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50-60% of our (USA) welders are going to hit retirement age in the next 20 years. By some estimates, 2/3 of our plumbers will retire in the same time frame. I've seen numbers stating that 1/2 of our skilled electricians are going to be in their 60's in 10-15 years. Then you have construction workers, engine mechanics, diesel mechanics, machinists, concrete workers etc who are barely being replaced at attrition levels.

FYI, plumbers with 10+ years experience get $20-$30 an hour out here. Welders can make $40/hr and if you have a specialty like stainless steel, underwater, rigging etc you can often double that on big infrastructure projects. I know a guy who does welding in sewers who make 200K a year, for example. Isn't the goal to get people into good paying jobs?

We need engineers, and yea, STEM is important, but when kids ask me what to do I tell them to shadow a trade worker for a day. Shadow several in different fields, see what they do and find out what they have to do to get certifications. Find one that you are sort of interested in and feel like you can get good at the skills needed and join that union to get into their training programs. You may get paid to train or get government assistance if you complete the program, there are a lot of people to learn from, these jobs are always going to need people willing to do the work and plumbers are not going to be outsourced to India or China.

The point that I think I am trying to make is that the insane push to get every kid into college is dangerous, foolish, and wrong. We need trades people, and we need to stop shitting on people who do not have degrees.

mk  ·  769 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Fully automated luxury communism

    "Take Uber. Huge company," Bastani says. "Its idea is that by 2030 it will have this huge global network of driverless cars. That doesn’t need to be performed by a private company. Why would you have that? In London, we have Boris bikes. Why couldn't we have something like Uber with driverless cars provided at a municipal level without a profit motive?"

This is a debate that drives me crazy because it obfuscates the very real problem of central planning.

Ecosystems require diversity and achieve stability via dynamism. In an economic ecosystem, we can achieve central planning by communism or capitalism by means of design, monopolization, and regulatory capture. Capitalism has won out over communism time and again not due to its philosophical merits, but because it does not take a straight line towards central planning. To think that we can understand the needs (both cultural and physical) of a populous so well that we can adequately give and take in mono-measure is intellectual (and cultural) hubris. Capitalism is beginning to fail us, because we have failed to restrict the development of monopolization and regulatory capture. However, the solution is not a top down management of resources.

organicAnt  ·  924 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hey, let's have a discussion about eating meat

I grew up on a small subsistence farm. Killing animals for food was part of it. My dad was a hunter. I used to go out with him ever since I was a little boy. Luckily he was a bad hunter, we would more often come back with water cress picked at a pristine stream than any feathered or furry thing. I remember my dad teaching me how to use the shotgun. I must have been 8 or 9. We killed this little sparrow. I remember picking up the small lifeless body. Its beak and brains blown off. The remains consisted of an empty half skull attached to a body of mangled feathers, which felt so soft to the touch...

I didn't like seeing animals killed for food either. I remember closing my eyes while holding the pig or chicken, or skinning the rabbit alive (because "it's tastier that way"). The excruciating human like scream of the pigs, as the 10 inch knife pierced through their throats to their hearts and left to bleed and drown in their own blood, was particularly hard to bear. I was repeatedly told, this is what we need to do to survive. I believed that. Furthermore my family is religious so it was the accepted "natural order". The animals, hell the whole Universe exists for human enjoyment and exploitation. And the animals sacrificed their lives so we could live. It was hard to accept but I conceded that it was a necessity.

In late teens religion stopped making sense to me and I've been agnostic since. Fast forward to mid twenties when I met the first vegetarians. They seemed strange people at first and I was convinced they were living an unhealthy lifestyle since I was repeatedly told that I needed meat to be healthy. I never actually gave them any credit or tried to understand their arguments with a truly open mind (but if you asked me if I considered myself to be an open minded person, I'd have said yes without hesitation).

Fast forward a few more years and I started dating a vegetarian. I was exposed to the reality that a healthy (and tasty) meatless diet is possible. So I became vegetarian also while still believing that some animal products were essential to the human body. Fish for omegas, eggs for protein, milk for calcium. These are the lies that get imprinted into us by society and even formal education.

Fast forward a few more years and I'm now dating a vegan and once more she has shattered the myths I was carrying around. Omegas can be obtained from certain seeds such as flax, protein is available in all sorts of vegetables (heck, the biggest land mammals are herbivores!) - most abundantly in legumes - and calcium is better absorbed from dark green vegetables, such as kales and broccoli alongside a complex healthy cocktail of vitamins, minerals and disease fighting anti-oxidants non existent in animal based foods. After learning that a healthy body was possible without harming anyone (Yes, I mean anyone. Ever noticed how the English language uses s/he for people and it for animals? Human supremacy or anthropocentrism is embedded in our very language.) there was no going back. It seemed obvious to me that a vegan diet is a win win situation. It puzzles me that more people can't see this and that a discussion about eating animals is usually received with defensiveness and often aggressively.

Along the years I have also done quite a bit of research and watched a few compelling documentaries and talks. Eathlings, Vegucated, Forks over Knives, Speciesism, Live and Let Live: to name a few. One thing to bear in mind is that animal foods are addictive. For example, casein is a protein in cheese known to be addictive. So cravings are natural when replacing animal foods. However the will to not harm another creature ever again is way more powerful than any flavour that has ever crossed my tongue. With the availability of an extensive online resource of nutrition info & tools, recipes, suggestions and ideas, it has never been easier to live a cruelty free lifestyle where diet is just the first step. Clothing is an important second.

flagamuffin  ·  1217 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Lil's Book of Questions: What Do You Remember from Your Schooldays? Part II

I was the kid who did stupid things every single day and thus has thousands of stories. A couple of my teachers loved me and the rest hated me. Never made it to Florida, but at least I stayed out of North Dakota...

EDIT: Just remembered -- I'll never forget my senior year government final. At my school stellar attendance to class could excuse seniors from the final. Thus, in a sort of Spicoli moment, I literally took the gov final in a room by myself. Only senior not to qualify via attendance to class. So I sat with the teacher watching me -- odd feeling, really -- and bounced through this pointless multiple choice test on things I'd learned from my parents in elementary school. I was almost certainly high out of my skull. At the end I turned in the "scantron" to Mrs. whatever and she graded it while I was standing there for convenience. I got an 87, which I will never forget, because Mrs. government teacher looked down at my grade, looked up at me, shook her head, and said, "Effortlessly mediocre, Walter. Good luck." And I said, sincerely, "Thank you!" and left high school forever.

Since then that's been a motto of sorts. I see nothing wrong with being effortlessly mediocre; often the world doesn't deserve effort.

lil  ·  1246 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Happy Thanksgiving Hubski, what are you thankful for this year?

I'm grateful for science.

I'm grateful for being alive now and for all the shoulders we stand on to have the human rights we have. I'm grateful to those who continue to work towards human rights and equal opportunity for all. We're not there yet.

I'm grateful for the ability and freedom to question all dogma, including self-created and self-imposed dogma - how do I know what I know? What assumptions and mythologies do I subscribe to?

I'm grateful, so grateful, for opportunities I have to give, work, think, write, engage, encounter, debate, share, support, love.

I'm grateful for hubski, our little corner of the internet and the lovely team that keeps it going.

I'm grateful for having other humans to love and to feel loved by them. I often think that love and gratefulness are actually different words for the same thing. A little while back, I wrote this:

"Saying "I love you" is our way of showing gratitude. What you mean is that in the presence of the romantic partner you feel smarter and more beautiful than with anyone else. You feel connected and alive and worthy. You are so grateful to the other person for co-creating the situation where those feelings emerge that you are overwhelmed with a gratefulness that you call love."