Friday, April 01, 2005

How is Pope Elected?

When the Pope dies the Cardinal Camerlengo must verify his death by calling his name 3 times. If the Pope is dead, the Cardinal Camerlengo becomes temporary boss. A period of 9 days of mourning occurs and then a funeral. 120 Cardinals, all under the age of 80, meet in the Sistine Chapel and cast two votes each morning and one vote each afternoon. Older Cardinals are not allowed to participate and Cardinals in the Conclave must have no contact with the outside world until a new Pope is elected. During the period of voting the Cardinals stay at a hotel like facility in the Vatican City called the Domus Sanctae Marthae. A silent ballot is used. A candidate requires 2/3 majority to be elected. However, if after 30 ballots a candidate does not get 2/3's of the votes, the requirement becomes half +1 of the votes. Technically any Catholic male of age is eligible to become Pope. However, the last time a non-clergyman was elected was in 1379, Pope Urban VI. I am not running for Pope.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Skiing at Whiteface - Things Not to Do

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Don't go skiing if you are really out of shape.
Spring skiing on crud is ok, but not if you haven't skied for 7 years.
Don't think that just because you could keep up with the kid when he was 8, you can still keep up now that he is 17.
All that being said, it really was fun to ski with old ski buddies after so many years. It was a beautiful warm Spring day and after three long runs I spent a couple hours sitting in the Sun on the deck reading research papers and drinking Ubu.

Monday, March 28, 2005

What Does the Future without Oil Hold?

Is this the year that oil production has peaked worldwide? Or will it be in 2007? It appears that oil production will be on a downward slide from here on out. What are the implications of less oil in the years to come? It doesn't seem likely that industrial based societies will be growing at a rate of 4-7% much longer. Steep international competition will cause the end of 'Globalism' and a trend towards regionalism. Military adventures over the possession of oil seem likely (oh yeah that has already happened). But will we be willing to go to war with China over oil in the future? What about a hydrogen based economy? Is that a fantasy or a coming reality? It seems to me that Americans will have to downscale their living styles. Air travel will become too expensive, maybe even travel by personal automobile. I would think the lack of oil will be the end of industrial agriculture and the reemergence of local farming. Could be scary times in the near future.