America’s Wild Rivers Coast

One of the reasons I really love to live in Oregon is the Oregon Coast. “America’s Wild Rivers Coast” is a regional branding effort to point out the beauty and attractions of the southern part of the Oregon Coast and the northernmost part of California’s coast.     I spent many years working with the Southern Oregon Visitors Association “SOVA”  to help define the entire Southern Oregon region from the coast to Lake County and generally believe that’s a better approach than slicing and dicing things even smaller (as the individual counties, cities, and attractions tend to do – usually to limited effect) but the concept of a “Wild Rivers Coast” is certainly cool and totally appropriate for this amazing stretch of coastline.

We are here at the Sand Castle, a beautiful house in the Breaker House Vacation Rental’s excellent family of vacation rentals. . Just north of Gold Beach and on the beach.

Although it offers some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in … the world … Southern Oregon and Northern California are isolated enough that they do not get the press of, say, the central and Southern California Coast or even the northern parts of Oregon. All fine coastlines of course, but to really understand the American West you’ll want to travel the entire length of the coast to get a sense of the remarkable diversity of scenery and even history and cultures, as you move from the strong Spanish influence of San Diego through the Native American heritage and whaling history of northern California and Southern Oregon to the Lewis and Clark story in northern Oregon.

Obama’s ONE mistake may be his ONLY mistake, but it’s still a BIG mistake.

How is Obama doing?   I remain a big fan of how Obama has approached international diplomacy, basically speaking softly without putting down the carrots and big stick that America probably needs to wield to avoid international meltdowns.   (We could do this carrot and stick work much more cheaply using more carrots and less sticks with new school technology, media,  marketing and innovation, but that’s another post).

In fact it is hard to imagine what Obama critics would be saying if  Obama had actually failed at something (aside from massive spending, a very legit concern.   But spending cuts require BOTH  entitlement and military cuts first, and that’s not going to happen because neither right or left will accept smart spending.     That Government that spends best, spends least.    There are few if any exceptions, and all the founders are rolling in graves right now as they note how bureacratic insanity has inflated budgets to unsustainable levels. Yet the Tea Partiers fret over the trivial spending on stupid things and ignore the massive waste, fraud, and abuses within our 550 billion annual defense budget – clearly the obvious target for massive reforms since it does NOT sustain infrastructure, it only (theoretically) protects it.

The Obama Record:   Obviously too early to say but the results so far are remarkable:

* Economy stabilizing after potential catastrophe.

* Most banks to repay all bailout money (a story that should be headlines, but does not suit the naive agendas of tea partiers, left wing, or even mainstream folks. Geitner’s plan is not completed, but appears to have been masterful.

* No major terror attacks in US or even internationally.

* Iraq improving.

* Afghanistan unclear, but early signs of improvement.

Aside from the very important and reasonable criticism that we may have simply bought our way out of all this with massive spending, what’s the beef of the critics?     They predicted economic collapse and international terror at unprecedented levels.   We’ve had neither.   Obama’s doing fine.

We should have worked harder to balance current federal and state budgets with massive military and entitlement cuts, but the Tea Party raving fringe combines with the Democratic spendthrifts and won’t allow that obvious solution.

Without massive military spending cuts, we have a completely unsustainable spending pattern. Until the fools that pretend to be conservative recognize this totally obvious fact, the US remains economically challenged.

P.S.  Sorry kids, my generation is spending your money.   A lot of it you’ll have to repay with huge future taxes and/or massive inflation.   And you don’t even know it.   Cya.

Climate Common Sense: Adapt

Another wonderfully insightful, common sense, non-alarmist discussion from Bjorn Lomborg in his “Cars, Bombs, and Climate Change

If we are to have a constructive dialogue about the smartest policy responses to global warming, we need to replace our fixation on far-fetched, Armageddon scenarios with realism about the true costs of dealing with this challenge.

