Jacques Cousteau

Jacques Cousteau was a fixture of my youth.  We usually argued over what we would watch on TV in the evenings, but there weren’t any arguments when The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau was on.  I wanted scuba gear the way, I suppose, some teenagers wanted a car.  When I was 15 my Dad surprised me and my brother with two sets of US Divers gear, including the brand new 80 cubic feet aluminum tanks.  My brother and I got certified went on checkout dives and would takes the car off to Florida for dive trips with pals.  Our favorite was the jetties in Panama City Beach, in St. Andrews State Park.  Hard to believe Jacques Cousteau has been dead 20 years. I wonder if my kids even know who he is.  Anyway, ran across this long article written in the 1990s but only now published for the first time.  From the Daily Beast.

Explorer, Eco-Warrior, Spy: The Battles of Jacques Cousteau

Farm Bailout Hits $28B

From Bloomberg Businessweek.  The farm Bailout is now twice the size of the auto bailout after the 2008 financial crisis.  Remember that this farm crisis is self-inflicted and was never part of a vote by Congress or any legislative body.  Just the president declaring a “Trade War” on China. One also has to wonder how that money is being spent.  How much goes to big argibusiness and how much to small farmers?

Here in Austin, property taxes are coming due again with big jumps in the urban areas (my own property value assessment went up over 50% this year).  I wondered how much this property tax heavy state relies on revenue from the ‘blue’ cities like Austin, Houston and Dallas to support the rural ‘red’ parts of the state that seem to have all the political power.  Seems like this is a national trend too.  Funny system when you look at it that way.  I remember an old quote someplace about taxation without representation.

Trump’s $28 Billion Bet That Rural America Will Stick With Him

 

Glowing Scorpions

Mentioned the guys at the Biltmore in Arizona searching for Scorpions with black light flashlights (Arizona Drop Off).  Went and bought my own UV LED flashlight and went looking for scorpions. Up until now, no luck.  Last night I found one in the closet downstairs and caught him and had a look under the UV light.  Glows like some sort of toy scorpion.  The UV light seems to have confused my phone camera.  It looked much cooler in real life.

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Mower Pollution

A long time ago I read that your lawnmower could produce more pollution than your car.  At first this didn’t sound right, because lawnmower engines are so small.  But they are unregulated and don’t have all the sophisticated pollution control equipment of autos.  The article Cleaner Air : Gas Mower Pollution Facts says a mower produces 11x the pollution of a car.  I believe it.  The good news is I see lots of new electric and battery powered mowers at the stores.  Things like this can make a big difference.  So before you rush out and buy that Tesla, get a new mower!   Electrics are quieter, too.  Next big change should be heavy equipment used at construction sites.

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Fredericksburg Trip

Went on a little day trip to Fredericksburg to check out the wineries and take the Poodle for a ride.  He hasn’t been in the car much so we thought we would try to get him used to going places with us. Even bought him a little doggie stroller.  He is old and probably can’t keep up with us.

Hadn’t been out this way in a while.  Lots of new wineries and just lots of new development just about everywhere.  Stopped at Baron Creek vineyards that has four Tesla Chargers.  Had lunch at Hondo’s on Main.  Stopped at the National Museum of the Pacific War that had a surprisingly nice Japanese garden.  Drove the long home way to try and miss Austin traffic.  Lots of development out west of town toward Lakeway.  Not a bad day.