Week of April 18th 

Among the things that I found interesting this week of April 18th: 

  • Eight Conservative Men 
  • Finland and the NATO conundrum
  • The new home of the Seattle Kraken
  • Shaved Heads Everywhere

And I never did get to fossil fuels and strange trading partners, so I will start with that. 

Fossil Fuels and Alternative Suppliers

Surprise! I will not rant about the fossil fuel industry. Just about the difficult choices Europe must make about oil and gas providers. First, some facts about European imports of Russian fossil fuels:

  • Since February 24, the EU has paid Russia €20 billion for gas imports alone
  • 34% of Europe’s gas imports come from Russia
  • Total Russian gas exports to the EU – 155 billion cubic metres
  • EU objective: to cut usage of Russian gas to less than 50 billion cubic metres by the end of 2022

How:

  • Turning thermostats down 1c in winter – maybe they should invest in more double glazing and weather-stripping as well.
  • Increased domestic production where possible
  • Increased Norwegian production
  • Liquified natural gas from the US
  • Deals with dubious regimes without any claim to moral authority 

These Eight Conservative Men Make no Apologies   

A sense of lost identity

The New York Times has hosted a series of forums with different focus groups. Examples include forums with twelve:

  • Economically insecure Americans
  • Women who don’t want it all – just better
  • Teenagers on what adults don’t get about their lives

The eight conservative men didn’t speak of stolen elections or rant about Joe Biden’s illegitimacy. They do have concerns about personal safety, cancel culture, free speech, and “me, me, me” attitudes. Lack of road etiquette keeps coming up as an example of broader societal decay. 

Most interesting to me was the detail around the perceived loss of freedom. It had very little to do with government but more to do with fear of criticism of opinion. I think that eight liberal men would have the same issue. So sad!

Finland and the NATO Conundrum

On Wednesday, April 20 the Finnish Parliament held a landmark debate on NATO membership. Why is this important?

  • Finland shares a 1340 km border with Russia
  • And, it has successfully pursued a policy of “active neutrality” since the WWII. 

It now appears that Finns are ready to pick sides. 

Prior to the war in the Ukraine only 20 to 30 percent of Finns wanted to join NATO. Since then, support for joining the alliance has risen to 60 percent. Parliamentarians’ support is even higher. The question, it seems, is no longer if but when application to join NATO will occur. Sweden could follow suit. 

Russia is not happy. Its border with NATO countries will double. The “Putin” counter threat is placement of nuclear missiles in the Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia’s most westerly outpost. I don’t see how this increases the nuclear threat to Scandinavian countries. St Petersburg is much closer to Finland. The Russians undoubtedly have a couple of nuclear submarines in the Baltic Sea. Also, Kaliningrad is surrounded by Lithuania and Poland. Logistics to that enclave are difficult and if the Russian War in the Ukraine proves anything, the Russians are awful at logistics. 

Again, I recommend watching Shadow Lines – a peek into the Finnish relationship with the West and the USSR.

Monocle Minute – Thursday April 21

Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle

The NHL’s Seattle Kraken and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm will play in a net-zero arena as certified by the International Living Future Institute. Some of its features:

  • Retention of 44 million pounds of material from Seattle’s 1962 World Fair site including a landmark roof that had to be suspended while the arena was built below
  • The landscaping keeps 62 London plane trees planted for the World’s Fair
  • An underground cistern to retain water for the all electric Zambonis that will resurface the ice
  • Only the upper level of the arena is above grade
  • A 200-foot long green wall that will hold 8500 plants 
  • Solar panels on the main entrance and garage that will generate 570,000 kw per annum 
  • Electric vehicle charging stations, bike valets, and links to public transit 

Fast Company, Issue 249, March / April 2022 

Shaved Heads Everywhere 

Bald is beautiful!

When I first saw this teaser in the New York Times newsletter, I thought that I must have  started this trend in 1995. Then I opened the article. The pictures are mostly of women who have decided that the time had come to shave their heads. Their reasons for taking this radical step:

  • “Either I was going to have to learn to do my hair really well or just take it off”
  • “Every time I shave my head I feel as if a weight has been lifted”
  • “I feel more powerful, more graceful. There is a purity and a fierceness about it”
  • “Also, I can get ready so fast now, it’s a game changer.”

On behalf of old, bald men welcome to the club!

Week of April 18th

So these are some of the things I found interesting the week of April 18th

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt.”

Bertrand Russell

 

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