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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Comment by Rudy V Kiist on November 26, 2009 at 8:49am
Couldn't agree with you more Ogden. Although, I personally don't feel informed enough to comment on Britain specifically, I understand there still are a few European countries doing O.K. (^_^)

Something I believe to be true that I've heard others say as well, "we have a system of capitalism/free enterprise for the common man and a welfare system for large corporations". If I ran a small successful independent corner store for 40 years and Walmart moved in next door and put me out of business, too bad for me. If that same Walmart were to start to go broke, it's "how much do you need?" Or to put it in more real terms, I wonder how many independent used car dealerships got bailout money during our latest "economic downturn"?
Comment by Ogden Lafaye on November 25, 2009 at 11:29pm
Rudy V Kiist, glad to know you are out there and PAYING ATTENTION. The chains ARE anathema to independence (individuals on a successful, contributing track)

I see it as an inevitable fall back position due to the excessive population. Our Western civilization does act on crisis and problem and it does so a lot faster than 3rd world countries. You have to give it that. Our governments do not let us sink into a quagmire in which we are virtually inextricable. Not to say the methods (chain supply) are beneficial to the overall citizen mindset.

Britain enjoys a bit of freedom from this phenomena in that almost all of its citizens are engaged in the smallish trades in some way buit even they are falling into the McDonalds trap.

I have been to most countries in the world and spent a lot of time just studying these very things you speak of as a rank, curious tourist.

I believe we need to centralize on a local basis which would involve discouraging interstate commerce.

The above sentence is an invitation and challenge for comment.

Comment by Rudy V Kiist on November 25, 2009 at 4:27pm
If I may jump in, I am one one of those very rare 41 year old who is doing well (with no debt and own my own place) and I will be the first to admit luck at a lot to do with it (^_^). Granted I had to know enough to take advantage of the situation (and you'd have to be pretty dense not to see it), so not all luck, but nevertheless the circumstances that lead up to that point were totally out of my control and very random.

And unfortunately times are very much changing on the business front. I like to use the small town in east-central AB I grew up in as an example. When I grew up there, 20 odd years ago, independent businesses made up almost the entire town of 5000 people. Today the whole town which has remained stagnant at the same 5,000 population is mostly chain stores now with the remaining independents falling one by one. Today, I think the successful person is the one who knows how to write the perfect resume.

Personally, I did the farmers market thing for a while and did O.K., and after getting to know the other vendors you find others doing O.K. as well but they aren't making the "big bucks" by any means. The media (as usual) has greatly exaggerated the "many" people willing to pay extra money for farm fresh product. In fact, I'd say they're about as common as an atheist (^_-)

Hard to compete when Safeway, Costco, etc., sell a dozen eggs at a 1/2 cent profit per dozen (I was in the egg/poultry industry too for awhile) and it's my understanding that carries over to most other products.
Comment by Ogden Lafaye on November 25, 2009 at 2:14pm
Comment by Ogden Lafaye on November 25, 2009 at 1:20pm
"Before I did what I must - now I do what I wish...Big Difference!!" ... Quite so.

I see opportunity everywhere and often stop to inquire...just curiosity got me to and into, a lot of very interesting places.

I remember going to a rather large flea market one weekend and I watched a woman selling house plants out of her van. She was doing an amazing business and sold out at the end of the weekend. So, I looked into the wholesale aspects of house plants. The phone burned but I eventually located the owner of a large operation that supplied plants to the chain supermarkets. I rented a large truck on a Saturday, stopped at a junk yard for pipe and bought 3500 plants, setting and hanging, for 85 cents each. I emptied the truck Saturday morning at the flea market, hired a "guard" for $10 and by 7:30 AM had returned the truck. By Sunday evening I was down to 100 plants which I gave to the vendors around me. I started at $5 for the larger plants and eventually got down to $1.00 each...I lived on those profits for over a year.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained is the lesson here. I wonder if anyone ever really listens to us Larry?
Comment by Ogden Lafaye on November 25, 2009 at 3:13am
And then again, maybe not.
Comment by Ogden Lafaye on November 25, 2009 at 3:11am
Well I long ago realized that all rivers flow to the sea and made peace then.

My journey is rich with experience and I have done all the things men say they will do and all the things I wanted to do.

My material possessions are suitable to my interests and needs and I cull constantly.

I built my home, depend on myself for most of my food and maintain all that I have well.

I have never used credit as it is known today. Everything is done with cash.

