News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Random thoughts:

Contrary to popular belief, hydroelectric power can seriously damage the climate. Proposed changes to the way countries' climate budgets are calculated aim to take greenhouse gas emissions from hydropower reservoirs into account, but some experts worry that they will not go far enough.

So it turns out that there is yet another argument for hydropower adversely affecting environments. No doubt this particular claim will also become bogged down in adversarial claims and clashing punditry and the emerging urban legend that prevails and becomes fossilized in the history books will be that scenario which combines the greatest horror with mega-statistics magnified out to the max.

The reason the citizenry of the Northwest US are such fans of clean energy, so-called, is because there is such a great abundance of it on the windward side of the Rocky Mountains. In other words, it has less to do with flower power, energy-channeling crystals, yoga, vegans, good living, clean thinking, or moral superiority and much more to do with the dismal science, economics. The Northwest only became modernized in terms of paved roads connecting the Northwest to the rest of the country after the Second World War. Because of this late development, there is a great abundance of forest and timber, wildlife, hydropower and thermal power sources. Similarly, population growth there began at a later point thereby delaying population density reaching the point whereby external energy sources had to be drawn upon such as oil and nuclear power.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that a much easier argument against hydropower can be made: the adverse effect on ecology. Freshwater streams and rivers were formally populated heavily during the fall season by salmon and seagoing trout (steelhead trout) returning to spawn. This produced a seasonal avalanche of protein right before winter, when fauna most require it to get over the long-haul period of starvation in the natural world that we call winter. As a result of this biological delivery system, everything from hawks, vultures, Eagles, kingfishers, sparrows, finches, doves, bears, wolves, foxes, Wolverines, to people feasted on this huge protein injection thus greatly facilitating hibernation and seasonal migrations. Decaying fish also feed insects which in turn underpin a heavy food chain of birds, bats, and other bugs and so forth which eat these insects, not to mention ducks, mallards, and geese and so forth as well. The shock of protein also fertilized riverbeds and encouraged plant life which in turn fed moose and other grazers as well. Many herbivores actually eat meat when available and so rabbits, cattle, and deer will have fed on this as well.

In other words, with the damming of rivers all of this protein is shut out of the system with the result that the quantity and diversity of upper stream wildlife is heavily affected in those regions which have frost and snow: i.e. sub-zero cold winters. And that's, for the continental United States and Canada, almost every region.

Nuclear power is the way to go if you discard the hype, the horror stories about radiation polluting environments for gazillions of years. Nukes are the least environmentally harmful form of power generation. Neither Nagasaki nor Hiroshima are producing twin-headed glowing fish nor radioactive babies and yet they were ground-zero for the bomb. Like SARS, AIDS, Global Warming, the Nanjing Massacre, the Australian Aboriginal massacres, Vietnam, the formerly impeccably credential backed and proven impending demise of the US in Afghanistan (and then Iraq and god knows where in future), nuclear energy has proven more useful as a subject to be squired into doing double-duty for newspaper headlines and upping advertising revenue than as a subject of serious discussion (which subscribers are rarely interested in anyway, god bless 'em). As a result, not of sinister conspiracies of media elites, but of informal everyday conspiracies of the great unwashed, poll-watching politicians (democracy, fortunately, seldom produces any other kind) turn to less newsworthy but far more harmful methods of generating energy such as hydropower or oil-based power.


With regard to Japan, it seems to me that the appeal of naughty cartoon pets (dogs particularly) amongst Japanese girls is probably explicable if the dog is seen as an analogue for boys. The dog is clumsy, messy, and naughty. He’s potentially dangerous but, no matter what happens, it always has to heel to master. Just like most men slavishly heel to ‘their’ women. Most of the time anyway.

Dog heels to master because master provides food. Men heel to women because women provide sex. In other words, as always, the monopolist can demand inordinately of his, or in this case her, buyer.I would be all for women's rights, if only sexually active women wanted any more rights, which they clearly don't. Why go for rights when the easiest game in town is seducing a naïve guy and mooching off him for time memorial. There’s an endless supply of these suckers, care of naïve fathers: mothers on the other hand, of course, train daughters in the basics of seduction (it’s not daddy who puts daughter in heels thus aiming her booty at the moon and putting her pudenda in receptive position).

I spend most of my time with women, not men. Many of my long-term pre-PC generation friends in Taiwan do likewise. And thus I/we find it tragicomic when prey (men) bleat for predators rights (i.e. attractive women's rights). Such poor sods spend a lifetime never figuring out the score. And, thus, seldom scoring.

Such folks naturally find mystifying Mencken’s definition of a misogynist: a man who hates women as much as women hate each other. Needless to say Mencken banged a lot of chicks. The well-known movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” was based on a play written by a femme whom he turned down in favor of pumping a ditzy blond starlet while on a train to LA in the 1920’s. Dumb can be an appealing trait in certain people. Especially the beautiful kind, who seem naturally endowed, or intelligently-designed as the Creation Science crew would have us believe, with dumb in spades.

