Category Archives: Broken in the USA

guns & gas

Renewable Energy

Chapter 104 Renewable Energy

Maximizing our ability to produce oil & gas just makes good economic sense, in the short term. The reason I say “short term” is that this resource is not infinite. My longer-term concern is that, as a country, we are not placing a high enough priority on developing renewable energy sources. There is no question that these most of these sources (other than hydroelectric & nuclear) will lead to higher costs for energy. Some argue that when the costs associated with the carbon footprint are added to the cost equation the increased costs for “renewables” may not be too excessive. I have hard data on this assertion.

Regardless, development of renewables is an area where the USA is not taking a leadership role. We have the ability to develop and also improve renewable technology. The issue is simply one of priorities. In that regard short term almost always trumps the longer view. There are 25 countries that produce 80% or more of their electricity with renewables and over 100 that produce more than the US which stands at 14%

It is important to take a look at what strides other countries have made regarding renewables:

List of countries by electricity production from renewable sources

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Country Year Renewables as % of total
Generation, all sources
Total renewable
Wind power
Biomass and waste
Solar power
Wave and tidal
Albania 2015 100.0% 5,866 5,866 5,866
Bhutan 2015 100.0% 7,732 7,731 7,731
Ethiopia 2015 100.0% 10,341 10,337 9,577 760 0
Iceland 2015 100.0% 18,558 18,554 13,541 10 5,003
 Lesotho 2015 100.0% 600 600 600
Nepal 2015 100.0% 3,493 3,493 3,461 32
Paraguay 2015 100.0% 55,191 55,190 55,190
Congo (Kinshasa) 2015 99.8% 8,852 8,837 8,827 10
Costa Rica 2015 99.1% 10,725 10,623 7,986 1,080 179 3 1,375
 Malawi 2015 99.1% 2,120 2,100 2,100
Norway 2015 98.5% 142,381 140,240 137,306 2,515 419
 Tajikistan 2015 98.5% 16,977 16,731 16,731
 Namibia 2015 97.9% 1,519 1,487 1,487
 Zambia 2015 97.1% 13,285 12,905 12,905
Laos 2015 96.5% 11,460 11,060 11,060
Belize 2015 95.2% 248 236 236
Uruguay 2015 89.1% 13,564 12,086 8,183 2,065 1,788 50
Kenya 2015 88.2% 9,568 8,435 3,749 60 122 24 4,480
Burundi 2015 87.0% 230 200 200
 Mozambique 2015 87.0% 19,579 17,035 17,035
 Central African Republic 2015 86.2% 174 150 150
Afghanistan 2015 86.1% 1,034 890 890
 Kyrgyzstan 2015 85.8% 12,803 10,989 10,989
New Zealand 2015 80.8% 42,912 34,689 24,292 2,333 620 33 7,411
 Uganda 2015 80.8% 3,235 2,615 2,615
Austria 2015 80.0% 56,940 45,553 34,919 4,561 5,190 883 0
United States 2015 14.0% 4,097,027 572,409 249,080 190,719 77,660 39,032 15,918    

Your immune system

Your immune system

I am convinced that the key to quality of life if our immune system. I have had this notion for the past 40 years after a discussion with my physician at the time who was an Internist.  Not surprisingly the medical community, as a whole, has been stressing the importance of bolstering the immune system as an effective means of health maintenance. Additionally, immune therapy is being prescribed as a potential cure for numerous ailments and most recently as an alternative therapy for certain forms of cancer!

Here’s the problem. As is customary with the “American” strategy to solving problems we focus on addressing issues after they become a problem. Not only is this not effective, it becomes an extremely expensive burden on tax payers. While immune therapy may have benefits they tend to be short term. If the habits that led to the immune deficiency are not addressed then expensive immune therapy will be required indefinitely and the effectiveness will diminish over time.

The sescret to a healthy immune system, for the vast majority of our citizens, is ridiculously simple as well as cost effective:

30 minutes a day of effective exercise where a person elevates their rate to at least 50% above their “at rest” rate


Reducing caloric intake to no more than 2,500 calories per day. While there may be benefit to restricting consumption to certain items or food groups using the general guideline of not eating any one food in excess is almost as effective. This procedure will save most folks money.

I may have recommended viewing this video in prior postings, but I find it helpful to view it periodically: If you follow the recommendations your will have a significantly better quality of life.

The best and most cost-effective way to address any issue to focus “upstream”. Addressing solutions to causes works.

Life Expectancy vs HALE

Life Expectancy vs HALE

I recently read an ED OP in our local paper that was a reprint from apublication from a Minnesota paper. The writer was pointing out that while most EU countries were making positive progress to improve Life Expectancy, the US has been heading in the opposite direction for several years. The narrative stated that the CDC has placed part of the blame on drug overdoses and suicides. I did a bit of math on these areas and discovered that the increases in these areas has only had a minimal impact. The writer pointed out deficiencies in our health care system and noted increases in pregnancy mortality & heart disease, but again these numbers do not even come close to explainingaway the problem.

My opinion is that the issue lies with our broken and extremely expensivehealthcare system in combination with our inability (or unwillingness) tomaintain our immune systems through regular exercise and moderation of caloricintake. Our healthcare system costs, on average, 2 ½ times that per capita average for EU countries. Yet, according to the World Health organization weonly rank 31st in terms of quality of care. It is interesting tha this is exactly the rank that the US has with respect to Life Expectancy, again 31st. You would think that since we spend so much on health care we should begetting the best?                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think it important to not befooled by Life Expectancy as a true measure of quality. The better measure isone termed HALE (Health Adjusted Life Expectancy). Following is taken from VeryWell Health: “How Is Healthy Life Expectancy Calculated? This is a bit complicated and uses lots of different data sources for each country. In a nutshell, the World Health Organization takes a country’s data like mortality rates and health status information and crunches them to look at things like how long people are expected to livewith about 135 health conditions. The calculation looks at the mortality ratefor different health conditions and adjusts it for the duration or severity of the illnesses.”

 What this measures isyour expectation of a healthy life span, not just how long we can keep you alive! Again, we fall far behind the EU and in fact we fall to 35thoverall. The difference is significant. Currently our Life expectancy from birth stands at 79.3, but our HALE stands at only 69.1. Keeping us alive those additional 10 years is expensive and they are not our best years.

You might be surprised to learn that the following countries have a better HALE than the US: TheUnited Arab Emirates, Slovenia, Malta, Maldives, Costa Rica, Chile & Cuba. Our HALE is equal to that of China.