"Scientists know when the Earth ends. It's when vulcanism and plate tectonics stops". I wrote that in my last blog.
The Nepal and Mt. Everest earthquake shows two things: (a) it reminds us that the earth is very much alive and (b) it's force could care less about what the current species are doing.
The history of the Himalayas is the fastest and most recent geological event in earth's 4.5 billion year history.
It all started when India rapidly migrated north from what is today's Antartica. It slammed into the Asia plate. It's plate moved faster than any other plate in earth's history. And the Himalayas are a result of this collision.
In order to understand today's earthquake - and why it's epicenter was quite shallow - some history of the India and Asia plate collision must be explained.
First. When the two plates collided, they started to buckle. Picture taking an area rug in a room of your house and sliding it against a wall. "Buckling" looks like the folds that would result from sliding the rug against the wall. The more you push, the more the first folds are buried by the next folds.
Second. In geology there is a limit to folding. When the pressure is too great - and it is because the collision is still occurring - horizontal thrust faults occur to relieve the pressure. It is within this horizontal fault, which is quite shallow - that caused today's earth quake.
Third. If you were to examine the rocks that make up Mt Everest, you would see that there are three distinct rocks that make up the mountain. At the top is limestone. Limestone is a rock made up of dead ocean creature shells. Next is marble. Marble is ocean sedimentary rocks formed from the ocean floor under great pressure. And below the marble layer resides granite. Granite is part of the earth's crust.
This helps to explain the Himalayas formation. The first collision/buckle was India and Asia's crust colliding. The second buckle was deep oceanic rock. And the third buckle was the shells of dead sea creatures.
Meaning the first collision - earth crust - inverts to the bottom from buckling. The second collision - deep oceanic rock - folds over the granite. Leaving the last collision - limestone - to be placed on top.
After that, there is nothing left to relieve the pressure of two plates continuing to collide, other than horizontal thrust faults. And it is these horizontal thrust faults that lead to earthquakes.
In closing, the earth is very much alive. And if the earth had a voice it would be saying
"I have seen many life forms come and go. You are the most conceited. Do you think I really care about some aluminum cans and plastic? How would you know if your sole purpose in life was to create aluminum cans and plastic for my use. And ask the aluminum cans and plastic that litter Mt Everest where they are going to end up. Below the rocks along the horizontal trust faults".
April 25, 2015
I am a genetic Roman Catholic.
I was raised in Catholic schools. And my youngest is graduating from a Catholic high school next month. I have 12 years of Catholic education and for 26 years I have paid for four children going through Catholic K-4 to high school.
I can honestly say, I never experienced as a child nor as a father, over that 38-year period, Catholic schools teaching any Neanderthal science based on the Bible. If there are creationists, God love them, they don't appear to be members of my flawed religion.
What troubles me though, is that the scientist in me, doesn't understand the "science of global warming". And why am I not getting it? I know I am not a creationist. What am I missing?
The following things trouble me with the "science of global warming".
1. Sample Size. Is one or two centuries within a 4.5 billion dollar planet a scientific sampling size? We know Homo Sapiens lived through the last Ice Age. And have withstood temperatures rising and falling. But overall, temperatures have been rising for the last 10,000 years.
2. Speaking Of Ice Ages. The evidence is very clear. We are living within a period of Earth's history, where it is not a matter of if, but when, glaciers will again bury New York under a mile high sheet of ice. No scientist, I know of, disputes that.
3. Where Is The Ice Age Inflection Point. We have proof of the ebbs and flows of glaciation for the last two million years. But there is no way - other than the historical average - to know when the next Ice Age is coming. The Arctic? It's a body of water and not a body of geology. Say the Arctic is totally water during the summer. We know that in two million years - a blink of an eye in geology and plate tectonics - that the underlying plate structure for the last 2 million years has changed little. Which leaves us with the knowledge that the Arctic is an ocean and not land. Which reminds us that it is impossible to trace the state of water molecules. Hence we don't know if the melting of the poles is a state of concern, or rather a repeating state of rising temperatures in a cycle of predominating temperature cooling.
