Odds and Sods and Other Interesting Stuff

Posted on November 28, 2012

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At least I hope you find the other stuff interesting.

Regulation Mania

Our poor country has suffered from regulatory mania for decades. It is the nature of the so-called progressive to want to control every aspect of our lives. Environmental radicals seem to care more about the well being of planet earth than they do about the well being of mankind. These people we know also have a political agenda and it is way to the left. Regulatory mania reached a peak in recent decades due to what is called “regulatory capture”. Regulatory capture occurs when the radical element that promotes an area being regulated manage to get themselves hired by the regulatory agency. When they get into a position where they have some control over who gets hired they hire like-minded people. Eventually, like in today’s Environmental Protection Agency, they are the agency.  In theory, the EPA should be an arm’s length mediator between protecting the publics well being from unwarranted contamination of the environment we all live in and protecting the publics well by finding ways that industries can still operate to produce products we want and need. Today the EPA cares nothing about our wants and needs.

I remember when the EPA was created by the Nixon administration and the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act became law. After the regulations were promulgated to to put the Clean Water  Act into action, one of first projects that caught national attention was the need to clean up Lake Erie. The consensus among environmentalist at the time was it would take over 100 years to clean up Lake Erie from the industrial waste that had been dumped into the lake for years and before commercial fishing could resume. As I recall, commercial fishing resumed in earnest in less than five years. So, with environmental activists, hysteria is a commonly used tool and, of course, the remedy is always setting regulatory standards at extreme levels.

Two stories in the news today caught my attention. One has to do with contaminated pork and the other has to do with a mini-cold rush occurring in a Colorado county. Along with comments on the second story  I will share with you some ithings peculiar about gold panning in Vanezuela that I think you will find interesting.

Contaminated Pork Scare

This ABC News headline was report by Yahoo News this morning_

Study Finds Most Pork Contaminated

That’s kind of scary, right? Well, there may be real reason to be scared but from what this article can tell us it may be a bit of over kill.

A sample of raw pork products from supermarkets around the United States found that yersinia enterocolitica, a lesser-known food-borne pathogen, was present in 69 percent of the products tested, according to a study released today by Consumer Reports.

According to the story the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says 100,000 people per year are infected by this pathogen and suffer symptoms of fever, cramps and bloody diarrhea. Well, not good, but from what we are told not life threatening. Later in the story the reader is advised to cook pork well and a specific temperature is even given. Maybe I am wrong, but I thought it was common knowledge that pork should be well cooked. I remember being told by my parents and by my health class teachers that pork should be well cooked for reasons other than today’s story. There is a parasite common in pigs that can survive light cooking and if eaten will take up residence in the new host and can cause serious health problems, even death. So, let’s hope there isn’t an unnecessary panic caused among the consumers that would hurt the pork industry. maybe a public service announcement campaign is in order to reeducate people about the proper way to cook pork. Also, let’s hope this doesn’t result in a lot of unnecessary new regulations if the problem isn’t any more serious than what it now appears to be.

Let’s Regulate Gold Panning

All of my professional career was in the mining industry and the last twenty years that I worked were in gold mining. It was god mining that brought me to Venezuela going on twenty-one years ago. So, I do have some knowledge of gold mining techniques including panning.

Panning for gold is ancient art. Alluvial particles of gold get carried down some rivers and is deposited in different places for a number of reason. This occurs because somewhere up-stream, the river erodes a vein structure in a rock outcrop, in which Mother Nature deposited gold. For many years in the US, people have made a hobby of panning for gold. No doubt they have dreams of finding a large nugget or even tracing their small findings to a mother lode. Simply stated the panning for alluvial gold is quite simple. It is an art and that art can be learned. Gold planners use what looks like a large concave plate, which may have several circular ridges in it. A panner will select a river that has some history for having alluvial gold in it and these rivers are often in areas with a history of gold mining, usually underground mines. The panner works normally close to a shore. He looks for an area where faster waters slow down over a more quite pool. Gold particles are moved along river by fast currents. The particles fall out of the stream and deposit where the water slows down. Gravity never fails to work.  An artisan panner will scoop up a hand full over river bottom material and place in the pan. Then using some of the river water they will use a motion that swirls the small pebbles and sand and finer particles with the water. They use a constant rhythm and tap one point on the pan with one hand. Always tapping on the same point. In this way the lighter particle are washed away. Bigger pieces will pick off and thrown away, too. In time, a small amount of small and fine particles will remain, which are still present because they are more dense than everything else that was put in the pan. The swirling and tapping will cause the remaining material to form an elongated oval shape. If there are any gold particles they will be visible on one extreme of this oval.  Okay. From years of observation,I have seen no evidence of any environmental harm caused by artisan gold panning. None the less the officials of Larimer County, Colorado believe they have a problem that must be controlled. Apparently, because of the high gold prices today, there are many more artisan gold panners make use of a river in this county. The local officials think they need to pass a law banning gold panning in their river or, at least, “REGULATE”  it to specific areas and times. I think this is a shame. As my wife often says: “When government finds people being happy, they have to do something to stop it.” It does seem that way, doesn’t it?

And now a brief story I hope you will enjoy about gold panning in Venezuela.

Venezuela has a long history of gold ming dating back to the first explorers from Europe. Near the town of El Callao, where I used to spend several days a week for over six years, is a river where local artisan gold panners have been practicing their art for more than a hundred years. Here is what I think you will find interesting. You would not want wade or swim in this or other near by rivers. Not because they are contaminated or anything like that. The reason is due to the dangerous things that live in these rivers. There are , for example, electric ells. Big ones. There are piranhas in these rivers. Normally not a threat unless you have an open cut, but just the same, not what you want to encounter while wading in a river. The third thing may be more myth than fact, but the story goes like this. People are warned to never urinate while in the rivers. Supposedly there is a small parasite which inhabits the rivers, which is attracted to urine. They are said to follow the trail of urine and enter the source and take up residence there. Now that is not a pleasant thought, isn’t it?

Well, now you know what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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Posted in: Over Regulation