Economic development in Nevada County must address what many of us see as the three legs of the county’s existing economy – IT based industry, tourism, and retirees. Absent public service employees, these are the three main cash importers. There are initiatives in place to attract more IT companies through increased broadband availability and a new business incubator in the plans.
But not much is being done to boost the other two areas. (Yesterday’s NC Bike Race Classic was a sad commentary on tourism.) Additionally, aging retirees who want to downsize from their big houses on acres of land are forced to seek their next abodes elsewhere (quality condos, smaller houses in protected neighborhoods, variable care communities, …). Tourism is suffering because we don’t have enough quality beds at reasonable prices to attract more weekend visitors who want to attend evening performances from our rich palette of cultural offerings – Music in the Mountains, In Concert Sierra, Center for the Arts, theaters, the fairground, … .
People driving up here from the flats would rather have a nice dinner, attend a performance (or two), perhaps enjoy an after dinner libation, and then hit the sack instead of driving two plus hours, tired and three sheets to the wind, to get back home. They would much rather wake up refreshed, have a good breakfast or brunch, and then be on their way. The boost to our economy that such a weekend agenda would provide, multiplied a thousand times, is not hard to imagine. Another decent hotel or two, and a proper performance center would fit the bill nicely.
But in addition to the intrinsic financial risks that such projects normally entail, our county and cities add on their own regulatory and procedural burdens as recently pointed by our RL Bob Crabb in the nearby cartoon filched from The Union. Our electeds deny all this by putting the onus on those dumb and good-for-nothing outsiders who are not bellying up to the Planning Department counters with their project plans. But reality advises otherwise, Nevada County’s ‘development friendly’ reputation is known far and wide. And without our chambers of commerce and planning jurisdictions actively simplifying the development processes, and then inviting people to come up here and see the opportunities, nothing much more will happen in these woods. Tourists won’t come and retirees will continue to leak out at greater than replacement rates.
Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is in the news again with the Pope’s controversial encyclical and the next UN global warming conference in the fall. Here on RR the debate between the Skeptics and True Believers has revived in spades to the point where one reader (True Believer) has challenged another reader (Skeptic) to a public debate in which the TB promises to maximally embarrass the Skeptic, presumably by exposing the Skeptic’s case allegedly based on both weak science and a fundamental misunderstanding of the involved science. Here are my two cents on this challenge.
The problem is that the TB has no technical credentials and bases his belief in AGW on politically sponsored reports, at least twice removed, that cite discredited datasets, ignore major areas of science impacting earth’s climate, and evince profound ignorance about the design, care, and feeding of complex climate models (the so-called General Circulation Models, GCMs). At the same time the Skeptic is a scientifically read and astute engineer, fully credentialed with multiple degrees that attest his technological pedigree. I began thinking about the conduct of such a media reported/recorded debate, and who would derive what profit from it. The bottom line is that I couldn’t think of any way that such a debate between those two would shed useful light on the issue, or in any way contribute toward a resolution of it in the minds of its most likely audience.
This conclusion is abetted when we consider the TB’s more complete resume that includes being a well-practiced and rehearsed activist for almost all the leftwing causes and initiatives that have made California into the taxed, regulated, indebted, and economic basket case that it is today. The TB will have no alternative but to spout today’s made-simple for broad, unread audiences, and politicized ‘consensus science’. And the Skeptic will be forced to take his refuting arguments to the next technical levels where few, if any, will be able to follow – all the while the TB baselessly disparaging every one of those arguments in a manner that elicits uncritical nodding heads among the gruberized, and leaves the others numb. Everyone knows that such audiences have been meticulously prepared to either ignore or mistrust all uncomfortable and confrontational arguments about AGW aka global warming aka climate change.
What’s more disturbing is that the entire True Believer society has for some time been quite comfortable with the way their message has massaged the masses. Team Gore, to their strategic credit, even refuses to put their best scientists on a stage with skeptical scientists to discuss the evidence in front of a technically knowledgeable audience. While the skeptics contend every emerging piece of IPCC’s evidence for AGW in its detail, their arguments are summarily ignored. The only recognition of the Skeptics is a vague reference to them as ‘Climate Change Deniers’, or worse, ‘Climate Deniers’, inferring the existence of a discredited knuckle-dragging, flat earth bunch howling in the wings.
