Tuesday Newsday, September 25, 2012

Wow, Tuesday again already. Feels like it should still be Sunday. Well, that is what happens when my bizarre sleep cycle dictates that I sleep all day. I end up missing a lot of time.

Oh well, at least I am well rested now. I think. I hope. Sleeping all the damn time gets old fast.

Anyhow, on the the news.

A Little Place Of Your Own

Over at CNN.com, they have an interesting story about the trend towards smaller homes.

Now I am interesting in all experiments in lifestyle. We are all more or less living the same way that people have been living since the end of World War II, and it is not quite cutting it any more. Too many other things have changes, both socially and economically. I am sure we can do better.

And so what particularly intrigued me about the article was the idea that by choosing a hyper efficient small space, a family might live without the enormous burden of a mortgage. That has not occurred to me before, because all the “small living” items I had seen beforehand were about apartment living and how to get the most out of your tiny downtown apartment.

But the family profiled, the Bezins, is a family of four (plus a dog and a cat) living in 168 square feet, on land they own, and they have no mortgage to pay and extremely low utility bills.

Cohabitation issues aside (and my own claustrophobia, eep), the economic efficiency created is astounding. Such a radical increase in disposable income has to be downright transformative. The article says it allowed the husband of the family to take a lower paying but more fulfilling job. That right there is exactly the sort of change I want to see people empowered to make. It flies in the face of the middle class dread of “settling for less” in a very positive way.

I hope this sort of thing spreads and becomes a real economic force in the marketplace.

And speaking of positive reform…

Rethinking High School

Over at cnbc.com, they have this article about one rural Arkansas town and their radical reform of their high school education system.

They took their high school and reorganized it into three streams, or as they call them, “academies” : engineering, communications, and health care. Students are given extensive testing when they enter the high school in order to help them pick an academy, and from that point on, it is an intensive hands-on career oriented training program.

Now as a liberal intellectual, I am supposed to be against this sort of utilitarian career oriented reform of education. What of the liberal arts? What of literature and poetry and higher maths?

But honestly, I am just not feeling it. Sitting here with being 40 coming at me at top speed, I find myself filled with the desire to go to colleges and tell kids “Screw that stupid arts degree, you are never going to be a professor, take something that leads to a real career.”

Basically, if it’s something that can only lead to a career teaching it, forget it. There is far too much competition and you will have to be willing to get a doctorate to even stand a chance.

So I am all for this career streaming. I imagine I would have ended up in communications in that sort of environment, with a focus on writing for broadcasting if that was an option, and hey guess what?

I might even have gotten employed in a chosen field that way, instead of falling through the cracks, ending up depressed, and losing my adult life to the disease.

I swear, I want to go back in time and tell my 18 year old stuff “stick with business and study literature and philosophy in your spare time!”. Beats the hell out of doing fuck all with your life.

I would have made a hell of an entrepreneur. I have the right combination of vision and business acumen. But no, that was too “boring”. Dammit.

The Latest From Mittens

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not share the latest in surreal, hilarious failure from the camp of Mitt “Mittens” Romney.

I can’t possibly do it justice in summary, so here it is, in Mitty’s own words :

“When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”

He is talking about minor engine problems in an airplane that had his wife Anne in it at the time. But the really interesting thing is that apparently, he has no idea why you can’t open the windows on an airplane flying hundreds of miles an hour tens of thousands of feet in the air.

Now granted, a lot of people would not know exactly why you can’t, but they would know that you can’t and they would assume it had something to do with air pressure or lack of oxygen or whatever.

But not clueless loser Mitt. He has no idea why his wife could not just open the window to get more oxygen. Instead of assuming that the people who make airplanes know what they are doing, he assumes that poor people are just too stupid to think of that.

Otherwise, his wife would be stupid for even asking the question, and that is clearly impossible. And I mean really, what is more important? The laws of physics, or the temporary comfort of a rich person?

I imagine that to Mitt’s friends in the private jet set, the fact that we have to even ask that question shows all that is wrong with the world today.

And you know what? I agree.

Seeya next week, folks!

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