Is the World a Safe Place?

More and more studies are showing that how you answer that question will accurately determine whether you are a Republican or a Democrat. If you accept that as a given, then we are in a very scary point in history, because I can’t imagine anyone or anything that would make any of us change your mind about how we answer that question.

If you think the world is not a safe place, well, then, it wouldn’t be very safe for you to change your mind, now, would it? On the other hand, if you think it is a safe place, then you are more flexible about new concepts, new knowledge, new ways of seeing the world and the way we choose to live in it, and I can’t imagine anything making you give that up, either.

Think about this from a political standpoint. If the world isn’t safe, then immigrants can’t be trusted and should be walled off. Vaccinations can’t be trusted. We should stick with age-old traditions. Gender roles should remain rigid. We should all have guns. These are all political issues that stem from our worldviews.

This article, entitled A new theory for why Republicans and Democrats see the world differently, by Ezra Klein, spells this out in much more detail. It’s a fascinating, though frustrating read.

And once you’ve read that, hop on over to take this intriguing test. It consists of 27 questions that have nothing to do with politics, but your answers will quite accurately predict your politics regardless. It’s pretty much based on the same theory, only it determines one’s level of disgust. And that’s a little scary, don’t you think? (The results said that my brain is 74 percent Democrat. That’s because the only thing that disgusts me to any degree at present is the current administration. I’m surprised that I didn’t show up as 110 percent Democrat. Still…)

So, if the way we all see the safety of the world isn’t likely to change, and if it’s true that that pretty much spells out our political party, then that means we can count on being polarized from here on out. Because we’re already polarized. That means that this divisiveness and gridlock will be nearly impossible to get past. In essence, nothing of note will ever get done.

That makes me tired. And it makes me sad. But I’m really glad to be in the group that sees the world as a basically safe place. It must be terrifying to think otherwise.

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Don’t Be Idle

I’d love to think I was preaching to the choir here. Truly I would. But even in Seattle, where we have probably the most concentrated population of environmentally concerned people in America, as well as what is arguably some of the nation’s worst gridlock, I see it all the time. Idling cars.

A lot of people will tell you that you use more gas starting your car than you do by just idling the engine. They have no idea what they’re talking about. According to this article by the Environmental Defense Fund, if you will be idling for more than 10 seconds, it is a great deal more fuel efficient to turn your engine off.

ARE YOU LISTENING????

This is my pet peeve. People idling their cars while waiting for my drawbridge to open. Idling at railroad crossings. Idling at the bank drive through. Idling in line at McDonalds. It makes me want to scream. If organizations are truly concerned about the environment, they should post signs at their drive throughs: “Turn off your engine. Idling pollutes!”

So, one more time, so the people in the nosebleed seats can hear me: It will save you money on gas, reduce the toxic emissions that get released into the atmosphere, and is, in fact, better for your car’s engine if you DO NOT IDLE!!!!!!

Please spread the word. This is something all of us can do.

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Shipping Container Chic

No doubt about it. Seattle is booming. The city bird should be the construction crane. Despite the astonishing number of buildings being erected, contractors can barely keep up with the housing demand.

Because of this, landlords know they can basically charge whatever they like in rent. According to Rent Jungle, as of May 2015, the average apartment rent within 10 miles of Seattle was $1853. One bedroom apartments rent for $1501 on average, and two bedroom apartment rents average $2015 per month.

This, to me, is obscene, but it gets worse. Since it obviously is quite profitable to own apartment buildings in this town, they’re cropping up like mushrooms overnight. And they’re being built as cheaply as possible, with little or no regard for aesthetics.

There’s an architectural trend in this city that I like to call “Shipping Container Chic” because these buildings look like your basic metal shipping containers, stacked one on top of the other, and the apartments themselves have about that much charm. And half the time no allowances are being made for parking, which is adding to Seattle’s gridlock.

The proliferation of this style means that this city is getting uglier by the minute, but apparently that’s okay, because, by God, it’s profitable. If this keeps up, the whole area will harken back to Communist era housing, with a little bit of colored paint thrown in as an afterthought. What ever happened to style and variety? Ugh.

Shipping5 Shipping Shipping3