What An Arizona Summer Feels Like

What An Arizona Summer Feels Like

What it's like to live through hell...I mean an Arizona summer.
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An excessive-heat warning this past weekend was just what we needed to kick-start this summer into full gear. Pools are open, water parks are running and air conditioners are pumping. Doors stay closed, windows are shaded and sane people stay indoors. Note that 115 degree weather is no joke and unless you live here or until you visit during the worst time of the year, you won't be able to understand the smothering and claustrophobic heat of Arizona's summer environment.

Arizona is great. There's a good chunk of the year where its residents are able to play sports, go hiking, go mountain biking, camp and participate in other outdoor activities without the weather being a problem. When May rolls around, temperatures start to pick up. Once June makes its grand entrance, it's all downhill from there. You can't go outside without feeling like your skin is baking under the sun. It honestly feels like we live in a giant oven that just keeps getting hotter as the summer weeks go by.

While it often feels like we live in an oven, here's another comparison of the heat we are forced to endure here in the southwest. Most of the time, the outside air is stiff, but when nature decides to let a little breeze through, it feels like your face is burning off and the hot wind momentarily blocks your ability to breathe.

This may seem silly, but to the common Arizonan, using an oven mitt to protect your hands while driving is up there with the most clever of ideas. You also know that leather seats are an absolute no-no, unless you want a few layers of skin to peel off when the time comes to get into your car. Another vehicle cautionary is the metal part of the seat-belt. You're basically being branded if you let that scorching piece of metal touch you because that's how quick and sharp the pain is.

At some point during the summer, you stop checking the weather forecast altogether. It's usually the same every day: hot and sunny. While temperatures can range from 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit on any given day, you know that ultimately it all feels the same — like death.

"But wait! It's a dry heat! That's so much better than the hot and humid combination."

I've experienced the scorching heat of the dry desert, as well as the hot and humid combination of summer in China. Heat is heat and it all sucks. Sure you might be constantly soaked in your own sweat if you add humidity to the summer mix, but if you're outside for more than 10 minutes in the dry heat, you'll be basking in your own sweat too.

I mean, while hell is assumed to be a fiery inferno, I'd be lying if I said I don't think the same of Arizona summers.

I've personally never seen a person chilling in an ice cooler, but it's definitely not a shabby idea. There are times when you're working or out running errands when you want nothing more than a cold shower or to be buried under a giant mounds of ice until it's safe to come out again.

Standing on the sun is a spot-on comparison to going outside in Phoenix, Arizona. It's hotter than many other cities in this state, often by 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit. It's honestly a disgrace to nature and it baffles me how one place can take so much heat. Somehow, despite the sickening heat, it still manages to be the sixth biggest and most populated city in the United States. Why so many people subject themselves to this torture is beyond me.


Yeah, Arizona summers really suck. There's not much to do besides work, go to summer school or spend hours in the pool. Even then, the water loses its feeling of refreshment after awhile. As summer ends and "fall," "winter" and "spring" takes its place, you forget how absurdly disgusting the summer heat is. However, being the desert rats we are, our bodies acclimate once again and the heat becomes more of an annoying constant rather than the topic of complaining conversation when it first arrives. Stay strong you beautiful Arizonans.




Cover Image Credit: nodepostitforum.com

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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The Green New Deal: Our Death Bells Are Ringing

I hate the Green New Deal, so I've analyzed how it would spell ruin for America.

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The Green New Deal - originally the brainchild of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (Socialist from New York) has been making the news recently. Before we begin, I would just like to thank my brother for helping me to find some statistics and images for this report as well as helping me write some aspects of it. I am personally very much against the notion that our country should mobilize behind this cause due to several unfeasible financial demands, and several innovations that would absolutely devastate the American economy. Should our country get behind this; I absolutely do not think that we should. This would spell absolute economic and social ruin for the world's greatest nation: The United States of America

So, let's break this 'Green New Deal' down, shall we? I put my opinion within each section as to why I believe this would be like sounding the death bell for the United States of America.

Objective #1: "Meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources"

Meeting 100% of America's power demand through renewable energy presents a whole host of problems that, quite frankly, make this objective impossible to reach within any reasonable time frame. For starters, the cost of replacing America's entire energy grid with renewable energy is estimated to cost somewhere in the ballpark of 5 trillion dollars. This does not account for the cost of maintenance (though it should be minimal) and more importantly the cost of storing all the energy generated by renewable sources (which should be astronomically expensive and environmentally unfriendly).

The cost of storing power from peak energy producing times would wipe out any benefits there may be from the cheaper production costs of renewable energy because the batteries which would be used to store the energy are both expensive and temporary (they must be replaced). Initially, a system with the ability to store enough energy to cover only 80% of America's electricity demand for 12 hours would cost nearly 2.5 trillion dollars. At 100% the cost would rise sharply.

