Sunday, August 31, 2008

BYBS: Algae Farms

An algae farm near Rio Hondo, Texas

The picture is an aerial photo (from Google Maps for the curious) of an algae farm near the border with Mexico. The farm is operated by a company called PetroSun to produce biodeisel, a product that can be used in place of regular diesel fuel.

I like things like algae farms this because they show that humanity is clever. It shows that our collective ingenuity can be put to uses other than blowing each other to bits. It gives me hope when I hear news stories about how we squander what we have and then fight over what's left.

While such approaches are theoretically feasible, it still remains to be proven whether or not something like a algae far will actually work in a commercial endeavor. If it works out, it could show another step towards a better future.

Such endeavors are not free of problems, however. Such a farm displaces natural eco-systems. In order to produce enough fuel to satisfy America's hunger for energy, somewhere between 10,000 to 1,000,000 square kilometers would be required. The farm pictured here is around 10 square km --- between 1,000 to 100,000 more of them would be needed.

On the other hand, maybe we'll reduce the amount of energy we use, thus reducing the amount of land needed. Maybe several sources will be used instead of just algae. Maybe none of this will happen.

In the mean time, I'm content to see this as a sign of hope.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

BYBS: is a site that talks about sexuality from a woman's perspective.  Most of their content takes the form of videos from round-table style discussions of topics like:

  • Achieving an orgasm during penetrative sex.
  • Communicating with your partner
  • Benefits of masturbation

Now all this might sound like ye basic porn site, especially when I mention the word "video," but this is not the case.  

The clips take the form of a bunch of women sitting around a table and talking.  What's more, some of the women might not be considered "attractive" in popular culture.  OMG, one of them is FAT!  A couple of them are older!  What's going on here?!

This highlights one of the things I love about this site: the indivuduals in their round tables look like regular people.  When I stagger around the supermarket I don't see a bunch of super-models.  I see old women, young women, fat women, slim women, etc.  When I see a bunch of these people talking about sex the message I come away with is that sex is normal.  All kinds of people experience it.  With "normal" media I come away with the impression that the only people who have sex are incredibly attractive 20-somethings.

The topics being discussed are in the same "it's not that remarkable" style.  This can lead to weird juxtapositions, like seeing a rather older woman talk about her favorite position, but it also leads to the belief that sex is something normal.

The assumption that sex is normal is another feeling that permeates the site.  Seeing women of different ages and "attractiveness" talk about sex - their worries, the things they like, etc. - makes them seem more, well, human.  A typical porn site, by contrast, objectifies all the actors - male and female - to the point that they may as well be Martians.

The site is billed as being from and for the feminine perspective.  I mean the tag line of "Juicy Talk for Women" kinda spells it out.  I guess if CTV becomes popular they can create another site for men.  Till then, the site will have to be satisfied with the huge topic of women's sexuality.

I consider this a blessing because I like the message that comes through every article or clip: sex is normal.  Don't be ashamed of your sexuality.  This is a human experience - it's not limited to the super-perfect (for people who are "normal") or perverts (for those who aren't "normal").  The net has so much of the other kind of message that CherryTV is a nice change of pace.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

BYBS: A Moderately Sane Country

I'm glad I live in a country that is basically sane. This is not to say that the USA does not have its share of nut cases and wackos. Or that said crazies are even kept from holding public office or from, say, running a major company. I'm just glad that that they don't run things all the time.

For an example of garden variety insanity, take a look at our healthcare system. I think the idea of people taking care of each other is a good thing. The way that we spend effort and resources, usually during the last 5 years of a person's life, is pretty crazy.  But let's not forget that 30 to 50% of those resources are wasted on health insurance companies. 

For those of you who don't believe that last bit check this out: Here are examples of 4 countries that have better health care for all their citizens at equal to or less cost than what the USA pays.

But these are examples of relatively mild insanity.  A country-wide equivalent to a twitch or a phobia.  For full-bore psychosis, you need to look elsewhere.  Afghanistan under the Taliban or North Korea under Kim Jung Il.  The countries show that, yes, there are places out there that are even worse than us.

At one point a friend of mine who comes from another country proudly showed me a copy of some magazine whose cover showed Ken Lay, the infamous leader of Enron. He beamed at me and said something along the lines of "Your country is run by crooks!" I pointed out that sometimes, the crooks in my country are caught.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Nothing. Everything.

A long while back, I heard one of those zen-ish sorts of statements that stuck with me. It ran something like this:

Want everything, have nothing. Want nothing, have everything.

This cryptic statement came with an explanation. The idea is that you never have everything that you want. If you keep wanting, then eventually what you have seems like nothing.

Therefore, if you want nothing, you have the same thing you would get if you wanted everything.

Personally, I think that is not really true. For a while I basically had what I wanted, and things were more or less fine. Then it went away and things sucked. I could very easily go back to having what I wanted and be more or less content.

This all sounds confusing and disorganized because it is confusing and disorganized. I apologize for that, but I really wanted to create another blog entry. I haven't posted one in two weeks and I have grown rather fond of my little corner of the web.

Ah well.