Sunday, August 31, 2014

Engineering a Drought

My wife and I had a few days to drive north through California past the largest reservoirs: Lake Oroville and Lake Shasta.  They are currently at 31% and 30% of total capacity, although they appear much lower per this.  The total amount of water stored is about half of what it normally is at the end of a summer.  This is bad, but there is still a lot of water up there.

A young man showed up at church who had been living in Africa.  He heard all the news about the drought, then was shocked to see all the lawn watering going on.  According to him, a real drought is when you turn the faucet on and nothing comes out.  A water crisis is when a baboon dies and falls into the village water supply.  Only a few central valley areas are facing dry faucets at the moment, so in some sense the drought really hasn't begun for the vast majority of Californians.  Another way we might feel the drought is through water charges.  Some areas of the state until recently were only charged for a water hookup, but not the water used.  A glance at historical water rates shows that this is significantly lagging inflation.

But to be real, urban Californians only use 20% of the water compared to 80% for the agricultural sector.  Or so it is misleadingly reported.  Actually, the environmental mandates come to almost 50%, with agriculture more like 40% and urban at 10%.  The environmental use is hard to find, but one link is here.  And here.  The documentation stops at 2010, which seems to be just before a bunch of court decisions to increase the environmental share of the water usage.  It is tempting to think that California's policy of being a magnet for illegals, welfare recipients and homeless contributes to this, but I suspect that this is negligible.  

The latest article on the subject is from the Washington Post.  As usual, there is no mention of water usage and environmentalism or marijuana growing.  What is mentioned is groundwater aquifers and global warming.  So we will muddle through as always.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Too Many Chiefs, Not Enough Indians

Undoubtedly this corporate slogan is now deemed racist towards American Indians and no sensible person would use it for fear of jeopardizing their career.  Nevertheless, it is still used.  It recently came to my attention that "too many chiefs, not enough Indians" is taking on a new life and a new sense of meaning in the melting pot of Silicon Valley where Vietnamese, Chinese, um Indians and other races all work in the same company and compete for the coveted spot of "Chief".  Regardless, I am just one of the Indians, even though I am a Caucasian.  I will leave it to others to determine whether or not there is an appropriate number of Chiefs and Indians and try to stay out of the debate.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer Update

Thankfully I have a few days of break.  The Lake Tahoe swim had to be cancelled, since preparation required swimming 15 to 20 hours a week, and I limited myself to about 10 hours.  The Greek vocabulary drill program has me at "90%", meaning that I have absorbed about 90% of the 2,000 + or - vocabulary words.  The system checks each word randomly three different ways:  Spoken Greek to English, Written Greek to English, and English to Greek.  I am a bit skeptical as to whether learning how to say "chopsticks" and "wombat" in Greek will assist me in my biblical studies.  But then there were many surprises, such as the modern Greek word for "seal" as in "seal an envelope" is basically the same as that for the seven seals in Revelation.  At this point all the words have been committed to memory, so it is just a matter of continuing the much reduced daily schedule of word practice until the program determines my error rate has reduced to near zero.

The formal Biblical Greek classes start today, which means I now have three semesters to continue the Greek program.  A challenge here is that Greek grammar is on the same order of complexity as German, so that grammar is going to be the key point requiring work.  Onward!

Sunday, August 24, 2014