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CENTRAL VIEW for Monday, June 12, 2023

by William Hamilton, Ph.D.

Of Big Ben, goat herders, and hope

One sometimes wonders how some groups of Homo Sapiens can be so clever while other Home Sapiens are so clueless. For example: Prior to WWII, it was the custom of the BBC Worldwide Service to broadcast live the sounds of Big Ben, London’s famous clock, marking the first minute of each hour. The comforting chimes suggesting worldwide, "There will always be an England."

But, during WWII, some clever Nazi physicists detected that changes in the temperature and the relative humidity/dew point in downtown London altered the sound of Big Ben’s massive bell. If the temperature and relative humidity/dew point numbers were far apart, the night skies over London were probably clear and perfect for Luftwaffe bombers. But if subtle changes in the bell’s tone signaled that the temperature and the relative humidity/dew point numbers were the same, London was probably fogged in.

Eventually alerted to the Nazi’s scientific feat, the Brits stopped the live broadcasts of Big Ben, switching to a recorded version. Presumably, the recorded version sounded like Big Ben on a dark and foggy night, suitable only for Jack the Ripper. Not for Nazi bombers.

For an illustration of Homo Sapiens stupidity, fast forward to an Associated Press report of May 30, 2023. California state labor regulators decided that California’s Peruvian guest-worker goat herders must be paid overtime. But since the goat herders are with the goats 24/7, that means their pay will shoot up from $4,000 per month to $14,000 per month. That’s on top of the free food, housing and cell service already provided by their employers who use the goats to clear out hard-to-access underbrush that provides fuel for California’s frequent wildfires.

Targeted grazing is part of California’s wildfire mitigation planning. By using goats to graze hard-to-access slopes California has less need to use hazardous chemical sprays applied by costly helicopters. Apparently, California’s wildfire agencies and its labor regulators do not communicate. Also, the state labor regulators must not be aware that the goat herders only work when the goats need to be relocated and that the goat herders are, otherwise, free to sleep, eat, recreate, and use their free cell phones to speak with their needy relatives back in Peru.

The private companies that bring in the Peruvian goat herders on temporary work visas say they cannot afford to pay uneducated goat herders $14,000 per month. Consequently, hundreds of goats are going to be slaughtered for meat, the workers will be sent back to Peru, and no longer able to provide money for their loved ones.

Meanwhile, this winter’s heavy snow and rainfall will produce even more underbrush to dry out when the summer heat returns, providing an abundance of accelerant for the life and property-consuming wildfires for which California is infamous.*

One wonders how the Brits and the Nazis of the 20th Century could be so smart and California’s labor regulators of the 21st Century can be so stupid. But then, California’s labor regulators are only waging economic war on poor Peruvian goat herders, not bloody war on all of humankind. So, after all, maybe there is some reason for hope.

*Citing natural disasters in recent years, Allstate and State Farm halted sales of property and casualty insurance in California.

Suggested reading: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, 2014.

.2023. William Hamilton.

1999-2023. American Press Syndicate.

Dr. Hamilton can be contacted at:
P.O. Box 2001
Granby, CO 80446

Email: william@central-view.com

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