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Thursday, January 30, 2014

POLAR VORTEX! Poster child for media wars of today!

Typical Hudson Bay Arctic Low Pressure System
So everyone knows it's a very cold winter.  In my personal experience, it's the coldest winter in South Louisiana since my oldest was born in '96.  That seemed like the winter that would never end.  So the natural question is why?  And in today's political driven world the powers that be have jump on a catch phrase "polar vortex" and claim it as proof of their prevailing theory!  The conservatives are pointing to the colder weather and the polar vortex as proof that Al Gore and his global warming alarmist are way off kilter and have no ground to stand on.  The liberals are saying that the wild weather is an effect of global warming and a direct result of no sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.  Both sides are fighting for air time on news outlets to get their side of the polar vortex out.  The White House has even gone as far as putting out a two minute video with it's Presidential adviser on global warming to prove it's view on the polar vortex.  But what is this polar vortex?  And did it really just start happening with global warming?

First, the real name is the circumpolar vortex.  The natural high pressure phenomenon takes place at both poles of the planet.(North and South)   The jet stream wraps the coldest air of our hemisphere up around the North Pole in this circumpolar vortex.  But as you know the jet stream buckles from time to time and brings cold fronts down to the mid latitudes, which is where we live.  Why is the this Winter different?  The jet stream the holds the circumpolar vortex together is much weaker this year.  The coldest air is not wrapped around the Pole, it's elongated with one part stretching all the way down to the deep south of the United States.  This is where the politicians jump in and say it's happening because of their beliefs. (insert belief____here).  Both sides are wrong.  Polar Vortex weaknesses have been happening as far back as 1853.  The global warmers can't claim the lack of sea ice has cause climate change because the term climate in of itself requires decades to prove and weaknesses in the polar vortex have happened every 20 to 30 years over the last 150 or so years.  And those on the other side of the fence can't say one cold winter makes for a colder Earth.  But both sides will try their best to win the argument.

The news media makes it money by getting you worked up enough to keep you coming back for more.  Be that as it may, don't fall for the end of the world insanity headlines.  It's been cold before.  It's snowed before.  There have been killer hurricanes, and deadly heatwaves.  That's not a reason to call for an end to humanity as we know it.  Yes, we do need to be eco-friendly and not pollute our planet.  Mother Nature has her own way of balancing things out.  If you take a little time to stroll through this green planet and stop watching the media circus, you will see the beauty of this thing call Earth.  The fact that most of our fruits and veggies come from flowering plants that depend on a strange little insect (usually a bee) to produce it's bounty should be enough to amaze you.  This incredible place we call home is designed much more intelligently than any of those idiots on the television.  So do yourself a favor and turn off the idiot box and take a step outside and enjoy this beautiful blue marble.  Look a little closer at some things in nature and you just might discover something to believe in without being told to do so.

Home Sweet Home

Monday, January 27, 2014

"Selfies" Are proof that we are teaching our children to be self centered.

Typical Selfie
Unless you have been living in a cave or stranded on an island with a volleyball, you've heard of the term "selfie".  This is nothing more than a self portrait taken from a smart phone, usually at arms length. Sometimes it is taken using a mirror.  The picture is then posted on a social media site.  Selfies have become so popular that the Oxford dictionary has added it as a word in it's November 2013 revisions.  There are also Selfie Olympics and an entire culture based on these self portraits. Samsung estimates that 30 percent of the pictures taken on their devices are considered selfies. One fascinating study discovered that a majority of the selfies turned to expose the left cheek.  This is rooted in how the brain configures its on perception of the body and can be seen in paintings by famous artist in just about every painting style in history.  Selfies are not "evil" or something that will lead to big trouble for your child.  It is after all, part of the American landscape these days.  But it does reinforce some very bad habits we have of letting our children be self centered and limits their thinking of the world around them.

With the advent of social media selfies allow people and more specifically girls to feed their need to be accepted by the masses.  While acceptance by your peers is important it is not the end of the journey and it is definitely not something that should consume a teenagers every waking moment.  At home your child is often the center of attention.  Then your little one grows up and heads out into the real world and discovers that he or she is one of many, this is often disastrous.  If your child doesn't know how to be part of a group or team that is bigger than he or she is, then all the education in the world is doing them no good.  Selfies, lavish gifts, and Mommy and Daddy fixing everything will never teach a child to be one part of a larger group.  And yes, society is partly to blame.  We live in a selfish, introverted, take care of only yourself world. But excuses won't help your child when he or she meets the shock of the real world not worshiping their every whim.  Your job as a parent is to look toward the final goal.  You are working to make a complete adult at the end of your 18 year journey.  Unfortunately, to many parents only work toward the goal of making their kids happy today, or this week, or this Christmas.  If you have no long term goals for your child, then as the old saying goes, your child will surely fail!!

4-H Club
There are many ways to break the selfishness in your child and prepare him for the world at large.  Some of the easiest examples is to be part of a sports team, academic club, youth group, band or music group, or any other activity that involves lots of other kids.  But even then, you must adhere to the larger picture.  There are to many parents that threaten coaches to take their kids off of teams if they don't let their Son be the star player.  The whole purpose is to be part of a TEAM.  To learn that you are one part of a larger machine. For example, band members know that their music is vital to the sound of the song but it is only one part. The song would sound bad without them but it would sound even worse with them alone.  Having your kid take part in some of these groups is gently teaching them to not be self centered.  Today's world has so many more things teaching kids to be selfish and introverted.  My parents didn't have to fight as many of these battles as we do.  But with a good plan and active parenting you can still turn out great kids.  And hopefully, look back at "selfies" as a silly passing fad.