Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Old and New. Newer?

The old gives way to the new, sometimes reluctantly. There is a saying, science advances one funeral at a time. History is full of old men (it's always old men) bleating about something being the only right and natural way and resisting change. A few years later they are proven wrong. It's happened again and again, with the Catholic Church holding the record for never being correct. Tell me again why we listen to doddering old men, especially religious ones?

Except me, I'm not doddering, yet, mostly, today at least, I hope.

I didn't quite put both feet on the brakes when I saw this first scene come up, but close. It certainly would have been a "stop the van!" moment. In front is a modern version of an old piece of farm equipment. At one time farming was a way of life for a great many people. The main advantage to the day in day out dawn to dusk back breaking work was that you got to eat, unless some nobility war trampled your crops or stole them. In 1920's Canada, farming was a third of all jobs. By 2008 it was less than 2% of all jobs. (Statscan source)

Right behind it is a more modern way of making a living. I'm pretty sure that's a two phase horizontal separator. The local land owner makes a bit of money leasing it to the oil and gas company, that company makes money extracting petroleum gas and sending it downstream. People make money maintaining the equipment. Some out in the field touching the equipment, some, like me, in the office manipulating the information about the equipment or the products inside it.

Except even the petroleum industry as we know it is dying. Sure, there will always be a use for petroleum products, mainly as feedstock for making useful products and some lubricants. But the idea of burning it to move a vehicle or for energy to stay warm is going to seem quaint very soon. Photovoltaic technology is moving by leaps and bounds.

Right now solar panels are an add on to an existing house. In some places they are being installed integral with the roof or walls, which lowers the cost. Eventually it will become the standard way of building a home. Right now the payback period is complicated math depending on a lot of assumptions. The killer is not the energy cost, it's all the other fees and service charges. You pay them no matter how much energy you generate yourself. That will have to change too.

A couple of functional oil wells. Lately a lot of these have been shut in because it isn't economic to run them, so it was nice to see these working. I was amused waiting for them to be in a photogenic posture.

Once upon a time, mail came to our homes. Not like in Victorian London, oh no. There, one could write to a friend in the morning inviting them to tea in the afternoon, and get a response in time to get your cook to make fresh treats. Here we got once a day delivery to hour homes. Even in the country, there was a mailbox out at the end of the lane, and someone drove around to deliver the mail, and set the little flag so you'd know if there was mail.

Now they are grouping the deliveries to these new mailboxes. Our home was converted to this system last year, and now we have to walk to get our mail. It's a pain in the behind. I knew we would get the lowest box, and we did. I have to get down on my hands and knees practically to see into our little mailbox, and scrabble like a squirrel after a nut to get the mail out. Most of it's junk, so I put it into the outgoing mail slot, and let Canada Post deal with it.

So look at the photo. There the box is, quite literally in the middle of nowhere. There is no little village or anything else behind me. The nearest building is several kilometres down the roads in any direction. Why there? The newer technology is email, and even newer is social media and texting. How long before such mailboxes are removed for lack of use? In the meantime, I think it emphasizes the emptiness of the space between it and the mountains.

Schools are important. Right from the earliest pioneering days space was set aside for schools. In the west, the surveyors for the Dominion Land Survey marked out space for schools. I'm not sure when this was last used as an actual school, but somebody visits it often enough to leave a well marked path in the fresh snow.

When kids walked or rode horses to school they couldn't go far, though if you believe such kids now, it was eleventymany miles uphill each way. Then school buses were invented and they started consolidating the schools, getting professional teachers rather than the smart local teenager.

As near as I can tell now, being the child free adult I am, schools seem mainly to be a cesspool of disease spreading agents, namely children. I don't think you could invent a better mechanism to breed new versions of flu and colds and other infections, and spread them around.

People with money are trying to starve public schools because they've figured out that educating the masses is a bad idea. Such people send their own kids to private schools, where they can control the curriculum and make sure their children meet the right kind of people. One of us, as the saying goes.

Right now schools seem to have it backwards. They have someone lecturing up front teaching concepts, trying to spread the message to a large number of children in a limited time. Then they send them home to work on imperfectly mastered material. No wonder kids hate school. I'd like to see on line teaching done for the basic concepts, and teachers used when the kids are having difficulty with a concept.

Change happens and I mostly welcome it. Maybe not the mailbox, but generally. I like seeing real new things come out. Real new, meaning something actually new, like the first iPhone and and the next few models. Now they aren't new, and the changes are annoying. Electric cars and self driving cars are new and I can't wait for them to be more widely adopted. I was just reading that they've figured out how to regenerate teeth in mice, and are working on rats. Can't wait for that to be available for people.

All these photos were taken on the Saturday photo ramble, and there are a few more coming.

1 comment:

  1. Those mail boxes pose many questions, and visually you are right. It successfully emphasizes the space. Cheers, Sean


Looking forward to reading your comment!