Education Reform is Imperative

The American education system was designed in the early 20th century around a pragmatic philosophy. It teaches practical knowledge. This is very important but is short of what is needed to prosper in the 21st century and beyond.

We need to spend more time on fostering thinking skills and critical reasoning. Problems that we have previously been unable to conceive of will confront us at an accelerating rate. If we don’t want this Tsunami to wash over us, we must be prepared to deal with it.

Somehow, we need to reduce the inequality of opportunities among various schools and districts. I know it’s hard to get a good educator to move to a school district 100 miles from the nearest Costco, but we must deal with this. It’s not just a matter of money, but that is a huge factor. Maybe visiting lecturers or rotating duty assignments, or anything else you can come up with. Maybe more remote learning or better education software. It seems a travesty to waste a good genetic foundation with inadequate nurturing.

Balancing state and federal budgets by reducing funding for secondary and post-secondary education is so short sighted. It reduces future economic expansion and saddles those who do get a college education with student debt, while the education is a benefit to society.

Too Much Anger

One need not go far to run cross a comment or article by an observer of the world situation or the political climate in the United States, that doesn’t speak to the polarization, anger and venomous rhetoric of the vocal minority. This is a situation that has been growing over the last few years and is best exemplified by the current pollical climate in the United States or other world events such as Brexit. This is an unsustainable course of human thought. We are becoming increasingly isolated and angry and intolerant of those who don’t agree absolutely with us. To intimate there might even be one mitigating factor is considered blasphemy. I admit I have at times felt this. It is just part of the mental plague that is sweeping the earth. I am doing what I can to flush it out of my life.

It is not necessary to modify your beliefs or goals, just tone down the rhetoric. Be willing to at least listen to the other side. They wouldn’t have a position if there wasn’t at least some truth or logic to it. Be willing to compromise. Break problems into parts small enough to find something to agree on, even if it seems almost insignificant. We need to get back to the state where actual dialogue can happen and allow progress towards a better world. The alternative is eventual world anarchy. Help keep us on course to real civilization.

Ulysses Contract update

On about November 14, 2018, I put a post stating I would refrain from diet soda for 60 days. In reading the post today, I noticed an error stating I was going to start on October 16, 2018. I actually started on November 16, 2018. Except for Thanksgiving Day, I have stayed with the plan. A little background: In the past, when I have tried recommended dietary changes, I have felt no difference. That is the case this time. I have replaced the diet soda with unsweetened iced tea which I brew in quantity and store in the refrigerator. For the first week, I missed the diet soda, but now I am fine without it.

On about November 26, 2018, I started on the Carbohydrate-Insulin Model diet. The information stated there would be an adaption period of weeks. The adaption period would be weakness and lower energy. I am going through that right now and my endurance in cardio activities has been significantly reduced. I am going to hang in there at least until the 60 days of the diet soda fast is up. I will give you an update then.

A Genetically Altered Future for the Human Race

This little blog is not a prediction of the future, just a comment on what could happen. Please think about it.

Current ethics precludes many of the capabilities we have in genetics from being implemented. I believe this is just a smoke screen to what is really going to happen. Rules aren’t going to stop the rich and powerful or people in parts of the world who have a different ethic than the United States of America.

If you haven’t seen the movie “Lucy” starring Scarlet Johansson, I would recommend it. Not for the greatness of the movie, but for the story it tells, which is clearly science fiction, a single example of what can happen if the power of the human mind was to be genetically enhanced to the ultimate conclusion. Be sure to watch the bonus material. It is informative. There are a multitude of different ways genetics can go. We will compress the next 100,000 years of evolution into the next 100 years, and there is nothing to be done to stop it.

Ethics and morals evolve. Not that long ago, abortion was totally illegal and stigmatized. Now it is common. Genetic manipulation will go the same way.

The first step, and one we clearly have the technology for now is a genetic data base of traits to either be sought after or avoided. These would include, but not limited to: height, weight, BMI, athletic ability, eye color, hair color, intelligence, genetic vulnerability to disease, personality type, artistic talent, and anything else you can think of. A little of this is already done at sperm banks but could be easily expanded and include egg donors. Of course, poor college students would be a prime source of genetic materials. All of this would be without any genetic manipulation.

The next step would be genetic engineering to eliminate inherited diseases or conditions. This could first be done by taking samples from prospective parents and gene spicing to eliminate or alter bad genes. Then using invitro fertilization, create an enhanced life and replace the egg in the mother’s womb. Of course, the next step for the active and well-off mother would be to use a surrogate to skip over the inconvenience of childbirth. Then the next step would be designer adoptions whereby sperm and egg are selected from an inventory and genetically altered to eliminate bad traits and enhance good traits and placed in a surrogate.