One illustration of this phenomena is shown by a graph of California's projected energy costs as renewable energy implementation rises:

Storage is also vital to the implementation of renewable energy because renewable energy cannot continuously provide a constant source of power to meet America's constant demand for energy throughout the year. Again, I present you a graph of California's seasonal renewable energy production:

I use California as an example not to bash liberals but to show the effects of moving to renewable energy (they are a leader in RE).

In my opinion Objective #1 is doomed to fail from the start because there are too many obstacles for it to be implemented in a cost-effective manner. But anyway, moving onto Objective #2.

Objective #2: Building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and 'smart' power grids, and working to ensure affordable access to electricity

If I'm being honest, I didn't know what a smart power grid was until I looked it up. This is what I found.

The smart grid has the potential to bring the United States a more stable, economical, and environmentally friendly electrical system. Unfortunately, it is far from the unalloyed plus portrayed to the public. The cost will be high: Although the economic stimulus program approved by Congress last year included $4.5 billion to help create the smart grid, the full build-out will cost at least a couple of hundred billion dollars more. The potential savings will justify the cost only if the smart grid brings sweeping changes in the way consumers use and pay for electricity. But these changes have the potential to saddle them with unnecessarily high prices, force them to bear unnecessary risks, and make their local utility company an uninvited participant in the intimate details of their everyday lives.

Is the Smart Grid Really a Smart Idea? | Issues in Science and Technology

As I understand it, the smart grid comes with many bells and whistles that mostly have to do with monitoring and providing data on energy usage. I'm no expert on the smart grid so if anyone wants to chime in that would be much appreciated, but initially, I'm left with the question: are the benefits worth the cost? That remains to be answered.

Objective #3: Upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification.

As of 2012, the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey estimates that there are 5.6 million commercial buildings in the United States. No one knows what the cost of making each one of those buildings "green" would be. We don't even know what criteria a building must meet in order to be considered "green" is. With the different standards and regulations, the government is bound to impose, Objective #3 seems like a bureaucratic nightmare. I'd say it's a big fat NOPE from me.


And here is a nice photo of Chicago's lovely skyline to cheer you all up. https://www.redbubble.com/people/vidin2005/works/6306129-chicago-skyline?p=poster

Objective #4: Overhauling transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in (i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing; (ii) clean, affordable, and accessible public transportation; and (iii) high-speed rail.

Let's dissect this one by one.

First, funding zero-emission vehicle infrastructure should not necessarily be too difficult. The question is of whether or not it is necessary. If people aren't using green modes of transportation then there is no need for green infrastructure to support them. This brings us to our next point. Increasing zero-emission vehicle manufacturing will be nearly impossible to achieve if nobody wants to buy eco-friendly vehicles in the first place. Subsidies provided to eco-friendly car producers and tax breaks given to eco-friendly car customers have proven relatively ineffective in the past so it remains to be seen how zero-emission vehicle manufacturing can be boosted.

Second, replacing our nation's current transportation vehicles with environmentally friendly ones will take a substantial initial investment on the part of the government. One of the chief benefits of doing this would be to reduce the costs associated with operating gas-powered transportation vehicles. On the flip side, gas prices have been kept relatively low in recent years negating some of the benefits that comes with operating environmentally friendly vehicles.

Third, well, we all know what happened to California's high-speed rail. Why would one that is built by the Federal government fare any better? In the words of Gavin Newsom (California's governor) it "would cost too much and, respectfully, would take too long to complete." Essentially, he's saying the project just isn't worth it.

Objective #5: Removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and reducing pollution, including by restoring natural ecosystems through proven low-tech solutions that increase soil carbon storage, such as preservation and afforestation.

Hip hip hooray! We've found our first fully feasible part of the Green New Deal… plant some trees. I don't even think the government could screw this one up. But then again, they've proven me wrong before…

Next!

Objective #6: Working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible.

This objective essentially aims to cut down on… wait for it… animal farts. LOL

Of course, I should've seen this one coming. Right as the Green New Deal made it's first (and only?) sensible point, it had to turn around and make one of the most laughable proposals in the history of deal-making.

How do they think they can even combat cow farts anyway? Change cow's diets? Reduce the number of cows we raise? I don't know about that second idea. Us Americans are a bunch of red-blooded meat eating carnivores. Of all the proposals here, limiting America's access to meat might just be the most likely to cause a domestic uprising.


MMMMMM Trump Steaks. Yummyhttps://www.sharperimage.com/si/view/product/Trump+Steaks/888888

Objective #7: Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.

SOCIALISM! SOCIALISM! SOCIALISM!

Ohhhh boy where do I even start?

Guaranteeing everyone a job with a family-sustaining wage… so does that mean one couple is going to earn enough to sustain two families? Where are you going to get all this money? Also, a "family-sustaining wage" will differ depending on where you live. Then there's the loss of incentive for people to work hard/do a good job when they know everything will be handed to them for nothing in return. I could go on and on about how many problems guaranteeing everyone a job would create, but in the interest of keeping paragraph concise, I'll just say it's a stupid idea.

Adequate family and medical leave: What counts for family/medical leave? How many days off will people get? How will this affect our economy and our workers? So many questions and so few answers.

