they admitted climate change was real. Not so much for the doomsday predictions that many scientists declare, saying the poles will melt, the oceans will rise, and the earth will slowly transform into a place nearly unlivable for humans. No, they fear that if they admit that climate change is real, then the responsibility to fix it will fall to the government. And conservatives distrust government involvement, not wholly without reason. Government programs are generally less efficient and effective than that of private organizations like businesses or churches. And if government does happen to save the day, unlikely as that is when it is so polarized on nearly every issue, then people will feel a debt and vote for the party that brought about the change, which would probably be the Democratic party, just because they’re the ones advocating for change.

The only way the government could do anything would be to pass stricter regulations on emissions, waste, etc. Government by itself won’t innovate a new technology to save us, because it is run by politicians, not scientists. With harsher regulations, many businesses would feel stress to comply, and some will go under. Conservatives who believe in climate change generally believe that a free market solution will go further and be less disruptive than government intervention. But liberals, despite pressuring businesses to ‘Go Green,’ want more done.

Still, some of the political statements can be be ridiculous. Look at comments from the 2016 Republican hopefuls.

Many conservatives are also religious, which affects their worldview as well. Some interpret their scriptures as saying that God has all power, and us humans can’t destroy his creation. But, then again, Christian scripture, specifically Revelation, talks about the last days, how plagues will fill the earth, the moon will turn to blood, the sun will withdraw its light, and other things that could correlate with climate change.

Solutions, Anyone?

Looking at the issue objectively, it might seem hopeless to find a solution. Have we gone past the point of no return? Will we cause an apocalypse, where many die and mankind has to go back into survival mode? The many movies and shows that deal with post apocalyptic futures, from Mad Max to The Walking Dead, reflects this unconscious belief, or fear if you will, that everything’s going to collapse on itself. And many people, especially the problem solvers like business owners, don’t want to contemplate the idea that nothing can be done. It’s not an immediate problem, so it can be pushed down the line. It’s the same with bloated, unsustainable entitlement programs: keep them up so people won’t get angry, but in the end they will implode.

Personally, I’m pessimistic about this. Everything the government and ‘green’ companies are doing might slow down the acceleration, but it’s like putting a bandaid on a broken bone. We are consuming more and more electronics, with no stopping in sight, even though they rely on rare earth minerals, which, by their very definition, are rare. The climate has changed because of human intervention, if not as a whole, then in pockets (if you’ve been to Mexico City, it would be obvious). We can hope for a technological development, like useful electric cars, with greatly reduce emissions, but there are two problems with that example: the cost of electric cars is prohibitive to most right now, and the fact that many forms of generating electricity still pollute the air.

Hopefully, some new innovation or combination of many will fix the dying earth. But if the solution doesn’t come? If we’re forced to choose between a healthy earth or our iPhones, what will we choose? What are we willing to sacrifice? Or do you cling to the fantasy that we won’t pay sacrifices? That climate change isn’t real? That the government will step in and save us all?

What people call ideology in this case happens to be a fantasy. So which is yours? And can you blame the other side for clinging hopefully to theirs?

Weight Loss: The Medieval Way

Ever see Lord of the Rings and wonder why everyone (except maybe dwarfs and hobbits) is so thin? Well, the real answer is that they cast pretty people in the movies. But the pretend answer is that back in the day, you had to work to get fat. Nowadays, you have to work weight loss. So what changed?
Mass production.
Most of our food doesn’t come to us fresh, it comes to us in boxes and bottles. Preservatives have been added to extend the life of the food, which does have its benefits, but a lot of food has been processed so much that it loses nutritional value and adds sugars and other fattening ingredients.
Add that to the fact that most jobs are not very labor intensive, we have cars, buses, and trains that take us everywhere, and even doing household chores doesn’t give you much exercise. All these things add up to a lifestyle of laziness filled with fattening foods.
The ideal is opposite the norm. Back in the day, the ideal was to be fat and rich. Now it is to be fit and slim.
So what can you do about it?
The truth is, there are lots of fad diets. They know that people want weight loss, but all the factors are against them. So they make outrageous claims for people desperate enough to follow them. Some have temporary success, but they often gain it back in the long run. Unfortunately, weight loss requires work. Just like it was hard to get enough food to get fat, now it’s hard to abstain enough to get skinny. But there are some basic, universal principles you can use for weight loss, little by little, to keep it off. You will have to make lifestyle changes, though. Go back to your roots and eat the medieval way.

