In case you are CBA (Confused By Acromnyms) Rhot is Rants, Humour, and Other Things. This is where I will post some of the ideas that rot on my brain as I ride down the road and partake in other activities.
Quit asking me ‘where are you from?’ revisited (putting one of my soapboxes ontop of a couple ted talks)
A few months ago a special friend who has seen my disdain for this question first hand, sent me this:
The speaker brings up many great points starting with the irrelevance and inaccuracy of the question in question and gives a few examples. I like her solution that if you want to know about a person you should ask them a question about what defines them (where do you come from has less and less relevant to answering this as more people move around the globe) and she points out that people have little relations to the idea of nation states what has only been with us for a few hunderd years and we are defined in large part by her 3 r’s – rituals, relations and restrictions. She does well define and associate these with class and enviorment but then she relates it back to a physical location usually a city. This does little to help one like me despite my suburban Toronto youth I don’t associate well with that city. Nor do I associate myself with any place I have lived …I do associate periods of my life with these places. It is not that I don’t associate myself with anything… but generally they are communties centered around the activities I do, like; bicycle racers, bicycle messengers, athletes, travelers, technicians, nerds, misfits, photographers. These communities are not locked by borders. If I define a cyclist as someone who choses bicycle over other forms of transport and or someone who finds pleasure in riding and they are likely my friend because of this commonality it doesn’t matter if I’m in Autrailia, Beijing, Trexlertown or Zagreb the relation remains the same. If we do indeed need to ask something along these lines, maybe what community(s) do you belong to would be best… the respondant could even include a geographic location or an ethnicity or two amongst their communities, if they wished…. then the only problem remaining is their acceptance of their answer.
while watching that I found this:
Pico starts with pointing out the ambiguity of the question where do you come from? -where you live, where you were born and or raised, where you want to be (since transit has become cheap and safe inthe last 200 years these are not necessarily the same place. He uses himself as an example; a man of Indian descent, who was rased in the UK but lived most of his life in the USA and really want’s to be in Japan. Now imagine my confusion when someone asks me the same being descended from atleast twice as many places, having distant relatationships in 55 countries and not really fiting in anywhere unless on a bike or behind a camera. Then top it off that none of thes places means very much to you.And to top it off 25% think you’re a liar or are left un satisified with your answer for what ever reason.
Having dismissed ‘where do you come from’, he then brings in a better question ‘where is home?’ A few people have approached me with that question- mostly in India (where Pico’s ancestors are from) – regardless of where they are from onlly a handful were comfortable with my answer of my home is my bicycle. People need a location- But Pico rules out this as being importnat as in a diaster ones home can disappear like that- he’s experienced that. He then points out that there is an important non-material meaning to home; a place one belongs, is comfortable and loved. Home is always under change…. not a place but what you take with you.
He points out that I am not alone as now 2200000 people are living displaced from the state in which they would be the majority… and this group is growing fast.. and a few generations later theyàll be mixing. And this number is low as it likely doesn’t consider situations where say a person from an north American aboriginal heritage would be told they don’t think he’s north american because the media perpetuated the majority as a homgenious mono-ethnic mono- culture descended for European immigration and that is how they expect us to look.
I’m glad that I’m not the only one who wishes the world can get past wondering where you come from and start wondering who you really are and what you do. If you want to be moving forward and not confusing and frustrating the rapidly growin minority that are not from a mono cultural monochrome, mono gene….. move into the future and quit asking where do you come from? And when you get a response that your are not expecting don’t follow it up with ‘ Now where do you really come from?’ You’ll find out more about a person by asking where their home is or to which communty they belong… And please find a way to accept the answer they give you it’s the best way to get to know a person and expand your view . That is why you asked in the first place…. isn’t it?
16 years of pondering facts recently had me realize ANTI dopers are as bad as dopers… In the winter of 1998 I was cooped up in my farm house listening to the CBC on a Sunday afternoon and on the sports program they talked about the new WADA branch of the IOC and how two sports international sports federations stood up and protested the impending manditory 2 year ban for any athlete in any sport under the IOC caught taking any performance enhancing drug. One was big enough to bribe WADA and the IOC… the other took a beating as star after star in cycling was caught up in doping scandals. Coincedence??? And in recent years there have been less doping scandals in cycling… ever since the first head of WADA had finished his tenure. Just a few observations made over the last 17 years… I not saying 1+1 must equal 2… just pointing to a couple facts.
