Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Not Quite Random

Here's the smartest thing I've seen written about Thanksgiving this year.  It's worth reading: "On Racism at Thanksgiving."

I have two courses this semester where the final project is the last grade and there's no final exam.  In both of them, I feel like my job right now is to help the students do a really great project, and not to try to teach them much new stuff.  That means conferencing rather than holding class, to some extent.  (Not totally, since we also have peer revision work and such.)

My other course has a final project coming due, but also a final exam, and we're still working on learning new stuff.  And that's fine.

I did a good bit of grading over the break, and plenty of goofing off, and a few house chores, and it was all in all very good.  I'm very happy I didn't travel far.

I applied for that thing I mentioned before, the special thing.  I'm not hugely invested, which is good, because around here a lot of special things end up being decided long before actual applications are invited, and inviting applications is just a formality.  It's one of the reasons we've had a steady stream of good old boys moving up into positions through other positions.

NPR this morning is running two stories very capitalistically interested, but so very different.  The first is a story about, basically, what a bummer it is for small oil producing businesses that the price of oil has dropped.  There's no mention of how that drop makes some other businesses more profitable (those who transport goods, for example), or how the drop helps people who buy gas for their cars.

The other is a story about, basically, what a cool thing it is that some folks are buying US produced grass rather than Mexican produced grass, and how the US grass is of higher quality, and now that grass is legal in some US states, the prices of grass have dropped, and that's hurting Mexican producers.

My NPR takeaway: It's bad when US producers are hurt by dropping prices, and good when Mexican producers are hurt.  It's good when regular-joe people can get grass more cheaply, and unnoticed (read: bad) when regular-joe people can get gas more cheaply.

I recognize there are lots of complications to both stories.  The gas price drop is, as I understand it, partly driven by frac-sand oil production, which is scarily bad for the environment.  And gas being really cheap means people tend to drive more.  Pot growing has also been traditionally bad environmentally, especially when it's done illegally.  I don't know if it would be better if grass were so legal (and cheap) that it were farmed like soy or something.   And then there's the drug cartel problem.  That's scary as hell.

In a perfect world, run by Queen Bardiac, gas would be expensive enough to incentivize other forms of energy production and use, and we'd somehow find ways to make those forms more environmentally sound.

And pot would be inexpensive enough to make farmers need to do math to decide whether to grow it, or hemp, or soy, or whatever other crops they might grow, and inexpensive enough that no one would be willing to go to jail by growing it on National Park lands or by being violent about it.



  1. Anonymous6:50 AM

    They did the story on low gas prices being good for other businesses yesterday morning, IIRC.

  2. I would happily live in a world run by Queen Bardiac! Let me know when you start planning your coup.

  3. N&M, Thanks! I must have missed that one.

    What Now? It's difficult to become queen if you're anti-violence. Hard to run a coup that way.