Etc. etc…


With regard to Ward Churchill, the ethnic impersonator teaching at the University of Colorado and who claims to be 1/16 Indian: surely a quick look at the man leads one to imagine he's 15/16 Irish or Scottish, i.e. Celtic. He's got a chin like Robin Williams, the gift of the gab, and the personality of a dour Scotsman, always promising eternal doom and preaching that things are never as bad as they're going to be very soon. Repent. And place him in charge.

He sounds like Bill O'Reilly or the late departed Dr. Eugene Scott, the trumpet playing, equestrian, cigar-chomping, blackboard lecturing, hectoring, and eternally audience-threatening and damning satellite TV preacher out of LA. The Scots version of a Celt as I understand it is typified by a manly chauvinism and a perverse pleasure in dustups, an indifference or distaste for humor, extreme parsimoney and LOVE of money, a marked preference for facts and figures and logical over emotional explanations, a striking indifference to the feelings of others because spreading the truth of the Good Word supercedes all else and nothing is more self-actuating and empowering than infection with that affliction known as the Messiah complex. Scotland produced one of the most unfunny Christian sects: the Presbyterians.

When I think of Blarney Stone smoochers, I come up with such Irishmen as Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, clever vendors of the theatrical hee-haw and ranking among the very few playrights of any species to survive from the 19th century; another being Gilbert and Sullivan who were apparently Anglo-Saxon (I know next to nothing about the ethnology of surnames and though Sullivan sounds Irish to me, he was the musician and a quick glance at their geneologies turned up nothing to suggest Gilbert, the writer, was anything but English). And when you think of a Scotsman without a sense of humor think of George Orwell, nee Eric Blair. Blair was third-generation Scottish and hated Scotsmen though he seems to have had much in common with them. The Blair who heads the UK is also of Scottish descent apparently and completed much of his schooling in Scotland.

I wonder what Ward would say about reparations for harm done to Native Indians historically. Presumably, given the Bureau of Indian Affairs recalcitrance, he's been doing reparations DIY and decided that the 1/16 part of him which is an Indian is his mouth. The rest of his corpus, the other 15/16, supports his mouth. Well that sounds much like the rest of us.But when it comes to the issue of genuine government reparations, then what? 1/16 of him is owed money. The other 15/16 of him owes money. How does that work? If 15/16 of him is evil white oppressor, then he's going to be forking more money over than he receives. Doesn't seem to bode well for the Ward Churchill financial portfolio. He's probably like many another cynical professional tear-jerker: his worst nightmare is that the problem is solved for then he'll have to start all over again from scratch, trying to horn into another bogus issue but locking up horns with younger, juicier bucks who are sure to butt him out of the action.


Intelligent design is back in the news. Of course, the problem with intelligent design has always been that, on close examination, it proves not very intelligent at all. Evolution wastes vast numbers of bodies on the way to producing we humans, the so-called acme and climax of the food chain. 500 million years of nature red in tooth and claw, mass extinctions, and the like, doesn't seem too efficient. Not too intelligent any way you slice it.And what about that less than immaculate final product, the facsimile of his Maker? Does the Great Entrepreneur have weak kidneys? Appendicitis? Nearsightedness? Bad knees and bad backs? Hard livers and feeble brains? And even if he does, did he have to design them into us?

Of the primates, we're the only species intelligently-designed to choke on its food, when the vittles go down the windpipe by accident. We're one of the few species of large mammal intelligently-designed without natural night vision. Our eyes seemed to have been designed on a Monday or a Friday, because what other than the TGIF rush or Monday morning blues would lead to the oversight producing, for example, our visual blind spot where the nerves and arteries feed into the back of the human eye. Squid, on the other hand, have a more sensible design and have no blind spot. Perhaps there's a divinely divinable difference between sensible and intelligent?

On the other hand, it's often said that God works in mysterious ways. I'll risk a step further into heresy to suggest that it wasn't the Supreme Zombie who was behind the alleged intelligent design. For, after all, Supreme Mojo is omniscient and omnipotent. Perhaps a new set of intelligent or at least sensible candidates should be proposed: Green men living on the dark side of the moon; Martians; Klingons; ET; the Force; Predator. The last one seems most likely to me, given the intelligently designed obsolescence and flak pattern of defects that we've all been graced with. Makes for happier hunting. And that's both sensible and intelligent. Maybe them Creation Science boys is on to something after all...

Live long and prosper...

Biff Cappuccino


  1. I’m glad I came across this great blog. I really enjoyed the topic you chose to write about. I'm definitely going to bookmark you! I have a free ways to make money fast site. It pretty much covers free ways to make money fast related stuff. Come and check it out if you get time :-)

  2. I have an E-Cash Machine site/blog. It pretty much covers Making money on the web.

    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

  3. Cute blog! Please visit my snoop dog blog.

  4. Nice blog! I have a lead free ammunition site I thought you and your visitors might like.

    Click on lead free ammunition to check it out. lead free ammunition