4. Earth's Temperature History. Scientists know when the Earth ends. It's when vulcanism and plate tectonics stops. The long-term future is Mars; where the absence of the energy of vulcanism, dies and so does the a planet. Geology is pretty clear cut. Mass extinctions have occurred when the benefits of vulcanism are outweighed by cataclysmic CO2 levels. CO2 events from unexpected vulcanism - like mantel plumes - is infinity more damaging than anything man is capable of.
5. If there is indeed a short-term correlation between anything man has done; it's less about newer forms of energy being harmful to the environment, and more about population growth, maximizing meat production and the methane implication of manure.
So am I or anyone else a scientist, when questioning global warming because of the above arguments? Or am I neanderthal creationist?
Well, I am not a creationist. But what is of concern; is how does someone with a scientific ethos, question the science of global warming?
And is there a difference today, between established and codified scientific methods, and good-old-fashioned heresy in the face of what seems to be established doctrine?
April 22, 2015
i wrote a few posts ago, that there was political white space, between liberalism and conservatism.
It was progressivism and it's author was TR.
I am a social liberal and a financial conservative. I think there are a lot of voters like me. Which means we are RINO's and we don't seem to have a home.
As a CEO, I think the government has a role to play, like TR. But in the most limited of ways. I want the rules to be fair so anyone with an idea can succeed. I also want industrialists - who create jobs - to be on at least the same footing or higher - than people who are in the business of financial arbitrage.
But then there is our national park system created by TR. Of all the things that make this country great, (a) the size of our land mass and (b) TR's wisdom that some natural wonders should not be commercialized, is certainly one of them.
I have taken my family about 10 times to the Boundary Waters (waters that border Minnesota with Canada). There are no signs. Just a map and your ability to navigate. You might see one other canoeing party in a day. But it is that peaceful and tranquil.
I bring all of this up because - believe it or not - some group of investors wants to build a billion $ mall for the Grand Canyon. And not just at some rim.
The plan is the use 420 acres of remote land that peers down upon the confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado rivers for commercial purposes. Among the retail shops, restaurants, and hotels on the upper rim, there would be the same below on the valley floor, along with stadium seating to take in the views, a museum, visitors center, and an elevated river walk.
What's next? An airport and limo service to the Grand Canyon? Ok kids, lets get away from everything and rough it. Our plane leaves in two hours and I promise you will be back within 24 hours. And you won't miss anytime on your computer and playing video games?
There are just some things that are not right. And this proposed plan is one of them. It's just not about right and wrong; it's about what is American and un-American.
April 19, 2015
I know a lot of people have read and reacted to my GOP-based defense of our 44th president.
When the young Barack Obama was winning the nomination and two general elections - the meme was he was a living Rorschach test. The majority voted for him, because they projected everything they wanted, in a rejection of the 43rd president of the US.
Why? Well presidents are like casting movies. Josh Brolin (W 43) was out of fashion. So you get Denzil Washington (Obama 44).
But a funny thing happened after two electoral landslide elections; the Obama Rorschach Test was inverted.
Instead of making Obama a mirror of what we wanted America to be; his rejection is instead more a mirror of who we are.
Sadly. A foot forward; and a yard back.
African-Americans fought along side George Washington for independence and a constitution that said "all men are created equal". What did they get? Hypocrisy.
10% of the total Northern Army was made up or African-Americans during the Civil War. Their enlistment rates we almost 80%. Lincoln promised a "new birth of freedom". What did African American's get? Jim Crowe.
African-Americans fought in World War II. Helping to restore liberty to Europe. Imagine being treated as an equal in Paris and then coming home and being segregated as if nothing happened.
Add in Korea, and Vietnam for good measure.
For a century they fought for the moral/intellectual high ground. They fought for civil rights within Jim Crowe in a peaceful way under MLK.
By 2008 - they put their hopes into democracy. How American is that?
Obviously I don't share Obama's politics; but he fought against the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression. He saved Detroit. He saved the white-dominated establishment of banking. His cabinet has been anything but racially diverse. This practicality made him a pariah of the liberal wing of his party; and he was attacked immediately by the far right.