1. Volume

What makes a food unhealthy? When it comes done to it, it mostly has to do with the density of calories. Ice cream’s calorie density is much greater than broccoli. Why does that matter? If you count your calories, it shouldn’t. But here’s the thing. Your stomach can’t count calories. It can only tell you when it’s full. So even if you count your calories, your body will want more if it’s not full. You’ll get a lot fuller eating vegetables than fried chicken with the same amount of calories, which will help out with weight loss.
Suggestion: find a natural food, low in calories, that you like, and eat it as your snack, instead of chips or other fattening foods. Eat it without ranch or other dips, which make healthy foods unhealthy. You can, however, mix good foods. A salad with strawberries and nuts on top can taste good and be healthy if prepared right. It’s hard, but it will make a big difference. Not only do fruits and vegetables have more volume and less calories, it also contains a lot more micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, the stuff your body needs that won’t make you fat. Those things get stripped out in processed foods.
People in medieval times didn’t have the luxury of supermarkets. They stuffed themselves with whatever was available, from bread to oatmeal to carrots. You don’t have to labor on a farm to get your carrots, so enjoy them.

2. Drink water

I know you love your Coca-Cola. But do you know what’s in it? Neither do I. A bunch of chemicals. Really, this is about the least natural drink you can have. But don’t think that drinking juice is much better. It’s so full of sugar that in some ways, it’s as bad as soda. In reality, the best drink is water. Let’s count the calories in water. 0. Done. And your body is literally made of something like 80% water. Not 80% Coca Cola, but water. And not only as the healthiest, it’s also the cheapest. Going to a restaurant? Water is usually free (but not the bottled water). Thirsty at work. Drinking fountain. Thirsty at home? Drink some tap water. Get a filter if you feel like it, but tap water is as regulated as bottled water, maybe even more, so you don’t have to waste a lot of money buying bottles. And bottles have a negative impact on the environment.
The problem with this is that so many people are so used to sugared drinks that they feel like water is tasteless. It can take some getting used to. There are a few strategies you could try to increase water intake. One is to only drink water between meals. Save the juice or soda or even milk for the big meals, maybe even only dinner. Another thing you can do, which will help out in weight loss, is force yourself to drink a big glass of water before your meal. Not only will you get your water, but it will help with your appetite so you don’t eat too much.
If people in medieval times saw what we drink now, they would think we’re possessed to put that stuff in our bodies. While they might have favored wine because the water wasn’t always clean, you don’t have that problem, so take advantage.

3. Cook (don’t microwave)

The fine art of cooking has gotten lost in this world of fast food. But it is a lot healthier for you. Find recipes that use natural, unprocessed foods. The closer something appears to how it looks in nature, the better it is for you. When you cook with meat, favor chicken and fish over beef and pork. Add vegetables, while avoiding eating too much rice, potatoes, bread, and pasta. If you do eat these, go for the whole grain versions.
The ready made meals you just stick in the microwave are full of preservatives and salt and have few health benefits. And in the end, home made food tastes better than plastic mashed potatoes. Time does become a problem, but there are ways around it. When you have enough time, cook for several meals and freeze them, to reheat later (microwaving a homemade meal, while not ideal, is better than a store bought one). Take leftovers to work for lunch. Find recipes for delicious food that is easy to make. Crock pots also make cooking easier. When given the choice between frying your food or baking it, the oven is healthier. Little choices like these can make a big difference in the long run. You just have to be patient.
People in medieval times had to work just to purify their water and light a fire. Cooking took all day, and with limited ingredients. So don’t complain about an hour of your time to cook something up.

