Sunday, May 13, 2007

History of Oregon's economy

Perusing the BlueOregon website tonight, I ran across an excellent article on the economic history of Oregon - and how the development in the past 50 years is particularly unsustainable.

Cheap petroleum, cheap land, cheap mortgages, low-cost college education and unionized wages were the rocks on which Oregon’s post-World War II prosperity was built. They no longer exist. These conditions are derided by self-styled conservatives as "the Welfare State." The housing patterns that served the post-World War II affluent middle class will no longer serve the shrinking middle class. The global economy as we understand it will not survive rapidly rising petroleum prices. That will alter the way we live in ways we do not foresee.

A couple of comments on this particular conclusion:
  1. I believe that the global economy is one that will most likely survive peak-oil and rising petroleum prices. Globalization is a phenomenon that is as old as civilization; it wasn't until the 20th century that ships were powered by petroleum: goods were shipped for thousands of years by sail, and then coal-fired steamships in the 19th century. Even today, shipping companies are investing in wind-assisted ships, utilizing large kites to achieve modest 10% energy savings. This is, of course, not to say that strip-mining resources from other countries is necessarily a good thing...
  2. Since rising wealth is usually equated with increasing one's consumption of goods and services - and hence your environmental footprint, such as by buying more cars, material goods, and larger houses - perhaps a trend towards lower wages will in fact cause a decreased environmental impact? Unfortunately, the flip side is that innovation in sustainability as far as architecture, product design, and transportation is concerned might be easier the more money is available for it...
  3. Lastly - Portland, whether we like to admit it or not, is one of the five principal cities situation on the west coast of North America with a direct trade route to the largest economic powers of the world: China, India, Japan, and the rest of the Asian Tigers. Even if transportation costs increase and unionization falters, there are still over 2 BILLION people across the Pacific who are very intent on trading with us.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Famous Quote

It just so happens that I have a special place in my heart for famous quotes... especially those that make you just stop dead in your tracks in surprise. Kudos to Philip Johnson, who many hears ago put out this bit of food for thought:

"Architects are pretty much high-class whores. We can turn down projects the way they can turn down some clients, but we've both got to say yes to someone if we want to stay in business."

From Esquire, Dec 1980 -

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


So, it's been war in the Taggart household for the past week or so. Since the initial sighting of a mouse hunting for food scraps around the floor in the kitchen has turned into a full-fledged insurgency: I have spotted no fewer than three mice perusing the countertop in the kitchen. Hiding behind blenders, cutting boards, and dirty dishes, a long time passed before anyone noticed we had an infestation.

Myself, on the other hand, see mice almost every time I go into the kitchen - especially when I get home late at night from school! Things took a turn for our side, however, when two days ago I was able to nab one of the suckers after I caught him hanging out in the bathroom. After shutting the door and cramming the rug underneath the door, I grabbed the toilet plunger and, after chasing him all around the tiny space, was able to catch him under it. Picked him up with a piece of cardboard, and dropped him in a deep bucket.

However, with fears of hantavirus and the idea of putting the little enemy combatant to death seemed a bit extreme (particularly considering my own views on Gitmo), I decided to give him a little trip around the 'hood. After letting him go several blocks away (and across a busy street), I'm sure he's quite happy in his new home. Until the neighbors let their cats out, of course...

Mice: 8
Humans: 1