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A View From the Edge

Why young Americans should be very afraid

A View From the Edge

Mom and Dad are moving in with you as soon as they reach 65. Get that spare bedroom ready, move brothers and sisters in together. We’re turning back the clock to pre-World War II: The family unit is back and the retired are, once again, about to be the burden of those still working.
Come to think of it, little Johnny and Suzy had better get an after-school job to help the family make ends meet. And you can forget about school loans for the high-school graduates, that first car, holidays or remodeling your kitchen — no one will be able to afford them soon, either.

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I do not talk to cereal boxes (yet, anyway)

A View From the Edge

In the supermarket the other day, I was looking at the ingredients of sugar-frosted-honey-bombs-with-freeze-dried-strawberries (leading ingredient corn, followed by corn sweetener) and there it was, the new media world all wrapped up in one sentence: “If you enjoyed our product, follow us on Twitter and Facebook!”
It was not a question, it was a command.

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Trusting a politician’s word, a leader’s word

A View From the Edge

They say that actions speak louder than words, but most times all we have to go on are words. Words inspire, words convince us to agree or disagree, and words, and only words, are what we first hear from politicians.
The problem is, everything is upside down in America now. What was once the central core of Republican political ethics has been tossed aside, often to the Democratic Party, and vice versa.
Following are some apt quotes for our times by some of our nation’s past great leaders. Try and remember what party these presidents were members of, it may surprise you.

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Update on solar cells

A View From the Edge

Readers of this column may remember our praise for NASA’s invention of the photovoltaic cell and, especially, the wait while advanced photovoltaic cell materials — solar cells — are allowed to trickle down from national secrecy needs (especially the solar cell material printed on a photocopier).
Hopes that this material would be released to public consumption have been delayed, mainly by Department of Defense needs to maintain U.S. superiority in space. In space, portable energy is everything, since you cannot plug in anywhere. Anyway, all that seems about to change.

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Trusting a politician’s word (or not)

A View From The Edge

They say that actions speak louder than words, but most times all we have to go on are words. Words inspire, words convince us to agree or disagree, and words, and only words, are what we first hear from politicians.
The problem is, everything is upside down in America now. What was once the central core of Republican political ethics has been tossed aside, often to the Democratic Party, and vice versa.
Following are some apt quotes for our times by some of our nation’s past great leaders. Try and remember what party these presidents were members of, it may surprise you.

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Domino Theory comes of age

A View From the Edge

Those of us old enough to remember the excuse, oops sorry, theory of why we were fighting in Vietnam — Eisenhower’s, Nixon’s and Cap Weinberger’s pet phrase, the Domino Theory — also remember that the reasoning was flawed, that if Vietnam fell to the Communists, then the rest of Southeast Asia would fall as well.
The problem there was that, except for Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, the largest portion (land and population) of Southeast Asia was already Communist: China, North Korea and the USSR (remembering that the USSR stretches all the way to the Pacific).

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Life on Earth: coral reefs

A View From The Edge

One-third of all marine life is found in, on and is dependent on coral reefs. However, coral reefs only occupy 1 percent of the seabed, or less than 0.7 percent of the surface of the earth. Think about it, one-third of all life in a vast ocean area covering two-thirds of the planet is crammed in right there on those tiny coral reefs.
Put another way, just over 20 percent of all the life on planet Earth resides in, on and around coral reefs, stuffed into an area less than 1 percent of the earth’s surface.

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Environment facts are not so simple

A View From The Edge

On Feb. 23, a NASA satellite was launched, called Glory, to study the subtle ways solar radiance influences the planet’s climate. Why?
“We are trying to achieve better measurements of both aerosols and total solar irradiance in order to calculate the energy budget — the amount of energy entering and exiting earth’s atmosphere — as accurately as possible,” said Michael Mishchenko of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

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State budget shortfalls — not the worker’s problem

A View From The Edge

There is an old saying: If you borrow a couple of hundred thousand, it is your problem; if you borrow a couple of million, it is the loaner’s problem.
I called the New York State Dormitory Authority (NYDA) and the Office of Mental Health (NYOMH) and asked them a simple question: How much of their budget goes to paying the bonds raised to build the various NYOMH buildings across the state? The responses I got ranged from “we don’t have that information” to “why are you asking” all the way to “that is confidential information available through the governor’s office only.”

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Signs of national decay

A View From The Edge

Empires, vast powerhouses of wealth, prosperity and privilege, rise and fall in history. In hindsight, historians often point to major battles, changes in rulers or other socioeconomic causes as being clear evidence that the empire in question as about to fall, change forever.
However, sometimes there are reasons that only come to light with new evidence, new science. And sometimes there were other signs that, when seen in context of events played out in the political and war arena, become obvious predictors as well.

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