Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's the Balance duh

When raising children, there is so many competing obsessions related to the child's well being that it really is a minefield. eg:

Food health - obsess that foods they eat are the healthiest possible.
Fitness health - make sure these kids get enough excercise.
Dental health - make sure that teeth are brushed, water is fluoridated etc.
Sun safety - sun exposure between birth and 20 yo means high risk for melanoma.
Money management - kids must learn to manage money early so they don't risk debt traps etc.
Social learning - obsess with kids able to interact one on one and in group situations.
Stranger danger - recognise dangers with strangers.
Abusive relationships - recognise dangers with non-strangers.
Academic learning - achieve as well as possible academically.
Clean room - learn how to manage one's own space tidily and usefully.
Smoking/drugs - Avoid the trap of getting hooked and counter peer pressure with solid knowledge.
Alcohol - moderation.
Disease - Up to date immunizations and good hygene.
Road safety - Bike helmets, seat belts, alertness.
Swimming safety - avoid the toddler killer of drownings.

So often one sees children of parents obsessing in one (say academia) and so obviously has ignored another (say, weight gain). The examples I have seen are endless, and some such as fitness are notoriously hard to balance with others such as sun safety for instance. It is quite easy to see as an outsider of the failures of these obsessions, often with some being overdone and others seemingly completely ignored. I urge everyone to aim for the balance - see which ones your children are weak in and concentrate on those for a while. Are we spending too much effort on diminishing returns? Walk the fine line, dear friends.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Peak oil = peak food?

(lame peak oil satire)Peak Food is the point in time when the maximum rate of global food production is reached, after which the rate of production enters its terminal decline. If global consumption is not mitigated before the peak, a food crisis may develop because the availability of conventional food will drop and prices will rise, perhaps dramatically. M. King Hubbert first used the theory in 1956 to accurately predict that United States oil production would peak between 1965 and 1970. His model, now called Hubbert peak theory, has since been used to predict the peak food production of many other countries, and has also proved useful in other limited-resource production-domains. According to the Hubbert model, the production rate of a limited resource will follow a roughly symmetrical bell-shaped curve based on the limits of exploitability and market pressures.

Some observers, such as food industry experts Kenneth S. Deffeyes and Matthew Simmons, believe the high dependence of most modern humans, agricultural and industrial systems on the relative low cost and high availability of food will cause the post-peak production decline and possible severe increases in the price of food to have negative implications for the global economy. Although predictions as to what exactly these negative effects will vary greatly, "a growing number of food industry chieftains are endorsing an idea long deemed fringe: The world is approaching a practical limit to the number of tonnes of food that can be supplied every day."[1]

If political and economic change only occur in reaction to high prices and shortages rather than in reaction to the threat of a peak, then the degree of economic damage to importing countries will largely depend on how rapidly food imports decline post-peak. The Export Land Model shows that the amount of food available internationally drops much more quickly than production in exporting countries because the exporting countries maintain an internal growth in demand. Shortfalls in production (and therefore supply) would cause extreme price inflation, unless demand is mitigated with planned conservation measures and use of alternatives, which would need to be implemented 20 years before the peak. (/lame peak oil satire)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What to Blog... What to blog

The US election stuff bores me to tears, and I have no interesting opinion about the candidates.

I was going to talk about the local council elections, because I feel violated in that preferential voting was thrown out the door, and no explanation nor correspondence was entered into. First past the post significantly devalues votes for anybody other than the front contenders. I would reccommend throwing out the state Labor government but it appears a near certainty anyway.

Kevin Rudd appears to be in his element on a diplomatic world tour. He is uniquely placed to bring up the issue of Tibet appropriately. Meanwhile Julia Gillard can knuckle down getting that unemployment rate back up from its continuing record lows.

I was going to say more about brass banding, but all I've got is that I was offered a trumpet part in "Thouroughly Modern Milly", a local theatre production, and I turned it down.