Skip to main content

Exxon Makes $36 Billion in Profits!

The big news is that Exxon-Mobile made a $36 billion profit. There has been outcry from people all over the country that it's sick and wrong for an oil company to make that much money. Hillary Clinton was even quoted as saying that the government should take it and use it for alternative energy development. Everybody is eager blame the oil companies or "Big Oil" for all of our problems. Unfortunately, it's not true.

The problem isn't Exxon, it isn't our government, it isn't the middle east; our problem is us. We've somehow come to the belief that we're entitled to cheap oil the same way we're entitled to free speech. How is it that we blame everybody else for our problems. It's the oil companies, it's the government, etc. We're like drug addicts complaining about how rich the cartels are. We GAVE them our money!

If we want to do something about it, we need to get OURSELVES off of our oil addiction first. Sure we can't do it entirely because our economy is dependant on it, but we can do some things. We can buy cars that use less gasoline like hybrids, flex fuel cars, electric cars (and/or plug-in hybrids). We can carpool, walk, ride bikes, etc. instead of driving wherever we go. We can conserve energy, get solar panels and/or solar water heaters. We can get rid of our gas powered mowers and leaf blowers and get electric ones (or even a good old fashioned hand mower).

Not only that, we can lobby our local and state governments to improve our options. Maybe increase tax breaks for solar panels or improve the express bus system or speed up commuter rail development (I live in the Phoenix area). They could write some intelligent legislation on alternative fuels. There's a lot we can do and, if the people were clamoring for it, our government would eventually get it done. That's how it works.

Unfortunately we won't do it. After all, controling ourselves and changing our lifestyles is HARD! We want somebody else to do it. We want lower pollution, less dependence on oil, more renewable energy, etc. but we don't want to sacrifice for it. We want handed to us on a silver platter and in such a way that our lifestyle stays the same. That's why it may never happen.

If all we do is sit around and gripe about it. Well then, nothing happens. Don't just complain, do something about it. Could I do better? Sure, but I'm not the one complaining.


Popular posts from this blog

Insteon: Controller vs Responder

This entry is going to be more of a technical article.  If you're not planning on setting up scenes in an Insteon environment, this isn't for you.  If you are or like me, have been running into some confusion about what should be set up as a controller, what should be a responder, and what should be both.  Here's what I learned.

I've been using Insteon switches for a couple of years now and had set up a few scenes.  When adding a switch to a scene, you have the option of adding it as a controller, a responder, or both.  Not knowing the difference and wanting to cover my bases, I set all of my scenes to both.  Since my scenes were all timing type scenes (e.g. turn on night lights at sunset) it worked fine.  Then I added an 8 button keypad and started programming the buttons to control other lights.  The program for this, of course, is a scene.  Once again, I set every switch and button as both a controller and a responder.  Then I created a scene, specifically for my E…


I just finished reading The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone. It's a biographical novel of Michelangelo (you know, the famous sculptor/artist whose statue of David and the paintings in the Cistine Chapel are super famous) that gives a very interesting view of his life. It seems that while Michelangelo had a very productive life, it wasn't a very happy one.

One of the first things that I noticed about Stone's portrayel of Michelangelo is that he was obsessed with creating sculptures and a true perfectionist. For a large portion of his life (into his 60s it seems) his every action was calculated toward a goal of sculpting marble - either getting a commission or improving his talent (or both). Not only did he want to sculpt, he wanted his pieces to be as real as possible.

His obsession with carving perfect sculptures drove him to do endless studies of the human form. He even spent months sneaking into a morgue to dissect bodies so he could figure out how the body real…

Sonos Control with the Amazon Echo - How I did it

I've had my Amazon Echo for a year or so and one thing that I've wanted ever since I purchased it, is to be able to use voice commands to control my Sonos speakers.  I waited patiently (OK  not patiently) for Sonos skill to appear on the Echo but it still hasn't come.  I was encouraged when Sonos announced it was going to focus more on voice but still nothing.  Isn't there any way to control my Sonos with my Echo?

Yes - sort of.

WARNING: This post is not for the faint of heart because the solution is not trivial.

So, I found a project on github that uses another project on github combined with a custom skill on
the Echo via a web service hosted by AWS Lambda.  OK, that was the easy part.  I knew that going in.  That's why, initially, I waited.  There must be an elegant solution out there.  I searched and waited and searched again and waited again.  Finally I decided to give it a try.  If it worked it would be really cool.  If it didn't, well I'm no worse o…