Following are MY views, not Lomborg’s:

It’s clear to me that we have probably never seen in the history of science so much officially sanctioned alarmist nonsense as we have with climate change.   It’s not that there is no threat – there is a threat – it’s just that the climate issues  are very likely of less consequence than far more pressing catastrophic issues such as nuclear proliferation, possible economic collapse, and most importantly poverty and health conditions in many parts of the developing world – conditions that will at least in the short term require fossil fuels to help.

Perhaps even more importantly it’s absurd to think that China will “go along” with the developed world with respect to CO2 reductions.   They won’t and it’s naive to think this will change with any types of political pressure.

THEREFORE, we need to be thinking of ways to do the following:

1. Help solve pressing issues such as our own economic challenges, global instability, and continued massive poverty in undeveloed regions.    Working to modify some crazy trade barriers is a good start as well as strategic redirection of defense spending to actually provide for our defense rather than raise the stakes as so far has been done during the Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama war spending sprees (in fairness Obama cannot yet be blamed for his massive spending.   His new policies may work or they may not – we don’t have enough data.  I would argue that the policies of the past failed to achieve a positive return on the massive investments).

More about military spending … later …

In the meantime we need to be adapting to climate change.   Luckily that’s not all that difficult.    Today I have already adapted to a temperature change of  about 50 degrees F.      Since the best estimates of global warming say we’ll have about a HUNDREDTH  of that temperature change happening in the next decade , I’m pretty sure I can keep the family alive.    If you want suggestions just send a self addressed stamped envelope to “Joe’s Climate Advice”, Talent, Oregon.

The Multiverse Redux Redux Redux

The rumors are true, and they are jaw dropping.     Mainstream physics is moving ever closer to describing the universe as an infinite number of *other* universes, all of which are out of our own frame of reference.    Like any sane person it’s hard to digest this concept of a multiverse, but it is consistent with observations and theories in physics, and the idea is gaining a lot of traction in the mainstream physics community:

the multiverse has developed rapidly from a being merely a speculative idea to a theory verging on respectability. There are good reasons why. Several strands of theoretical physics – quantum mechanics, string theory and cosmic inflation – seem to converge on the idea that our universe is only one among an infinite and ever-growing assemblage of disconnected bubble universes.

Thanks to my pal Roy for sending this NEW SCIENTIST Article I’m still trying to digest about an approach to measuring the metaverse, an important step if the idea is to move from speculation to strong scientifically verifiable reality.      I think as with some other  notions that hinge in part on the theory of relativity it may be necessary to accept the following:

…for physics to make sense, you must restrict your description of the universe to what a single observer can see. It’s a profoundly different approach from the old idea that we can describe the entire universe from an observerless, God’s-eye-view.

Business Power of Social Media cannot be overstated

I was watching a brief “internet marketing” bit suggesting how small businesses were spending too much money (! ?) on social media efforts when they should be focusing on their websites and using social media primarily to drive people to their sites.     I winced at this, feeling that the opposite advice is probably better advice.  I tell folks to focus on social media and use websites to drive potential customers to …. YOU…. or to Twitter or Facebook or email exchanges where they can interact with the business in the kinds of ways that don’t just make a customer – they make a LOYAL customer.     Social media allows people to engage in the most virtuous business cycle – where customers and businesses develop a relationship based on mutual trust, respect, value, and quality.

The internet has always been more about PEOPLE than about TECHNOLOGY, but only recently has it allowed so much vibrant interactivity between many people in simple, fun venues.

Of course as with many pieces of bad advice, there’s is some truth to what the marketing consultant was saying about fretting over your website more than most small businesses do .   Small Businesses should work hard to make sure their websites do a good job of serving their customers, converting to sales, and presenting their business in a very positive light.

However, social media is – at long last – the pure intersection of customers with the people at the business  and for that reason you can’t overstate how important social media can be to a small business, especially because it’s an incredibly *efficient* way to do what most great and smart small businesses do a lot of – talking to customers.

Don’t agree?    Cool, just Twitter me about it, leave a comment here, or email me.   It’s an online social cornucopia and no business or idea needs to be left behind anymore.