As our knowledge of genetics progresses and some of the new, super children come of age and can provide genetic material, this process will accelerate. I believe a 200 IQ in a Michael Phelps body is just around the corner. The poor of the world are not likely to be included in this, at least at first, and will increase the formation of two classes of humans.

I don’t think we can stop this. It may not proceed just as I have outlined, but it will proceed. We should be looking for some way, on a global basis, to deal with this. To borrow from science fiction, one outcome, if population continues to grow and consume resources, is for the superior humans to oppress or eliminate the unnecessary. I’m not saying this will be the outcome, but we need to figure how to manage this in a realistic manner.   Time is of the essence.

 

Abortion Rights

Values, structures and morals are arbitrary, and are situationally dependent.

It is a little difficult for me to write about abortion rights because, being male, I have never been in the position of being pregnant with a child that I didn’t particularly want. And yet most of the people making the misogynistic laws pertaining to this are the same. In addition, most of the moral arguments are religious based. Only 38% of the population is religious and yet they have an undo influence on the legislative process. There is no moral, ethical or any other justification for regulating abortions. Whether a woman has or doesn’t have an abortion is a decision that has no impact on anyone else, save some selfish motivations. Women have the right not to be interfered with because of gender. All known, medically sound abortion procedures should be freely available, without undo complications. Several of the Midwest “red” states have recently increased the difficulty of getting a legal abortion through various administrative procedures.

Why should anyone other than the woman who is pregnant be a party to any decision regarding the future course of her life? She is the one who will have to bear the pregnancy. She will be primarily responsible for the care of the new life for the next 18-20 years. It will be her life that is most impacted. In this matter, I don’t believe age is a factor, and most state’s laws are sympathetic to this. Why should a young woman be subjected to motherhood before she is ready based on the desires of her parents to have grandchildren?

Personal Opinion:  The sperm donor should only be involved to the extent as mutually agreed to by both parties. Accept when a contract was entered (for example: marriage) prior to conception, the donor should have no obligation to support the child. I know this is contrary to current legal theory and ethics. Why should his future be decided by whether the woman decides to have an abortion? I do think the male should contribute to the cost of the abortion. We are all free to make choices, but with freedom comes responsibility. A person should think a little before acting. Set personal limits before a situation arises. Urges are only uncontrollable because we don’t want to control them.

Collecting Experiences

Experiences are the soul of Life.

“Life is about collecting experiences”, Carson the butler on “Downton Abby”

To increase your overall happiness and satisfaction with life, one must manage these experiences to the extent possible. Cognitive Behavior Therapy suggests substituting positive behavior for dysfunctional behavior. That is what I am proposing, but without the therapy or identifying the dysfunctional. I believe if enough positive experiences are introduced into your life, some of the dysfunctional will be pushed out by default. Research has shown new, unique experiences have a greater and more lasting effect than life on auto pilot. Your life can improve without the cost and bother of clinical therapy.

I’m proposing the age-old tool of lists. I’ve tried putting my “stamp” on the system.

  1. Bucket list: This should be about 10 items you would like to complete in your lifetime. They should challenge you but be doable. Examples might be: climb the Eifel Tower, take a week cruise on the Mississippi, buy a motor home and put 25,000 miles on it while living in it, etc. Once you have the list, you should start laying out a plan on how to finish the list. Planning the campaign can be almost as much fun as living it.
  2. Rotating list of 50: Make a list of 50 things you would like to do. These should be doable on at most 2-3 days’ notice. Examples would be: going to that restaurant just outside your comfort zone, going to a movie, hiking to Xxxx Lake, etc. If you are in a relationship, these should be couples’ activities, like a date. A method of picking these at random should be set up. Paper slips in a fish bowl or a spread sheet set to random sort. The surprise is half the fun. When one is picked, it must be replaced, either with a new activity or putting the existing one back to be chosen again. The list should always be 50. If you can’t think of 50, you need to put a little more thought in this. Coming up with the list is part of the experience.

Studies have shown new positive experiences increase your overall happiness. Put the plan in motion. Commit to keeping it going. In a relatively short time, you will have done more interesting things than most people you know and be much happier for having done it. If you are having a hard time filing the list, try Googling bucket list. There are many lists. I saw one with 1000 ideas. You should be able to fill in any list from here. Try some new things. Have fun!