My Blog Week: May 19 to May 25
A Word on the Week
The Deadly Queue
The death toll on Everest this year is among the highest recorded, ten victims. The nation of Nepal has issued about 380 permits for the season, reportedly each costing the equivalent of $11,000. Here is a global convergence of rising wealth and the influence of social media, that in microcosm, teaches why our environmental problems are so linked to our economic and cultural problems; and shows the inevitable result of too many people able to do too many of the things they simply want, too little social pressure to responsibly choose not. The cost of the permit is by no means outside the credit limits of millions of people. The total cost of a guided expedition is estimated to average $45,000. Trash and human bodies are one of the accumulated detriments of the climbing boom. Many of us who have read the news stories have seen the photos of a long trailing line of customers, making for the summit. The romantic dream of achievement, of doing a cool and daring thing; or, particularly the fatalism of seasoned climbers portrayed in the slew of Everest books that have been published, is mocked by this amusement park-esque reality. Training for high altitude hasn’t traditionally needed to account for waiting-in-line psychology. Do I give up my place? Do I go on? Some of the dead climbers seemed to have been wrestling with the temptation to ignore their failing health.
Getting Down to Business
Billionaire Robert F. Smith pledged to pay the student loans for the graduating class of 2019. “…this frees these young men from having to make their career decisions based on their debt. This allows them to pursue what they are passionate about.” (Quote from NYT article, 5/19/2019.) The surprise for the students occurred at their commencement last week; this week, TV/internet pundits spent much discussion on, “Is it fair?” We hope, when under the progressive agenda, public colleges are free of tuition to qualified applicants (two buffers that angry conservatives tend to ignore—public, not private schools; qualified applicants, not every person in the world), that the initiative isn’t obstructed by the complaint from earlier generations, “I paid for my college. I didn’t get anything free!”
It’s not fair, one supposes, that one person gets to win the lottery, when millions bought tickets. Why not give everyone back their dollar and have no winners?
But we do have the question of excess wealth, and why billionaires have such conflict with broad gestures of generosity. Justice is what Mr. Smith’s grant will give to the kids he helps. Justice is what will feed more mouths than food banks; justice will educate more future successes than redistribution schemes for student populations; justice will house more people than rent-subsidized tower apartments. Justice will reduce more crime; rehabilitate more ex-convicts, bring more voters to the polls. Money spent unstintingly is a great leveler.
Monday, a new episode of The Totem-Maker, in which the character turns over ethical questions; on Tuesday, Sequence of Events was back, and Chapter Eleven ended, with Rob adding a few last pieces to the puzzle. Wednesday, a new Yoharie, The Neverers Creed introduced, and more speculation about the fantasy landscape. Thursday, Catastrophe, some converstation shipboard among reporters and Senator Knight. Friday, a poem from Mystery Plays, “Dum-dum”; and Saturday, a change of pace with a new Adventures in Research, a little seafaring oddity.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: May 19 to May 25