"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

Henry D. Thoreau

 

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Tuesday
Feb202018

Legalizing Marijuana

Recently, with the imminent legalization of marijuana, there was a presentation in Steinbach on the medical uses for marijuana. Many people have obtained relief from a variety of symptoms when using marijuana where conventional drugs have had little or no effect. It is a very interesting subject and we, the public, have a lot to learn. Cannabis is the proper botanical term for the plant genus, while marijuana refers to any species that provides pharmacological effects. Hemp is the term used for the agricultural varieties that are grown by farmers for fibre and seed. Traditionally rope has been made of hemp fibres and currently one can buy hempseed oil or straight hemp seeds that are very beneficial health-wise.

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Wednesday
Feb142018

Oil is a Scarce Resource

Tar sands in alberta 2008Building a country or a region's economy on the extraction of a resource is fool hardy. A resource extracted is gone! It is no longer there! Inevitably payday will come, maybe not within our lifetime, maybe not within our children's lifetime, but it will come. True, by the time that resource is extracted, there may be new technology that reduces our need for that particular resource, but those who believe that have an extraordinary amount of faith in human ingenuity. Surely it is better to avoid building an economy on resource extraction if at all possible.

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Thursday
Feb082018

Water into Wine

“Beer is proof that God exists and wants us to be happy”. You may have heard that cheeky quotation attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but it isn’t quite accurate. According to The Yale Book of Quotations (2006), Franklin actually wrote this in a letter to Abbe Morellet: “We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana, as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!”

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Tuesday
Jan302018

We are Starting to Know Ourselves

Jonathan Haidt 2012 03We certainly know more about our physical world now than we did 10,000 years ago. It is incredible to see what we now know that we didn’t know even 100 years ago.

 However we know a whole lot less about ourselves, Homo sapiens. We are just now starting to get results of our long term explorations into knowing ourselves. Yuval Noah Harari gives a good overview of what we know in his recent book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. I found this to be an excellent and insightful read.

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Thursday
Jan252018

The Inclusive Development Index

The World Economic Forum holds an event at Davos Switzerland every year. This is an invite-only event, and brings together the rich and “successful” people of this world. This year's event has just been completed. Both Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau gave speeches there. It was possible to follow the Forum on-line. There is much there to give food for thought.

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