Tag Archives: Ecology

Capital Oppresses Labor


Tolstoy was exactly right.

It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. Welfare Capitalism, as practiced in most of the developed world, allows the creative destruction of capitalism to proceed while shielding individuals from its excesses.

Supporting capitalism does not require that we support a free for all in which the capitalists use people and natural resources as they will. Capitalism left to run its natural course results in the destruction of individual life, liberty, and ultimately the environment we need to survive. A serious capitalist will acknowledge the need for strong government regulation of capitalist practices, even as he fights against those regulations that limit his own profits.

The hard truth about getting old


This Salon article is a good read and could be starting material for a much deeper discussion, one we should be having among ourselves and also publicly. I’m sharing it because I had a short but rewarding conversation with a friend on Google Plus around this article.

It’s usually a surprise to me when I realize people are treating me differently because of my age. It just feels strange to be seen differently because I’m 20 or more years older or younger than someone else. I try to avoid seeing others this way, but it’s a natural tendency.

As humans, we love to label things, people included, and that includes labeling others according to age. This is particularly problematic because physical age captures so little of a person’s essence.

Becoming ageless by living for timeless goals is a worthy goal for life. For most of us, that means playing a small part in making the world better, dedicating ourselves to improving the lives of at least a few people.

One thing I love about the internet is that people, for the most part, perceive you according to the traits you express, rather than as an age, a race, a citizen of some place. The technology allows us to abstract away (to some extent) the innate aspects of those we meet, letting us focus on their character, intelligence, and general persona. I see this as a wonderful advance.

Turkish Citizens Brighten Istanbul with Rainbow of Colors


A summary from the Good News Network details this wonderful action as well as I could.

“A 64 year-old man in Istanbul decided to brighten people’s days by painting rainbow colors on the old, gray, crumbling stairs near his house.

When municipal officials sent workers after nightfall to hurriedly repaint the stairs gray, a quiet revolution started on Twitter.

Not only did volunteers come out to repaint those stairs that Huseyin Cetinel had spent hundreds of dollars on, they started painting other stairs and walkways in other cities around Turkey posting photos on social media.

A very colorful Pandora’s Box had unwittingly been opened.”

This New York Times article has the full story.

I would wholly support such a movement here. My personal tastes run to “plain” colors, but I love to see people express themselves in vibrant colors and shapes, in their appearance, possessions, and (as here) on their surroundings. It’s a quintessential part of being human. 

Dementia Care – A Better Way

The Hogewey Dementia Village is a wonderful example of putting humanity first, before profit, before petty differences. I would love to replicate this here in the United States. Greed and tribalism is all that’s holding us back from bringing this care to the US.


I earn a good salary as an engineer and we (family of five) live comfortably on my income. We sacrifice some to live on my income, but I would gladly pay more taxes if it means:

1. Everyone can have good health care, feed their families healthy food, and live in an adequate home in an area with low crime. 
2. We fix and maintain our infrastructure and invest in a future with renewable energy and modern transit.

My wife disagrees and thinks we sacrifice enough, and the wealthy almost never pay their fair share, but I think anyone living well (not necessarily wealthy) has a responsibility to support the nation that provides so much for them. 

People are morally bound to contribute to their society according to their benefit from it. The poor benefit very little and so owe very little in return. Ideally we would create a society in which everyone benefits and is invested in maintaining and improving it. 

As it stands now, those who benefit the most generally contribute the least in return, making them parasites. The right wing loves to call people parasites, but this is largely a measure to put their opponents on the defensive and minimize the number of people who realize the right and their patrons are the real parasites. 

There’s a great quote by Jason Read floating around that describes the situation in terms of biology, in which successful parasites are not recognized as such by their host, which is exactly the case with the very wealthy in this nation. They thrive by preventing the majority from recognizing their true enemies. 


Life In Balance

This graphic shows clearly the way most modern humans see themselves in relation to other life, as well as the way we should see ourselves if we are to survive and mature into a new form.


We are not separate from or above all other life, unless you base your opinion on the ability to dominate and destroy, which is a grossly immature way to view our place in the world.

Flea Control Without Poison

We’ve been fighting fleas for awhile this summer and tried the top rated flea killing sprays as well as the shoulder-blade-applied solutions such as Frontline that we get from our veterinarian.

We’ve never had this much trouble getting rid of fleas before. I think my daughter might have brought these fleas back from Florida where she stayed with my parents this summer, since she came back with lots of bites on her lower extremities. Maybe these are military-grade super-fleas. The Frontline type products we get from the vet always did the job, and it seems to be working well for our outdoor cats but is ineffective on our indoor only cats. I actually sprayed a flea with the flea control spray designed for carpet and it seemed to have no effect. I sprayed a flea with the version designed for application directly to cats and it worked, just not very quickly.

I grew tired of putting toxins in our home and on our cats (even if they’re primarily toxic to fleas and similar pests) and I finally tried the widely heralded diatomaceous earth (DE) solution to fleas. This is actually working well for us and since it works mechanically, with the tiny grains killing fleas and similar insects by damaging their external waxy coating, insects can not develop resistance to its action, and since it’s not actually poisonous, it won’t harm your pets. We started using some “Safer” brand DE we bought at Home Depot and that’s been working well. There’s also a form of DE called food grade (supposedly ground up extra fine) that some people feed dogs and other medium and large animals to clean out parasites, and I got some from Amazon and am going to put in our cats’ fur going forward (just in case) until we’re sure there are no more fleas. With DE, you just need to be careful not to get it in your pet’s eyes or your own and try not to breathe in the dust.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share my experience with a natural remedy that works well. Here are some links to good info on DE.