Is the Fringe Bullying Mainstream?

The fringe is a term statisticians use to describe observable measurements that are pretty far away from the average… also called the mean.  Most measurements define variables within one standard deviation as “normal” meaning they are quite likely.  Once you get to two standard deviations you are clearly in the “abnormal” range and statisticians have to decide whether data there should be thrown out.

So, we can label anything that is in the tails of the curve as in the fringes.  When we talk about some individuals today, they will proudly be called queer.  If you didn’t know the origin of that word, it implies something quite different from normal.  But, groups who deviate from the norm now are rather proud of that term and want to be identified as that.

I am OK with their freedom to identify with whatever description that fits their concept of gender or political or religious persuasion.  We celebrate the freedom to do so in this country.  However, I am getting tired of being criticized by this vocal minority for things I do believe are normal.  For example, I am not going to list my gender preference on my email signature.  If you feel you want to, go right ahead.  I won’t criticize you for that, but do not imply I have to follow your lead and do the same.

I am not sure these individuals realize they have crossed a line from freedom of speech to bullying.  Take a close look at the definition of bullying for a moment:

Bullying is the use of force, coercion, hurtful teasing or threat, to abuse, aggressively  dominate, or intimidate.   The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception (by the bully or by others) of an imbalance of physical or social power. 

As a leader in our company, we have a corporate responsibility to be sure nobody bullies another person.  The workplace must be safe for all employees.  Any form of harassment is disallowed and will not be tolerated.  We have an absolute “zero tolerance” for any real or perceived forms of sexual harassment, or any other interpersonal actions that make any employee or our customers uncomfortable.  That includes political conversations.

We know all of us have personal convictions and lives that deserve the freedom from fear or ridicule.  So, it does not matter what race, religion, political persuasion or gender preference an employee has … we gladly accept their differences.  We insist everyone respect each other.

Yet, what seems to be happening is the statistically uncommon perspective is being crammed down the throats of the mainstream by the minorities who now deem their point of view is to be the way for all.  They are bullying us now. And that includes the mainstream media whose messaging now takes every opportunity to celebrate the statistical minorities. In fact, some will bristle at me for even offering this mainstream perspective and try to bully me with labels of being racist or homophobic, etc.

We in the majority are now being criticized for being normal.  We in the majority do not require anyone to have their gender preference in their return email address.  Yes, we understand how some might not want to be referred to him or her, but we let each of us decide whether that is important to us.  I am guessing that 80 – 90% of us would let people simply know we are males or females.  Most of us resent all this “woke” conversation all around us … but we allow it because we want to be kind and inclusive.

It seems this fringe now wants much more than equal rights.  It seems they now want their views to be required for everyone around them.  That is bullying.

I know it is politically incorrect to speak this truth… but I am tired of letting these non-normative views impose on my free speech.

Drink Up!

Perhaps there is a new reason to add adult beverages to your diet.  The latest scientific research indicates that farm grown ethanol used to reduce the cost of gasoline is not good for the environment.  See the Washington Examiner article.

I knew there were redeeming reasons to drink moderately and now there are added benefits that should make us happy beyond the ones I have always used:

I enjoy a glass of wine each night for its health benefits. The other glasses are for my flawless dance moves and witty comebacks.

On  a more serious note, I believe this article will be followed by a series of realizations about many of the ways people think we are going to save this planet.  There is a upwelling of “blinding flashes of the obvious like this article in We the People Speaking.

All critical thinkers point to a simple fact: we are using too much and there are too many people on the planet to permit them to do the same as modern nations. We simply do not have the natural resources.  If you have not watched the free on Amazon Prime documentary, Planet of the Humans, I encourage you to do that.  It dares to say what no one will—that we are losing the battle to stop climate change by following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road—selling out the green movement to bankers and billionaires. This urgent, must-see movie is guaranteed to generate anger, debate, and, hopefully, a willingness to see our survival in a new way-before it’s too late. We have had several Watch Parties with friends to share the conclusions reached by this researcher who starts out an environmental zealot but flips to the other extreme looking at the conclusions he finds in the facts.