I ask the reader, for a moment, to remove the color of man who is whiter than I am.
And I ask the reader to imagine - despite his politics - a White House family that has had to face "lax" secret service, while never publicly complaining.
I also know one thing. Obama was the first president since Eisenhower to win two elections by historical electoral landslides.
Don't we owe him his fair share of presidential respect?
If a half-black president who graduated from Harvard Law School and was the President of Harvard's Law Review, who won two presidential electoral landslides, is under such attack ... what chance to other African Americans have in this country?
Another 100 years of disappointment?
Sadly, if history is any guide, the answer is almost certainly yes.
April 18, 2015
President Obama - during his lame-duck status - had to blink on the Iranian nuclear deal. He allowed Congress to review and monitor the deal and they will have the final say on whether or not to lift sanctions.
GOP presidential candidates are promising it will never become law.
I happen to agree with the GOP on this Iranian deal. What I find unprecedented is this final indignity for this sitting president.
Nixon signed an arms control agreement with the Soviet Union and a recognition of China with no congressional problem after he was being investigated for Watergate.
Reagan signed a number of agreements with Gorbachev while being investigated for Iran-Contra.
Clinton was active with Kosovo while facing the possibility of being impeached.
I don't care about Obama's politics. Obviously I am a Republican. But I do find his behavior in office sparkling clean. He and the first family have never once tarnished the image of the White House.
So it just seems ... well unprecedented ... or prejudicial that during his lame duck period of his presidency - where foreign policy is the only thing he can do - to not get from Congress, what other's got when they were under investigation.
April 15, 2015
Lest anyone forgets my clumsy "Onion Rule" - parody is a leading indicator - let's observe what the current zeitgeist is for Hillary Clinton running for president.
Go to www.theonion.com. They get to the heart of the matter in written words.
Here is the problem with the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Hillary you lost in 2008 when you had a chance. Now you expect everyone to hand it to you 8 years later?
For what? For "oops I fell and couldn't get up so I couldn't testify in a timely manner on Benghazi"? For I logged frequent flier miles as Secretary of State, but didn't have a single foreign policy accomplishment or any foreign policy roadmap?
Time is not our friend. Hillary, you are making a Reagan-age-breaking, bet. I'm sorry. But I remember Ronald Reagan. And you are not Reagan.
Where's the Kool-Aid? Obama beat you because he came out with a new flavor and people drank it. You you lost to Obama because your Kool-Aid was Tang-like; aged and couldn't help anyone swallow it. Obama was NutraSweet. You were Saccharin.
2008 was a change-election; a country that had tired from wars and was in deep financial problems. Only historians, when I am dead, are going to remember that Obama exited the wars and the economy recovered slowly.
2016 is going to be a change-election. Fair on not; but Obama's Kool-Aid has worn off. People are looking for something different.
Which begs the question - why are you running anyways? Like it or not, but the leading indicators are clear. You are running because your favorite person is YOU.
April 12, 2015
We are coming up to the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination. Republicans, President Obama, Doris Kearns and Ken Burns like to say he was the greatest president in US history.
Like JFK - Lincoln's presidency - rose to mythical proportions after his assassination. Both presidents became marble men; forever frozen by their last pictures and forever frozen as martyrs. Forgotten was they were both polarizing; with many in the country harboring deep hatred.
But it's another president who was propelled into office by assassination - Theodore Roosevelt - that should be most admired and used as lesson for 2016 presidential election candidates.
Today, the distinction between the two major parties, is liberalism vs. conservatism.
TR's presidency and core beliefs form an important, timely and breakout political plank: progressiveness.
I don't think I am very unique. I am a social liberal or more preciously a social libertarian. And I am a financially conservative.
But I do believe that the federal government has a part to play in business and ensuring the US has a plan for the long-run.
TR was a Republican progressive. Roosevelt called his domestic policies a "Square Deal", promising a fair deal to the average citizen while breaking up monopolistic corporations, holding down railroad rates, and guaranteeing pure food and drugs.
TR maybe talked softly but carried a big stick; but he never engaged in one single war.
TR saw the value in maintaining the remnants of the US West by conservation and greatly expanded the US's national parks and forests.