It’s amazing that all the science we possess can’t seem to rival the natural foods that exist all around us for healthiness. Yes, mass production has helped feed more people, but we’ve gone overboard and now it is killing us instead of helping us. Fight back, both for your own health and as a message to the food industry. Exercise, eat healthy, and don’t overeat. You only have one body, don’t waste it.

The problem with Star Wars No One Talks About

Star Wars

There’s been a lot of talk about Star Wars lately, in case you haven’t noticed. Most people seemed to like it. I liked it. But anything this big will get plenty of inspection, and the movie has gotten plenty of criticism in several areas. “It’s way too similar to A New Hope.” “The plot relies on too many coincidences.” “Rey learned to use the force way too easily.” “Several characters didn’t get the chance to develop.” “It relied too much on cameos.” And all of these can be seen as legitimate issues, although for the most part, they didn’t bother me too much.

What does bother me, though, is a criticism that I haven’t seen as much. It’s something I’ve seen with other movies in series lately, with one of the most prominent examples being Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Now, I want you to think back. Which was more memorable, Avengers 1 or Avengers 2? Even though Age of Ultron arguably had a more sophisticated plot, for me at least, it wasn’t very memorable.

Now think back to the first time you saw Star Wars A New Hope. Which explosion was more satisfying? The Death Star, or the even bigger Star Killer Base? What destruction was more heart wrenching, Alderaan or the three or however many planets destroyed by Star Killer Base?

The Force Awakens had a lot of pressure on it to perform, especially after the critical reception of the prequels. J. J. Abrams went to a lot of effort to bring back the feel of the original trilogy, with worn down ships and sets, as well as the spirit, and he was successful with that. But this is part of the problem of Episode 7.

Star Wars The Force Awakens isn’t a movie.

In one sense, it is an homage to A New Hope. The plot is basically the same, with a youth taken from a poor desert home because of a droid with a secret and thrust into a battle between an evil galactic force and the underdog good rebels. The youth, with guidance from an old man and help from some friends, including a cocky pilot, learns about the force and awakens to their destiny. Along the way planets are destroyed because of a large battle station, they have to infiltrate said battle station, the helpful old man allows himself to die to a dark Sith with a lightsaber, and the rebels have to blow up the battle station before their base is destroyed.

J. J. took so much pain to wrest Star Wars away from the prequels that he basically copied the original, with updated graphics, language, and diversity roles. But like Han Solo said about Star Killer base, unfazed by its size, “How do we blow it up? There’s always a way to do that.”

In another sense, highlighting the problem of Age of Ultron, it is just a long trailer for Episodes 8 and 9. There’s a story and it comes to a close, but it seems like a half-hearted attempt, just copying Episode 4. It’s main purpose seems to be raising questions and hype for the next movies. One of Age of Ultron’s biggest failures was that it was just trying to set the scene for Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and who knows what other movies.

Other movies in these giant sequences are doing the same thing. I didn’t see the movie, but heard that Fantastic 4 was just to set up the story for the sequel. Batman V Superman seems to set the stage for the DC cinematic universe. So while in Star Wars Episode 7 they blow up Star Killer Base, it didn’t feel quite as satisfying as when Luke blew up the Death Star, nor did the movie feel as self contained.

It is good to think about the overall story, but each movie should be able to be its own movie, nor be forced to work just as a bridge between the old and the new, without getting to be new itself. Which is why it already seems to be fading from memory. Even though Empire Strikes Back was basically a bridge as well, it expanded the universe in so many ways that it is now many people’s favorite. Hopefully Disney and other studios can resolve this issue as they go forward.

As a side note, I don’t know what the title of the film refers to. The force didn’t seem to wake up. Maybe the force within Rey, but that didn’t seem to merit a title treatment. I kind of hope for something more mysterious. Oh well.