When I was young apples were my favourite fruit. The highlight of the fall season. But that changed when I was about 10 years old. I bit into an apple and it wasn’t the crisp with a tart hit and a long lingering sweet after taste that I was used to. It was sort of mushy inside and starchy. After a couple more apples like that ,my desire to eat apples declined very rapidly and my mom was left with a drawer full of apples in the fridge and the biggest apple consumer not doing his part. Years later in University I gave apples a second chance I went to the grocery store in late October and bought 4. The first one was okay and the next two were mushy and starchy…. the 4th rotted in the bottom of my fridge. I always wonder what happened. And 4 years after I graduated ended up on an apple farm where I re found my love of apples….one in the mouth, 10 in the bucket, 1 in the mouth, 10 in the bucket….. While I was working I thought my quebecoise co workers were teasing me when they told me that the apples we pick will go to supermarkets next year. The sad thing is they weren’t. We pick them off the trees, and put hem in a big wooden bin. The Farmer takes the bins to his storage shed. When he has enough bins to fill his cube truck he loads up the truck and takes them to a sorting and storage center. The apple are kept in conditions where they degrade very little and eventually make to a distribution center, then a grocery store and finally to you. There are some benefits to this: apples are no longer a seasonal fruit- one can buy a nice looking apple at any time of the year. But it’s really stupid that we ruined the essential of a food – taste and texture. For the sake of conveince, cost and commercialism. What can you do if you want to enjoy the apples. The best solution is to go to an apple farm and pick your own You could also go a a fresh food farmers market but last time I was at on some guy was selling apples labled as farm fresh but they looked like the apples Claude would have sold as horse feed. Since I worked on the farm ten years ago I’ve only eaten about a dozen apple a few of them given to me but most were stolen out of apple orchards while riding by on my bicycle world tour.
Greek Financial crisis???
All over the world we hear talk of financial crisis- especially in Greece and Spain. I went to Greece after a short working stint in Turkey. Before I arrive I got advice from my dad to watch myself and my belongings they are in a financial crisis who knows what they will do to a rich tourist on his bicycle with a computer and 2 cameras (they’re always safe because they are tucked away most of the time). The Turkish people warned me that the Greeks are unhappy and there is an air of unease in Greece. After 7 weeks In Greece I would have to disagree with most of this. The Greeks are happy friendly, helpful people. But there is an air of unease.
For the first month or so I was in Greece I was wondering what Financial crisis. I saw people with good comfortable live: I Saw many busy expensive cafes and a fine taste in automobiles. Alfas, lancias, BMW, Mercedes, Toyotas, smarts are all very common there, and may of them recent models. Consider Alfa (one of my favourite car markers) A 3 year old Alfa is worth 1/2 of a new one. So an alfa 147, 146, 156 would be cheap and popular in a financial crisis but I’m seeing Mitos, Guiliettes and 159s. I’m not seeing homeless people abounding all over the place In fact people are living in apartments and nice villas and there are many seaside resort houses suitable for time share or as a summer holiday house. The latter were generally not in use while I was there…. because it was winter.
So for many weeks I was wondering to myself where is this financial crisis. There are some gypsies begging at the occasional supermarket, there are a lot of unfinished building projects, there are a lot of strikes in Athens… nothing that seems too serious On the surface Toronto or NYC might look more like there is a financial crisis.. by number of homeless and begging people. Then it hit me hard as the striking seafarers left me stranded on Andros Island when I was ready to go ashore and head up to mount Olympus. So if they all have jobs, homes and nice cars, and freaquently enjoy going out for 3 or 4 euro coffee… and I’ll add no Sunday shopping.. what is the crisis. The crisis is that they want to continue living like that. They are Standing up against poor government and greedy corporations demanding more work for less pay. Pay for hours worked is a measure that is slowly on the decline at home in North America, it has been for a long time, I read some where since 1973. My school cohorts work many more hours to get marginally more money than their fathers… and grandfathers. Corporations and rich people don’t need anymore money so I support the Greeks and others in the EU and elsewhere.
3 weeks later I was on a peer and I met a Greek who was well spoken in English and the financial crisis came up in our conversation he pointed to the government corruption and that they recently discovered oil and some of the powers that be want access to the oil cheap and being big motivators of the crisis… as well as my point of being ask to work more for less.
I support the protests and strikes. Because if you look at history when there are a few rich people making very comfortable fat livings at the expense of masses of poor people there is always an uprising followed by a big waste of the worlds resources and loss of life. If we humans are truly intelligent, we should be able to stop this cycle….. And GO to GREECE it is a beautiful country full of friendly people and a rich history.
