Category Archives: Human Accomplishment

UPDATED (7/9): Chile Is No ‘Shithole Country’: When There is A Drought, Chileans Catch Water In Nets

Human Accomplishment, Nationhood, Technology

Chileans are turning the mist into usable water with the aid of fog nets.

In Chile’s Coquimbo region, farmers “try to grow wheat and raise sheep and goats on 2,800 hectares (7,000 acres) of semi-arid scrubland. A decade-long drought has made that harder. Hilltop springs where the animals once drank have dried up. As herds shrank and yields fell, farmers’ children moved away to take jobs in cities or at copper mines.”

Hope for Los Tomes comes in the form of three 60-square-metre (646-square-foot) nets stretched between poles on a ridge above the community. These atrapanieblas capture droplets from the fog that rolls in from the sea 4km (2.5 miles) away. They trickle down to a pipe, which channels the water to two troughs at the foot of the ridge, from which livestock drink. The banner-like nets can harvest 650 litres (140 gallons) of water a day. “We’re content: it’s produced the results we wanted,” says José Ossandón, the child’s father and the president of the co-operative.

Chile has been investigating fog capture since the 1950s. The dense fog that arises from the Humboldt current, called the camanchaca, can be harvested with the help of a coastal mountain range and strong winds. Earlier attempts to turn the mist into usable water failed. In 1990 fog nets at Chungungo, a fishing village north of Los Tomes, captured 8,000 litres a day.

At Majada Blanca, a goat-herding community north of Los Tomes, three 150-square-metre fog catchers feed a plantation of young olive trees, a splash of green in the brown scrub. When the trees mature they will produce 750 litres of organic olive oil a year, which the comuneros will be able to sell for about $12,000. They reckon the water source will be a big selling point. “We’ll be pioneers in the production of quality olive oil made with fog water,” says one of them, Ricardo Álvarez. A privately owned brewery in Peña Blanca was quick to spot fog water’s marketing appeal. It is the main ingredient of its artisanal beer, called Atrapaniebla. …

Less communal arrangements and the introduction of private investment would go along way to accelerate this remarkable, but workable, fog-catching experiment.

… MORE in “Making Money from Mist: The Feisty Fog-Catchers of Chile,” courtesy the Economist.

UPDATE (7/9):  Facebook thread. (And why do I bother?)

John Paterson I think one of qualifications of shithole country is having to.catch your own water.

Reply · 21h

Ilana Mercer How incisive. Let’s see, if your country has no water and you remedy it, you’re from a shithole country. nice. better to ask for foreign aid. maybe the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has some bottled water. but first say, “please sir can I have some water?”

 

Irving Rynning: Come again? Do you like or dislike the brilliance and simplicity of the nets? I love the low-tech way to get water, no pollution or great expense, but a rather high yield.

UPDATED (7/9/018): Non-‘Shithole’ Countries Seem To Recover Quickly From Disasters, Natural Or Man-Made

Business, Economy, Federal Reserve Bank, Human Accomplishment, IMMIGRATION, Intelligence, Technology

In 2008, Iceland collapsed under the weight of its banking industry’s federal-reserve like excesses.

In 2018, Iceland’s is a red hot economy. The highly able population has shifted from finance to technology and tourism. No bailout—allowing the banks to collapse and a natural recovery take place—has a lot to do with it.

“… rather than stepping in with taxpayers’ money like the British and Americans did, the Icelandic government let its banks go bust.”

Likewise did Chile cope reasonably well with what was “one of the most powerful earthquakes in history.” We hear nothing of Chile’s struggles to recover.

Not so Haiti, the Africa of the Western Hemisphere.

Haiti is forever convulsed by political and natural disasters. It remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where four out of five people live in poverty and more than half in abject poverty (NYT).

It’s nearly two decades since a pair of earthquakes struck El Salvador in 2001. The US government granted Salvadorians a generous grant of privilege in the late 1990s, in the form of a temporary protected status (TPS) for nearly 200,000.

Ditto the “Haitians who were stranded after an earthquake in 2010.”

To the din of protest, “the United States’ Department of Homeland Security had only recently revoked the so-called temporary protection (it lasted nearly 2 decades).

“Shithole countries,” a Trump coinage, don’t seem to recover very well from disasters, natural or man-made, do they?

SEE RELATED READING:

“Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Controversy Deconstructed (Part 1)”
“Why Trump Pooh-Poohed ‘S-ithole’ Countries (Part 2)”

UPDATE (7/9/018):

Meanwhile in Haiti ...

UPDATED (10/30/018): St. John’s: The Most Rigorous College In America & What Every Young Mind Needs

Education, Human Accomplishment, Intellectualism, Intelligence, Literature, Logic, Technology

According to data reported by Tucker, only 31 percent of Americans who graduate from college can read a complex text/book.

By the same data’s telling, American kids are the dumbest in the developed world (facts I was reporting 14 years ago, already. In addition to the two hyperlinks provided, click “Education” to go back in time).

