Friday, 17 June 2011

Death, Not Yet

Death is often a subject I find myself wander to.  What do I want to leave behind?  Who do I want to be when I die?  How do I want to be remembered?  All valid questions, yet there is one question that will tell you all you need to know about a person:  What do you want done with your remains after you die?  I will be the first one to admit that this is a morbid question on a morbid subject, but I can’t deny that if answered honestly, the insight to be attained is far greater than any other question alone.  The answer is much more than burial or cremation, it comes down to your personal and religious beliefs, who you define yourself as, what you hold dear in life and your ego. 

My brief explanation will probably leave you with more questions than I could hope to answer, so take for instance my life (and death).  When I die, I want to donate my organs, not just my heart, liver and kidneys, but my eyes, skin and brain; the whole shebang.  There is something directly comforting knowing that your death has allowed many to survive.  If there is anything left of me I would like it to be cremated, no rotting body in a coffin for me.  Killing a tree just so I can prevent my body from returning to nature for several hundred years seems like a waste.  So with this in mind I want my ashes scattered in Radiant Lake, just off the Petawawa River in Algonquin Park.  This is one of the most thriving ecosystems I can picture; I also have many memories of canoeing throughout this park and can think of no better place to return to the earth.  With that out of the way, I would like a small, modest plaque at a cemetery near Goderich, Ontario.  Such a plaque simply for my family and loved ones so that they would have a place to go if they wanted to stir up my memory.  Written on my plaque I hope to have a short, thought provoking poem, one at the calibre of Thomas Gray or Robert Herrick.

By reading this you may understand me as a person better, but perhaps in the end it is all just for a little peace of mind.
Radiant Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario
Courtesy of Google

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Merit of Child Labour

Child labour, let’s talk about it.  It’s bad, I know, but I think I will play devil`s advocate for a while.  Some big corporation rolls into a poverty stricken country.  They set up a factory and start hiring.  Perfect, the cheapest labour comes from children and better yet they have nothing better to do.  We offer a kid a job and pay him a few cents a day, maybe even feed him while he is on the job.  We take the burden off the family and help the kid bring in a little money each day. 

So it still sounds horrible does it? Well let’s take a look at the alternatives at least your kid could become a prostitute or drug mule.  They might get paid more for that.  Hell, they could stay at home and sit around for sixteen hours a day while they’re not sleeping or go out to beg on an empty stomach.  Oh wait, everyone in your town is just as poor and hungry as you are.  Everyone is trying to catch a break, but your currency is so devalued compared to the US dollar if you had those five American pennies you could buy a loaf of bread.  Doesn’t sound so bad now does it.

Eventually your standard of living has increased and it no longer becomes affordable for Nike to make their shoes in your town.  Too bad, but you had a good run.  So off Nike goes to the next town to bring up the standard of living there. 

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Biofuels and Hybrid Cars Part Deux

It is better for the environment to drive your 20 mpg old beater until it breaks down than buy a hybrid car.  While this paradox seems utterly illogical, we always seem to forget the cost of producing a car.  The amount of carbon dioxide released by mining and transporting the building materials, running the factories and transporting the cars outweighs the individual CO2 emissions greatly.  We all want to do what’s best for the environment, but it’s not just the thought that counts, it comes down to statistics, numbers and projections.  Don’t get me wrong, hybrid technology is great, but only once all old cars have broken down and been rendered immobile by time and wear. 

On the same note, in my area there is a movement to sell new, stainless steel, eco-friendly water bottles.  Yeah, great idea, metal water bottles will replace those bad plastic ones we get from a vending machine and we won’t have to deal with them anymore.  It is a good idea until you realize that everyone has a reusable water bottle lying around at home.  Look under my sink, my family has at least 15 metal and plastic water bottles.  It’s ironic that while these movements preach sustainability, some virgin forest somewhere is being strip-mined for iron and the iron is shipped to a factory so that we can sell water bottles.  Another bad idea, or perhaps I am just misinformed, but even if the metal for the bottles came from recycled pop cans, we still have a gazillion bottles at home.  A real initiative would be to ask for each family to donate their unused water bottles, wash them thoroughly and sell those.  After all, reuse comes before recycle. 

I’m not trying to shoot down these people; I participate in a recycling movement in my area, but something about the fallacy of what is going on just rubs me the wrong way.  I don’t want to grow up to become some crotchety old man complaining about the youth of today, but I can’t ignore the obvious paradoxes that stare me straight in the face. 

Biofuels and Hybrid Cars

Several years ago we heard much hype in the media about biofuels; an ethanol fuel that will completely replace gasoline.  Well here we stand today, where are the biofuels?  I’m fairly happy because it was a stupid idea to begin with.  I can imagine a conversation going something like this:

“Hey, let’s turn food (corn) into fuel for our cars!”

“Great idea, it doesn’t matter that there is a food crisis!”

It is estimated that in the past year, the increased cost of food has force 44 million people into poverty.  With this in mind, do we still want to go ahead and turn our food into fuel?  Perhaps they did it just to prove that it could be done, if so they have my full congratulations.  People in the first world are willing to pay more for fuel than people in the third world are for food.  No one expects this to end badly?  It all comes back to my favourite line from Jurassic Park:

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could; they didn't stop to think if they should.” – Ian Malcolm

Don’t get me started on hybrid cars… 

Friday, 10 June 2011

Welcome to the Eddy Pool!

Whether while walking, sitting, working or simply staring off into space, I often find myself pondering the events of my world.  I ask myself about life, death or something I just saw in a Twilight Zone episode; each answer seeming to further define who I am.  To call these hundreds of debates a stream of consciousness would be a gross understatement.  I have often regretted not taking note of my answers for fear that I will no longer remember who exactly I am once Alzheimer's sets in, as I am relatively young this is irrational, but a fear nonetheless.  In days to come this blog will fill with brief notes on the highlights my world.  Perhaps you will like it, perhaps you wont, regardless, by the time this is finished I will have an excellent guide to who I am or just some paper with which to wipe the drool from the corners of my mouth (depending on which unfavourable symptom of old age sets in first).
n. pl. ed·dies
1   a : a current of water or air running contrary to the main current; especially : a circular current
     b : something moving similarly
2      : a contrary or circular current (as of thought or policy)
Stolen from Merriam-Webster