Finally TR, had the big picture in mind, when ordered the construction of the Panama Canal and guarded it.
TR was not a 21st century liberal or conservative. He was uniquely a 20th century progressive, with no 21st century contemporary.
Ask any Democrat or Republican their attitude on big banks and big business and there is the common ground of disdain and hopelessness. Ask any Democrat or Republican, if Washington is focused on ensuring a better long-term future for the country and there is a similar disdain and hopelessness. Ask both about conducting in costly wars abroad. Similar common ground.
In short, what unites people of both parties, is a common belief in small business, fairness, cost of war fatigue and a fear of substituting short-term political decisions instead of making long-term decisions to ensure American exceptionalism for the 21st century.
In a word, they want a federal government, that is progressive.
No one has yet picked up on this third unused leg of American politics. And the one that does; will have a chance to breakout and become this nation's 45th president.
April 11, 2015
Jamie Dimon is Chairman, President and CEO of JP Morgan. The first time I saw him in person was at the opening of the Chicago Goodman Theatre. He had just become the CEO of Bank One. At the time, he was the rock star of Chicago CEOs. He gave a speech in the theatre to thousands of people. He was god-like. I was just a spectator.
My brother, when he calls me at work, leaves a famous name, with my executive assistants and some made up telephone number. Over the top famous. That's how I know my brother called me.
In 2005, he left a message "to call Jamie Dimon back". I was busy and didn't get around to calling my brother back.
A few weeks later, I got a call from one of my investors. My assistant knew I would take their calls immediately. He said "Jamie Dimon is pissed you haven't called him back". What?
Then I remembered. We were interviewing investment bankers. And he was now in charge of JP Morgan and Bank One. Apparently he was making the "CEO" call to help his bankers secure our business.
So I called the number my investor gave me to Jamie Dimon. His assistant piped me immediately to Jamie. I profusely apologized for not returning his call.
Then I told him about my brother's prank. He laughed like any normal person would. And all was forgotten.
What I failed to realize, was Jamie Dimon wasn't some deity. Just a CEO trying to help out his team. After that, I lost all sense of being awed by famous people. They are famous because they are good at what they do. But they are not famous because they are particularly special human beings.
My Jamie Dimon story wasn't just funny; it taught me a valuable lesson.
April 9, 2015
I am not sure that advertising has caught up with age demographics and buying habits.
Back in the day, we wanted clothes and music, totally different from our parents.
But today mothers and daughters and fathers and sons have the same taste in legal consumables.
I call this the "Gap Affect". It could be called the "Banana Republic Affect'. Or the "Lucky Jeans and Buckle Affect". There is not longer a schism in what each generation wears.
Music? My parents grew up on white rock and roll. My first album was Stevie Wonder. I liked R&B and Jazz when I was young. By the 1980's. I was totally into the British Wave and Hair Bands. By the 1990's I switched to hip-hop and grunge. After the turn of the century, with the exception of Linkin Park, everything sounded to me like Cheap Trick. So I went with it. And my kids introduced me to new bands and there was little disagreement.
The business insight is this: I don't think 1960s demographic groups make sense anymore. Today's 40 is yesterday's 30. Today's 50 is yesterday's 40. I see three generations in concerts and stores at a time.
Got a product to sell? Unless it is high-end (meaning all generations are not going to buy it); don't worry about age demographics. It's a legacy term that has no meaning today.
April 8, 2015
I am pulling for Wisconsin tonight against Duke. The following are the reasons why -
1. I have lived in Wisconsin both in the 1990s and the 2000s.
2. All of my doctors, banks and business partners continue to hail from Wisconsin.
3. Wisconsin is such a role model for Big Ten teams. They have run their basketball and football program successfully, with integrity and doing it with little-to-no freshman one-season-and-done, such as Kentucky.
4. Wisconsin has the right system. Bringing players in who have not reached their potential - allows them to be experience-deep - and for the players to be taught and to develop.
In closing, I am putting my Wisconsin hat on tonight. And I don't think I am alone. We are all Wisconsin fans tonight.
April 6, 2015