Hello moto

You may be familiar with the term ‘Hello Moto’ from the soothing default ring tone on Motorola mobile phones a year or two back.

A friend here in Kathmandu has such a phone and I used to greet him, Hello Moto. Moto means fat in Nepali so it was minor, oft repeated joke to greet him with ‘hello fatty’.

Oh how we used to laugh.

One time went to get drunk with food with an Australian friend. As we got drunk and the level of humour waned, Hello Moto was mentioned a few times. She asked part of the table, does Helomoto mean hello in Nepali?

Oh how we laughed.

This is not so funny but I was reminded recently of a quote of Mark Twain’s which this kind of illustrates:

“Better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

I am not sure I wholly agree with this though it comes from the pen of a genius observer of humanness. I think it is meant to be reserved for those who broadcast, who are overly present, who have appear to have an abundance of earwax preventing them from listening.

For the rest of us (I’m a ranter, though it might sound like broadcasting – and I would love to have my ears de-waxed one day) it is good practice to keep asking dumb questions and learning. Curiosity is an essential and very healthy part of enjoying life (could it be taught in school?). Its always good to ask why, even if you might appear dumb asking. Its foolish to be afraid to ask, though sometimes difficult.

Dumbness is (mostly) in the ear of the beholder. Can you behold sound? I just looked that up. I am a fool.

Related and unrelated at the same time, I read recently that over half the world’s population now have mobile phones. Quite amazing. They’ve made huge differences to peoples lives. And no doubt caused a large amount of pointless traffic accidents. I see people here just applying the brakes and parking in the road at the slightest feel of a vibration in the pocket. Motorcyclists stuff their phone between head and helmet, blah blah blah. Young girls in tight jeans wander across the road smsing.

Anyway – environmental time now – enjoy them while you can. To cut a huge and tough story short, we’re living in the ‘Century of declines‘. Take the time to brood over the content of that link on Richard Heinberg’s website. Basically, the earth’s resources are depleting like booze at a cheap wedding. Yes trees are being lost at an amazing rate (and thanks for washing rather than wiping – stick that on the bottom of your email!), yes oil supply is peaking any time after lunch, yes clean water (or any water) is in short supply in certain places, uranium has 50 years based on current reserves, rhino noses and tiger balls (natural resources? To some people, yes…) – the list goes on. And it goes on to some surprising places. Peak Helium anyone? Peak natural gas? Peak Phosphorus? Peak the-metals-that-make-mobile-phones-work? Peak Everything?

Researchers studying supplies of copper, zinc and other metals have determined that these finite resources, even if recycled, may not meet the needs of the global population forever, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

If they, our ancestors, live like westerners do, it goes on to say. But they’re certainly taking a refreshingly, wonderfully long, long view, even if the outcome is pretty final. How long is forever and for who, I wonder?

So.

Peak natural gas = tricky to make nitrate fertiliser without natural gas, which enables such a massive population to be fed.
Peak Phosphorus = similar to above except phosphate cannot be ‘made’ naturally (e.g. nitrogen fixing plants) and at the moment we’re flushing most phosphate down the toilet to be lost in the sea, rivers, landfill etc. See http://www.thehalfhog.com/2009/03/we-need-to-talk-about-toilets.html.
Peak Helium – Yes, no more party balloons! And many more things besides. Look it up!

“Don’t worry, the scientists will come up with something!” For some things, they just can’t.

Anyway, on a more positive note, 50 years from now, the world will be even more interesting than it is now! Hurrah!

Hello Moto!

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