Another well done documentary is Cowspiracy.  Both point to the same conclusions that it’s not carbon nor forest fires nor changing temperatures that are the problem.  It’s too many people living places they should not be living.

More reason to eat, drink, and be merry!

Do you Smell Something Funny?

We have all learned “if you see something… say something!”  The idea is that the best defense of our safety is to empower all of us to be watchful.  Perhaps there are further applications.

My wife says that women are very sensitive to the scent of a man’s skin, and I am not referring to a cologne they wear.  She says that our bodies emit smells and that what we commonly call chemistry is in part related to how much we like that smell.  The good news here is that she likes the way I smell.  Go ahead and sniff your arm… there is a smell that apparently is unique to you and your body’s chemistry.

I have noticed that some people are terribly insensitive to this and either don’t bathe or fail to use deodorant.  What I guess I never knew is that other animals and insects have much better senses of smell than we do… I guess because of the evolutionary process since it helps them either find a productive mate, food, or sense danger.  Mosquitos have evolved to use this and skin temperature to home in on their evening meals.

Well, this leads me to comment on some fascinating research into this animal kingdom to potentially offer early warnings for things that go wrong in our bodies.  Evidently, our dogs are keenly aware when we are not well, and researchers are thinking that it is because our body odors change to reflect that.

Take a look at this research into insects: MIT Technology Review

This is a fascinating dimension to the neural science methods of today and tomorrow.  Even though we can’t yet “tap into what the animal is actually thinking” we can find ways to decode when that animal or insect has found something of interest.  Brain waves are a perfect data source for Artificial Intelligence (AI), which depends on having lots of data.

However, it is interesting that research like this so often fails to ask the right questions.  How do we know what else these living creatures would respond to besides the presence of cancer?  How different are these brain waves from those associated with other potential stimuli?  And, how reliable is this from locust to locust?  After all, we all know people who are insensitive to almost any stimuli around them?

Then, we must decide how realistic this idea would be to use in practice.  Are we all going to have locusts in our homes?

Research like this is fascinating and does permit us to ask deeper questions.

Personally, I would rather we studied parrots, especially African Grey parrots to see if they can tell truly us anything.  Yes, I know their relationship to us is not based upon what they smell … at least not so far.  But, given they develop the largest vocabulary of language, perhaps they can truly talk to us about what they observe.  African Grey parrots can master over 4,000 words in many cases.  So, if an African Grey parrot lived in a Jewish family speaking Hebrew, they could literally master the language.

At that point I would really like to know when my parrot smelled something different about me or thought there was anything I should know about what they sense.

The Devil is in the Details

The solar industry has launched an industry-wide attack on the electric utility industry implying that they are all anti-solar.  Indeed there have been some noteworthy cases of underhanded behaviors, but decide for yourself whether the accusations are fair. Read the recent article in Solar Power World. 

Those of us who have been part of this dialogue since the beginning understand how the economics of projects depend in part upon the subsidized credits for power produced.  While that subsidy was appropriate to get the industry started, it is no longer acceptably economic at scale and places an economic burden on those least able to afford electricity and who definitely are least able to put solar panels on their roofs.

But notice the tone of the article and specifically note the elimination of any of these details over the decades.  We now know more fully what it will take to accommodate solar at scale and the economics of solar farms is a much more realistic and sustainable choice for society.  Utilities have jumped onto that bandwagon.  Rooftop solar is simply a bad idea compared to large scale solar farms on all fronts, and especially for grid resilience.

Perhaps the biggest lesson here is that the utilities did not “bring their customers along” on the intellectual and economic journey to arrive at this decision.  They simply assumed they could legislate to control their destinies.  It seems they assumed customers would simply go along with the change, and evidently they haven’t.

Once a legal battle ensues it is extremely costly to try to educate anyone… there is too much money to be made in the intellectual war.

The natural gas industry had better wake up and smell the roses.  You are next.