And the saddest part for our overall body politic is that such debates are now beyond the pale for many other socially important issues that relate to numbers and/or science. And, of course, they all do. My conclusion is that polarized dumbth (q.v.) has reached a level in the land such that only slogans shouted across the chasm serve as an acceptable substitute for dialogue.
[23jun15 update] The topic of saving the world’s sovereign nation-states and distinct, regionally anchored cultures has long been a topic of debate and discussion on RR. The EU is now in the throes of attempting to reconcile a good-sounding but poorly thought theory of how manage fractional or partial sovereignty. And the problem comes down to the question of what is a border. It turns out that having complete control of your borders is fundamental to a people’s self-determination. Europe is rediscovering that now, and we (at least the progressive ‘we’) in America don’t have a clue. A strongly recommended read on this is ‘What Borders Mean to Europe’ by Stratfor’s George Friedman. The piece is like a periscope into our own future, a future that is already underway.
[27jun15 update] In the late 00s I talked Jo Ann into letting me become a student pilot. Reluctantly she gave permission (which I still don’t have for riding a motorcycle) and I started my lessons at Alpine Aviation under the tutelage of owner Gordon Mills. Anyway, I progressed appropriately and on a sunny day soloed – three takeoffs and landings, followed by a longer 'victory lap' solo flight over these Sierra foothills, especially beautiful when you’re alone in the airplane. The cross country phase of training followed with my taking the occasional solo flights in the single-engine, low-wing Diamond DA-20.
In my defense contractor days I was privileged to work with men I consider to be the best pilots in the world – carrier based, light attack – these guys (gals?) fly their F-18s so low as to occasionally get tree branches in their undercarriage. I worked with the squadrons at Lemoore (light attack) NAS and Whidbey Island (medium attack) NAS in the design of advanced in cockpit displays for successful penetration of complex sensor and SAM fields during target in/egress. From my naval aviator colleagues I learned about ‘OK-3’ carrier landings – tailhooking the third of four arresting cables that puts your aircraft in the optimum spot on the deck for rapid repositioning, thereby allowing a tight final approach pattern to get returning fuel-starved aircraft quickly onboard with a minimum of fuss. The logged OK-3 landings on a pilot’s record were very important to good assignments, promotions, and general bragging rights within a talented, exclusive, yet very competitive comradery.
So during a solo flight on final to Nevada County KGOO’s 25 (runway), I decided to nail an OK-3 landing. I picked my precise touchdown point (where my ‘tailhook’ was going to snag the ‘#3 cable’) and set my glide path appropriately. Well guess what? your junior league aviator nailed the KO-3, but in so doing sacrificed my flare so that I touched down what might charitably be characterized as a mite hard – and porpoised, bouncing back in the air. When I brought that bucking DA-20 safely on the runway, I felt pretty red-faced knowing that someone else had probably seen that crappy landing and was grinning ear-to-ear.
Anyway, since landings have always been my favorite part of flying an airplane, I decided to taxi back, take-off again, go around the pattern, and redeem myself. This I did, but as I was making my take-off run, I noticed that the airplane somehow seemed to be underpowered. I was puzzled since the engine sounded normal as I lifted off after a longer than normal run and then went around. After landing again (no OK-3 this time) I taxied back to the Alpine hangar to report on my experience. Gordon came out and discovered that I had shredded six-inches of the propeller’s tips, which explained the weak performance of the aircraft on the second go around. Anyway, that turned out to be an expensive flight, but a valuable lesson in piloting.
I continued my flight training after that, but was convinced by a same-age friend who had abandoned his own flight training, that I should also reconsider going on with something for which I would have limited time in the future. The convincing argument, reinforced by Jo Ann, was that infrequent pilots who do not keep up their hours are a danger to themselves and others when they do climb into the cockpit as Pilot In Charge. The stats tell the story, especially for older flyers. So now I wistfully consider just going back and flying with an instructor on windy afternoons coming in on final in a steep forward-slip, then converting into a side-slip before touchdown. Fun stuff, even if it isn’t an OK-3.