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Quick Takes and Random Stuff - Aug 17, 2023
Lots of fun charts and useful information with a note about grasshoppers
A plus for solar and wind
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is responsible for creating this flowchart. Yes, it is confusing. Focus on the rejected energy box on the right. The issue here is that a significant amount of fossil fuel energy is wasted or rejected, primarily as waste heat. This one is a win for solar and wind. On the other hand, look at how important fossil fuels are as inputs.
Suicide has increased but there is some good news
The CDC reports on suicides for 2022 vs. 2021 in Suicide Data and Statistics, and while they are up overall by 2.6%, they decreased by 8.4% for ages 10–24 and only increased by 0.7% for those aged 25–44; this is positive news. On the other hand, what is the situation with the 45+ age group and especially the 65+ age group? We should also be mindful and note counts, not just percentages. For example, overall, male suicide climbed by 2.3%, while female suicide grew by 3.8%, but this amounts to 897 males and 369 females.
Workplace overdoses continue to increase
This graph is from the BLS article, Unintentional overdoses grew for the ninth consecutive year in 2021. The number of cases isn't large, but the pattern is cause for concern. Overdose fatalities like this, I believe, are the tip of the iceberg of an unhappy population.
This is happening at a time when overall workplace deaths are relatively stable. Overdose deaths are included in the category of exposure to dangerous drugs, which is the only category that has increased from previous years except for 2020. Take note of the COVID effect in the area of transportation mishaps.
I made a remark about people eating meat and vegans, and someone retorted sarcastically (or maybe seriously) that grasshoppers eat the same stuff as cattle, so we should eat them. I was instructed to "do the math." So, I did the math, or rather, I utilized Google, and the nice people at the Oklahoma State University Extension presented me with the following information:
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Grasshoppers consume up to 50% of their body weight every day in forage. Cattle consume abut 1.5-2.5% of their body weight in forage, so pound for pound, a grasshopper will eat 12-20 times as much plant material as a steer. Another way to look at it is that 30 pounds of grasshoppers will eat as much as a 600-pound steer.
Who'd have guessed? So, if you had a choice between a grasshopper burger and a beef burger, you can eat the beef burger without feeling bad because it is the more environmentally friendly option. You don't even need to argue about taste or how difficult it is to catch grasshoppers.
Millennials are doing fine
Drum keeps pointing out that the millennials are no worse off in a recent post, Millennials are doing fine, part XXXVII. Here is just one of his four graphs to support his argument and a quote:
Through 2021, Millennial homeownership is at its average for the past 30 years. The average mortgage payment is the same as it was for Boomers and Gen X. Income is higher than both Gen X and Baby Boomers at the same age. And average student debt is lower than either Gen X or Baby Boomers (although only 10% of Boomers have student debt compared to 20% of Millennials).
Higher education continues to hurt itself
From the Chronicle of Higher Education article The Review: West Virginia University's budgetary implosion:
Last month the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression took E. Gordon Gee, the university’s president, to task for having added language to a code of conduct included in faculty-appointment letters requiring faculty members to “accept and encourage change that is for the greater good” and “avoid conduct that reflects adversely on the image of the University.”
As FIRE notes, the code of conduct contains the following requirement: “Respect the decisions that have been made in the best interest of the University.”
In other words, don’t say anything bad about the administration and their decisions. Presidents will then wonder why confidence in higher education is in decline, as I noted in Quick Takes.
Three graphs on race relations: The first from pew.
The second from Gallup:
And another from Gallup from 2021:
What does all of this mean? Only 38% of Democrats and Democratic leaners believe we have made significant or reasonable progress toward racial equity in the last 60 years. Dem/Dem lean has declined roughly 25 points in satisfaction with race relations since 2013. The last graph is simply one indicator of race relations, but the growth in acceptance of interracial marriage since the 1960s has been astounding, with even more improvement since 2013. Perhaps things aren't as horrible as Team D believes. So, why are perceptions suggesting things are getting worse? All I'll say is that we now have an industry of DEI consultants whose jobs depend on there being a problem.(Go ahead; I want to hear it in the comments.)
Worth 4 minutes of your time.
The spinning CD
Extreme hasn’t done an official video for the song Beautiful Girls off their excellent new album Six, but they should.
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Disagreeing and using comments
I'd rather know the truth and understand the world than always be right. I'm not writing to upset or antagonize anyone on purpose, though I guess that could happen. I welcome dissent and disagreement in the comments. We all should be forced to articulate our viewpoints and change our minds when we need to, but we should also know that we can respectfully disagree and move on. So, if you think something said is wrong or misrepresented, then please share your viewpoint in the comments.