HERE’S A TYPICAL CONVERSATION BETWEEN ME AND AN INDIAN MAN
Indian man: What is your country?
Keiththewheelman: I am not a king, prince, lord, dictator or elected leader nor am I rich enough to own a country.
Indian man: Where do you come from?
Keiththewheelman: This morning i left from (appropriate city) or my hotel. OR I came from my mom.(thanks Ray Conners)
Indian man: Which country?
Keiththewheelman: This one, this country is India (fool doesn’t even know what country he’s in)
Indian man: Where do you live?
Keiththewheelman: I live on my bicycle, have been for 2years
Indian man: Which country are you?
Keiththewheelman: I am not a country.
Indian man: To which country do you belong?
Keiththewheelman: I don’t belong in my country even there many people think I am from another place.
Air conditioning What a Waste- a triple threat threat to the environment
All over developed and developing countries people are getting air conditioners. I see this as a triple heat threat to the environment as air condition remove heat from a building in to the outside environment, generates an enormous amount of heat in doing so and down the line there is a heat generation power source. All for what… a little comfort??? really can we live with a little discomfort to save our planet or can we use some almost as effective and less damaging solutions.
Okay your house is hot in summer, so you buy an air conditioner. Now your house or selected room is cool but where does that heat go? An air conditioner is a exchange pump much the same as a refrigerator. It doesn’t make cool, it simply transfers heat from one place to another; to the outside environment. To attempt to quantify this think of the volume of a small western or small Asian apartment flat say 9m x 5m x 3 m is 135m^3 or 135000 liters air that is now 7-10 degrees warm that the original ambient air. Now imagine a city of 5000000 people making 1.6 million families and only 2/3 of them are using air conditioning that a million of those air conditioner going 135000000000 liters of air heated 10 degrees or 1350000000000 lites of air heated 1 degree. A seemingly small bit but now the air locally is 1 degree hotter outside and now the neighbour that was hot but content is now noticeably hotter and pondering buying an air conditioner.
Worse yet let’s take a look at how the heat gets moved from in the building to the outside. The mechanism is a fixed volume compressor and series of coiled tube. In one volume of tubes the contained gas that expands cooling a volume of air and once expanded moves into a compressor and another set of tubes where the gas gives off heat as gas is recompressed and the cycle begins again. This is the same technology as a refrigerator. A refrigerator pushes cooler temperatures but a much smaller volume but really the same technology but a couple hundred liters in the fridge box vs 100000’s for houses and apartment … or imagine the energy used to cool all those office building and shopping centers in the center of the city. To get an idea of what I talking about stand next to the external unit of an air conditioner that is running and feel how hot it runs… or trap the heat off the refrigerator back of the refrigerator where you find the compressor and the warm coils. Or simply ready the power consumption of air conditioners (and refrigerators) and realize that most of that energy is lost as heat into the surrounding environment. At least the fridge keeps food from spoiling which lets us do more important things with our time than go to the grocery shopping every day…wait that isn’t such a waste of time I say don”t n have a fridge and by fresh food all the time. Don’t run an air conditioner and take pride in not heating up the outside world.
Now we need to find the energy to run that heat pump compressor. Did you check your air conditioner’s power consumptions. Down the power line (unless you’re living in an area that has Hydro-electric power) there is an electricity generator that produces an unbelievable amount of heat it doesn’t matter if it’s coal, gas, nuclear it is all heat generating.
so this is one of the many reasons that our cities are hotter than the surrounding countryside. don’t believe me ride a bike or drive an open vehicle from the suburbs into the country on a hot summer day and tell me you didn’t notice the you didn’t notice the difference. One could be more quantitiative and measure the temperature with a thermometer or even more scientific have a few people coordinate taking temperature reading at the same time, There are other reasons for the differences in temperature… each human body is giving off 37 degrees, each car engine is giving off 400 degrees celciusa…other heat generating applance must be considered refrigerators, ovens, stoves, computers….
Solutions… use a fan. The body has it’s own cooling systems and they work well in tandem with a simple fan (there could be a fitness benefit in that as the body is working one of it’s systems) until about 40 degrees celcius. I India they have ‘cool air’ which involves a small pool of water a big fan and some material that absorbs the water from which the fan aids evaporation of the water. Then moist cool air is pushed into the living environment. In VietNam I visited a few upscale restaurants with misters- a fine mist is sprayed over the areas where people are enjoying their meal keeping them nice and cool. Both much cooler solutions than giving into the western corporate world and buying into the myth that air conditioning is the all round best way to keep cool.