I believe that preparation meeting opportunity alleviates most risk. There is no such thing as luck.

As an engineer I know that a problem well defined is a problem solved and that the light of solutions past holds the answers to new, unexperienced problems.

I never worked very much for others and when I did I saved it all. In my retirement I am a successful day trader but then I seem to be also busy with all the things I have always done in life. So maybe I have not retired but have essentially given up the wanderlust, the priviations and unwarranted trust of others.

I think I will go buy a new car.
Comment by Ogden Lafaye on November 25, 2009 at 2:36am
Larry L. I like your last two true, so true.

Yes time can be factored in...I made some allusions to that regarding formation through extinction but you point it up nicely.

I do think the probability of intelligent species on numerous planets corresponding to our intelligence level insofar as the ability to communicate, is quite high.

I fully expect many would seem miraculous to us as would a computer to a 16th century nobleman.

When you are speaking of trillions of planets possible, then our one planet being reality, makes the case for others. I can't imagine us as being the only intelligent, developed people on one of trillions. I mean boink boink, that opens the door for GodDidIt...laughter

I do know however that should we finally meet an intelligent alien, you and I and all the events that surround us on either side for 100's of thousands of years will be completely lost and obliterated by time.
Comment by Ogden Lafaye on November 25, 2009 at 12:37am
At my age, 70 years old, I have discovered you can't recall all that you have ever read but you can successfully collate data and come to rather accurate conclusions. My son, being a fundamentalist Christian of the worst sort will trip me up on something like radio-carbon dating, not realizing that I have read more about it (being an engineer) than he will ever realize exists...and in all this reading I instinctually understand what they are doing and why it is fact and can apply this data to the problem at hand with equanimity. My son the fundamentalist, wants urls, "Proof" and word for word explanations and he wants me to supply them.

If this is what someone wants from me, I suggest they get off the sofa and look it all up themselves. Check back with us in 15 or 20 years. Me? I did my time at the library table years ago and now I am enjoying and applying the knowledge...not to mention speculative conversations...laughter.
Comment by Ogden Lafaye on November 25, 2009 at 12:28am
Delie Ives had an interesting insight but, no, I don't believe it will apply. They (intelligent life other than) will generally live in the same time scheme we do.

As to inserting "possibility" into my thoughts is fine with me, I assumed everyone else was familiar with the present ideas of scientists that no intelligent life in the universe other than us was "Highly Improbable". The retort will probably be "What kind of scientists?"

Moving on...There are almost certainly planets just getting their start today and in 15 to 25 billion years may be almost identical to earth. There are others whose star is in its twilight years and life as they know it is coming to a close. But it is quite reasonable to assume that there are also millions of habitable planets that have developed and support intelligent life. Not to say that they are humanlike and then again, that is also in the cards.

As to communicating...seeing as how I am postulating planets quite similiar to earth's makeup, then I assure you, we will be able to communicate. Water is water and numbers are part of the development of intelligence. Intelligence is and if you read any science fiction, rest assured that a large amount of it will come to pass and we are not talking anything very complicated other than what stage of progression the intelligence is situated in.

The dolphin crowd has lost steam simply because dolphins are not of an intelligence level or composition that could ever come up with a computer or telephone. Too far removed from our evolution whereas apes are and have been demonstrated to be able to develop speech and use it to communicate with us. Give them a few more 10's of millions of years. Snakes birds etc...never in this earth's lifetime left. Beasts of the field? 100's of millions of years.

So, we may be talking to something that looks like a water buffalo with tattoos or even a large brained feathered friend but rest assured, we will be talking to a comparable intelligence level to ours, give or take by 100 million or two years.

The damndest thing is that we couldn't travel there in a respectable amount of time at present and so far the skepticism regarding faster-than-light-travel prevails (sans SciFi I grant you) but then again, the universe and all around us is stranger than we can imagine.

All my rambling boils down to this: The elements we have discovered on earth will be present in their entirety on all other planets created in the same manner ours was. This most certainly was from complete chaos and the temperatures, gravities, pressures and attractions our earth separated from are "de rieguer". Although aggregate planet like and dead satellites, asteroids etc. might have life, it will almost certainly have originated elsewhere. Water is a given in all scenarios.

Anyone ever read Issac Asimovs short story on water? When you begin to understand how complicated, foreign and unknowable water is to scientists in this modern age, you will begin to understand how intrinsic we are to the universe.

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