Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Kelly Slater’s Perfect Wave

It’s fast. It’s hollow. It’s perfectly shaped. It will get boring.

Each wave is exactly the same. Each is totally predictable. There’s no variability. Nothing about the wave is random. The surfer knows exactly what the wave will do at every moment.

One of the things that makes ocean surfing exciting to do and watch is the waves’ unpredictability. Each wave breaks differently. No two are exactly alike. One of the measures of a surfer’s skill is how well he/she handles that unpredictability. A surfer is the wave’s slave but has to become its master.

The biggest problem with surfing contests has always been the potential absence of good waves. Even if there’s a good swell running, wind, weather or a wrong tide can ruin a contest. To reduce the chances of a ruined contest, promoters introduced waiting periods. At beaches blessed with consistent swells and good conditions, the chances of good surf within the contest’s waiting period increase.

The most important contests are held on Oahu’s North Shore during the winter because the chances of good surf and conditions are high. But even then, the contests have waiting periods.

Kelly Slater’s perfect wave eliminates the potential absence of good waves. It’s expected the next step will be to introduce unpredictability into how the wave breaks. Without random variability, the wave will get boring to ride and watch.

Can the technology produce waves about twice as big as those we’ve seen so far? Surfers would be stoked to ride fast, hollow six- to eight-foot waves that break unpredictably. And that would be exciting to watch.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Do We Need Another Reason to Abolish the Electoral College?

A strong argument could be made that Donald Trump and George W. Bush are the worst presidents in US history. Both lost the popular vote yet became president by winning the Electoral College vote.

The reasons the founders created the Electoral College no longer exist. The president and vice president are the only elected representatives in the US who are not elected by a popular vote. If the Electoral College had any justification, senators, House members, governors, state legislators and other elected representatives would be chosen through a similar mechanism.

The Electoral College is undemocratic. It still exists because it’s advantageous to the Republican Party. Abolishing the Electoral College would require a Constitutional amendment. To become part of the Constitution, an amendment requires ratification by three-quarters (38) of state legislatures or by three-quarters of state ratifying conventions. As long as Republicans control both the federal Congress and most state legislatures, we’ll have the Electoral College.

Trump has been called a demagogue, a bully, a buffoon, a creep, a misogynist, a bigot and many other unflattering things. He’s been described as ignorant, egotistical, divisive, reckless, childish, uncaring, vain and in many other derogatory terms.

Trump is a grave danger to the United States of America. The Electoral College made him president, and as long as it exists there will be more like him.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Our Absurdly Coiffed “President”

The hair should have been the tip-off. Aside from the boorishness, the incompetence and the dishonesty, did anyone really think that a 70-year-old man with ridiculous dyed, combed-over hair would be a good president? If Barack Obama had had James Brown hair, would anybody have taken him seriously? Of course not.

Before Trump, who thought it possible to have a president worse than George W. Bush? Bush presided during 9-11, the invasion of Iraq, a crippling financial meltdown, and the disastrously inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina.

Trump’s huge national and international crises are yet to come. We can only hope the consequences won’t be too terribly grave. Trump has disgraced the presidency and dishonored the country. He’s disgusting.

Button your coat, you slob. He doesn’t have the decency, respect, good sense or good taste to button his suit coat. He ties his tie so the wide end hangs way down below his belt. Does he think the long tie disguises his fat belly? If that’s the purpose, you’d think he’d button his coat because it would do a much better job. For his tie to hang that low, the narrow end has to be very short. He Scotch-tapes it high up on the back of the wide end. No kidding, that’s true.

His pants are too short. With all his millions, you’d think he’d have a tailor who would tell him his pants should break atop his shoes.

Obama was the coolest president ever. He had great dignity. He cared. He had great warmth. He had a sense of humor. He was very smart. He was modest and self-effacing. He was decent. Not one scandal in eight years as president. As a campaigner and as president, he worked out every day. He was an athlete. He body-surfed. He played basketball. He was a good golfer. He stayed in great shape. That helped him handle the intense stress of being president and leader of the free world.

Trump is a lazy lard ass. He doesn’t exercise. He’s a lousy, awkward golfer. He thinks the body has a finite amount of energy, so he doesn’t want to expend too much. He’s willfully ignorant. He’s a national and global embarrassment. Worse, he’s extremely dangerous. Vain, immature, insecure, a bully, a con man, a phony. The bullying is to cover his deep insecurity. He’s a small, weak man. Men and boys couldn’t have a worse model. Let’s hope he self-destructs before he does too much more damage.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Testing the New President After Inauguration Day

Trump lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes. He won in the Electoral College, an unrepresentative, undemocratic institution that should never have been formed and, having been, should have been abolished long, long ago. It makes a mockery of democracy.

Trump’s transition approval rating is 27 percentage points below Barack Obama’s, 17 below George W. Bush’s and 19 below Bill Clinton’s. He’s not a popular president-elect. He’s not even a legitimate president-elect. Fifty-four percent of the electorate voted for a candidate other than Trump.

As we fearfully wait, there’s little doubt terrorists are plotting attacks to test Trump. An attack on American soil would be a far more serious provocation than one overseas.

Bush ignored intelligence briefings that warned of terrorist attacks using passenger planes. The 9/11 attacks followed weeks later. The US invasion of Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, came 18 months after the attacks. The resulting destabilization of the Middle East, countless thousands of deaths, maimings and refugees, and ISIS continue today. Trump doesn’t even want to hear or read intelligence briefings.

Trump is a dangerous demagogue, a low-life bully, a crass blowhard. He is not qualified in any way to be president of the US and the leader of the free world. To consider how he’ll react to a domestic terrorist attack and what the consequences will be is truly frightening.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Tragedy of Immeasurable Proportions

Weep for America and the world.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Will Encinitans Deny Three Letters of the Alphabet at the Polls?


Measure A is SANDAG’s bid to raise the sales tax countywide by half a percent. SANDAG already spends far too much money in ways that are against the best interests of most county residents. Encinitans can help deny SANDAG the two-thirds majority needed to impose the tax increase.


The proponents of Measure B, the massive Lilac Hills housing development in remote Valley Center, say the project will ease the county’s housing crisis. Their message is a manipulative sham. Building more high-end suburbia in a rural area far from any job-rich urban center would do nothing to relieve housing problems. Rather, it would ruin a huge swath of back country, add thousands of daily car trips to the I-15 corridor and increase the already high amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Encinitans can help send the message that county voters won’t be fooled again.


Measure T is an enormous gift from the city of Encinitas to a relatively few developers and property owners. It’s disguised as compliance with state law. The purpose of the law is to provide affordable housing. Measure T does not require even one affordable housing unit. The city has spent years and millions of taxpayer dollars to produce a plan that can’t achieve the state law’s purpose. While failing in that regard, Measure T would allow market-rate high-density three-story buildings in the city’s five communities. Encinitans can reject further urbanization of our beach town and demand that the city develop a plan that preserves community character while meeting the requirements of the state law. Beyond that, Encinitans can join the local choruses telling the state to stop shoving developer-driven unworkable mandates down our throats.