Often I just think up titles for these blog posts and don’t really have much more than that. Titles can be fun. When I was a kid we used to have lists of funny book titles and authors that we’d repeat whenever we could. Kind of like these:
Making Weatherproof Clothes by Rainer Day
Laser Weapons by Ray Gunn
Monster-making as a Hobby by Frank N. Stine
When you’re 10, these were hilarious – now they’re just funny. Ray Gunn … hehehehe
Do you remember those reading tests in grade school where they’d have you read a paragraph and then select the best title for it? I always got those wrong. While I find titles interesting and fun, I’ve always had a problem connecting the title to the text that follows it.
I still have that problem and it doesn’t help with my blog writing. I often think in titles, but what I actually write often has nothing to do with the title I selected. Kind of like today. What I was thinking about writing about was liquid air storage batteries, LAES or possibly compressed air energy storage CAES. My readers really liked my post about thorium so I thought I’d follow that up with more energy related material.
While interesting, neither are really as interesting as thorium, but they do involve a lot of math. Well, more thermodynamics which is a really odd branch of mathematics. Sadly, there aren’t that many good metaphors or jokes for thermodynamics. Well there is one: “I found engineering school really hard — I’m not doing so hot in thermodynamics.”
Which brings me back to today’s title. I have no idea what I was thinking I was going to write about with that one. It just seemed like a cool title. There were a few things I was thinking of writing about but all of them end up with me preaching at you. That wouldn’t end well — even though I’d be right.
Okay, first thing I was thinking about was the drought here in the west. Rain and snow aren’t falling, hence the “The Sky Isn’t falling.” A bit corny, but true, it’s not raining here. I don’t just mean here in the desert, but just about every where west of longitude 100 is drier than it was 20 years ago. Lake Mead is drying up and last year Lake Tahoe fell below its natural rim. There’s a lot to say about the drought out here. There’s not a lot of water, but lots of words.
I’d like to say that there is an easy solution to the drought, but … no, it’s just bad news and the forecasts are even worse. Not exactly an uplifting or humorous essay to write. Not unless you go back into history and start poking fun at the original settlers of the west and their theory, “Rain follows the plow.” Yup, it was a popular 19th century theory that if you moved somewhere dry and started farming the rain would just show up. The theory was that disturbing the soil would cause atmospheric disturbances that would create rain. Apparently, firing a canon at the moon also helped to disturb the air and bring rain. You didn’t need to shoot a cannon ball, just fire the black powder and the big boom would do it.
The pseudoscience was widely published and generally believed. The belief was fueled by greed and desperation. Get rich schemes drove people to pack up seeds and farming equipment, go west, get land cheep and wait for rain.
Thousands of farms were started and thousands went bust. Then they diverted the rivers into irrigation ditches and lied to themselves about how much water is really available. Which has brought us to having tens of millions of people living in a region that didn’t have much water to start with.
See — the whole essay becomes preachy and depressing, especially when the only real solution is to stop washing your clothes or moving to Vermont.
So, I decided to not write that.
The second thing I thought about writing was a general poke at the disaster of the day news culture we have and the general, “We’re all going to die!” feel of most news and social media posts. Everybody, just chill, it’s not that bad. Yes, there are a few really bad things, but one more Will Smith story and I’m going to scream. One story about this was interesting, but now we’re on track to having a full documentary, books, etc. People, really, how many times do we need to point out the bad behavior and consequences? I think working on real drought solutions might be more productive.
See where we end up with these kind of conversations? Just put the phone down and go out into the garden, enjoy the roses and sunshine. If you have water for your roses and the sun’s not too hot.
Which brings to why I’m not writing a post titled, “The Sky Isn’t Falling.”
It’s just not going to work. Even a reference to Chicken Little can’t save the essay. It would be doomed from the start.
Next week I’ll work on a better title and maybe I’ll be able to write a post for you.