While our kids know less and less, their grades are only getting higher. The vaunted GPA is meaningless, except to give an idea of a student’s grades in relation to the inflated marks of his peers.

The most common grade given (the statistical mode?) in American college courses is an … “A.” “Forty-three percent of all letter grades are As.”

An exception to the rule is St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico (there is a Campus in Annapolis, MD, too), whose core curriculum is centered around what we call The Western Canon:

The great books (and works of art and music) upon which nobody contemporary has improved. (Everybody needs to be humbled by these works. I recently read some Plato abbreviated, after which I felt very small indeed. It’s all been said and thought-out before by the Greats. For example, an insight articulated and carefully thought-out in Into The Cannibal’s Pot; it was there. Plato said it already. Of course I was chuffed; it felt good. But how sad that this heritage—and with it the humility that comes with a recognition of true genius—is not being handed down.)

The video begins 4:22 minutes into the Tucker segment. (Tucker is a gem. The only gem on Fox News.)

St. John’s College admits only 800 and is producing the renaissance men and women of America.

ALL “freshmen must learn ancient Greek. ALL seniors struggle with quantum physics, along the way, as do they have to grapple with calculus, learn how to do differential equations, study Hegel and Kierkegaard, Karl Marx and Adam Smith.”

“St. John’s is sailing against every trend in American higher education.”

Their “students read 200 serious books over the course of their education.”

Only 800 students qualify in admission and all must undergo this rigor.

This is the traditional liberal arts education that our greatest minds (thinkers, scientists, Founding Fathers) would have undergone 100 plus years ago. (Was not Thomas Jefferson a scientist and a philosopher and an all-round genius? Indeed he was.)

It’s an all-required curriculum. Everyone is required to take courses of equal rigor. There are no majors, no minors. No hiding. No skewing the grades Bell Curve.

Minds thus enriched can go on to become whatever they want, having been given the intellectual wherewithal to think, and the tools to both appreciate intellectual history, draw on it and from it.

American education is an exercise in egalitarian idiocy. In my option, educational egalitarianism and idiocy does the greatest harm to the gifted child.

And isn’t that the aim? To give all children the feeling they are equally gifted?

Ultimately, wonderful young minds should not be abandoned to the evaluation standards of what are mostly sub-intelligent, near-illiterate educrats, who’ve been disseminating dumbed-down subject matter, in institutions of “learning” in which everyone is a winner.

UPDATED (10/30/018): Rotting young minds. 

And when I refused to partake in mobile-device mania I was called a Luddite (backwards). When I tell friends their kids (essentially) don’t know how to READ; I am dismissed.

See: “‘Screens are Poison’: Tech Elites Keeping Devices Out of Their Children’s Schools

Hiring The Best People, POTUS? Legal Scholar Jonathan Turley Thinks Michael Cohen Is A Rotten Attorney

Donald Trump, Human Accomplishment, Law, Sex

Legal scholar and quintessential gentleman Jonathan Turley is seldom wrong on the intricacies of the law. He was on Fox News propounding the theory, no doubt anchored in law, that Michael Cohen, President Trump’s fix-it lawyer, has gotten his client into a lot of trouble. (Alas, Turley, like Cohen, makes spelling mistakes):

… In what is now the most famous non-disclosure agreement in history, Cohen sought to silence Daniels with a $130,000 payment just days before the election. He drafted a flawed agreement that magnified the problems for his client. The agreement is entitled “Confidential Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release; Assignment of Copyright and Non-Disparagment (sic) Agreement.” If Cohen hoped to avoid “disparagment,” he could not have gone about it more ham-handedly. Cohen created the shield company Essential Consultants LLC and used anonymous identities for Daniels (“Peggy Peterson”) and Trump (“David Dennison”). However, Trump never signed. Instead, Cohen signed as EC LLC, which appears to be simply Cohen.

The agreement is frought [sic] with errors, including the fact that the arbitration provision seems to be an option for Trump rather than EC LCC. Nevertheless, Cohen (aka EC LLC) filed for arbitration and demanded $20 million in damages (as part of an excessive damages provision allowing for $1 million for every disclosure or even threatened disclosure by Daniels).

Now that Cohen’s counsel has confirmed the lack of knowledge or consent by Trump, the potential fallout from this agreement has become even more apparent and more serious.

… When this agreement first came to light, I wrote that Cohen would face very serious ethical questions over his conduct. First there was the fact that Cohen paid for the $130,000 out of his own pocket – a highly usual and troubling mixing of his personal and professional interests. Second, if Trump was not aware of the agreement, Cohen could be alleged to have made false representations to an opposing party as well as failing to meet his duty of conferral with a client. …

Mark Steyn, hardly a great thinker—although a thoroughly amusing one—made fun of Michael Avenatti, lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels. Turley, who is a serious thinker on the law, says Avenatti did a superb job in representing his client.

You be the judge.

MORE: “Beware The ‘Lawyer Acquaintance’: How Fifty-Six Words May Have Just Sunk Trump and Cohen In The Daniels Litigation.