With paid vacation, again the question remains: how many days off will people get? More importantly, though I think is how these paid days off will affect our workers. As with everything else in this world, there are tradeoffs to working less. Most notably workers will be paid less annually because companies don't want to pay more for people who spend less time on the job. Here is a graphic of the countries with the most paid leave.


MONEYhttps://www.statista.com/chart/15005/statutory-minimum-paid-leave-and-public-holidays/

Now here are the Average annual wages for the top 5 countries on that graph:

  • United Kingdom- $43,732
  • France- $43,755
  • Spain- $38,507
  • Germany- $47,585
  • Chile- $25,879

And here is the average annual wage for the United States:

  • United States: $60,558

Now we've got to ask ourselves: would we rather work less and get paid less or we happy with the way things are right now?

And finally, we have retirement security for all people of the United States. In case Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn't know, Social Security is now spending more cash than it is taking in. By 2034 Social Security is expected to spend up to the 2.9 trillion dollars worth of asset reserves we have saved to keep the program afloat. After those assets are depleted, Social Security is estimated to suffer a $13.2 trillion cash shortfall between 2034 and 2092. I don't think spending more on Social Security will fix our problem. We need to either cut benefits or raise revenue or Social Security is toast.

Objective #8: Strengthening and enforcing labor, workplace health and safety, anti-discrimination, and wage and hour standards across all employers, industries, and sectors.

This objective sounds like lots of paperwork, inefficiency, and bureaucracy with more affirmative action and a $15 minimum wage. Terrific, just what this country needs. Just kidding.

The solution to every problem isn't always more government. Last year the Federal Bureaucracy cost taxpayers $58 billion. I'd say we paid $58 billion too much for a bunch of paper pushers. Also, fun fact, the cost of Federal regulations reached $1.88 trillion as of 2014. So you tell me what part of expanding the bureaucracy and pushing more regulations through sounds good for our economy.

Discrimination in the workplace is already illegal so I won't touch that one. Affirmative action doesn't help minorities either and really only adds to worsening race relations. We need equal opportunity and not equal outcome. This ain't it.

Wage and hour standards will only end up hurting the people such standards aim to protect. Raising minimum wage to $15 dollars will force companies to lay off many low skilled workers because even if the minimum wage rises, a company's ability to pay its employees stays the same. Also, machines aren't paid and don't have to follow hour standards. This idea will only hasten automation in the workplace.

Here's a graph of the effects of the $15 minimum wage.

The source from above was taken from my AP Economics class last year.

Objective #9: Providing and leveraging, in a way that ensures that the public receives appropriate ownership stakes and returns on investment, adequate capital (including through community grants, public banks, and other public financing), technical expertise, supporting policies, and other forms of assistance to communities, organizations, Federal, State, and local government agencies, and businesses working on the Green New Deal mobilization.

Ah yes, seizing the means of production. How wonderful. I don't even feel the need to dispute this one. Public ownership is not compatible with our American economic system. Perhaps in Venezuela but not in America.

Objective #10: Providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on the frontline and vulnerable communities, so those communities may be full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization.

Free college. Another well-intentioned terrible idea by our friends the benevolent socialists. The cost of providing free higher education to each student in America is estimated to sit at around $75 billion annually. That's no drop in the bucket, but really if it was it still wouldn't even be worth it. Graduating with a college degree isn't anything special when everyone else has one too. It'll just become like a high school diploma: a certificate that you made it through the next stage in your educational journey.

Objective #11: Strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment.

Want more unions? Look at Detroit, where labor unions all but killed the automotive industry by demanding ever-increasing wages and benefits thus forcing companies to shut down domestic manufacturing plants and send production overseas. Look at Chicago where teacher unions are sucking the city's budget dry with demands for higher pay and lavish pensions. For that matter look at most any city around America and see how the grip that unions hold over politicians corrupts and dismantles the political process.


Run Down Detroit neighborhoodhttps://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/07/11/hud-secretary-announces-cities-plan-in-detroit/

What a beautiful day to take a stroll through Motor City.

Objective #12: Obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous people for all decisions that affect indigenous people and their traditional territories, honoring all treaties and agreements with indigenous people and protecting and enforcing the sovereignty and land rights of indigenous people.

Sounds about right. We should honor any and all agreements made with indigenous people, or any people for that matter.

Objective #13: Enacting and enforcing trade rules, procurement standards, and border adjustments with strong labor and environmental protections.

So from what I understand this part of the Green New Deal seeks to keep jobs from moving overseas where there are less stringent environmental protection laws. I'm not sure how this could be achieved. Maybe by giving more subsidies to companies who choose to stay in the USA while placing tariffs on imports from countries that don't have environmentally friendly laws? Democrats seem to hate both of those right now though. That probably won't work. I think what is most likely to happen is the rentry of the United States into the Paris Climate Agreement (which was not a good deal but that's an entirely different post) with strict enforcement of the deal.

Objective #14: Providing all people of the United States with — (i) high-quality healthcare; (ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing; (iii) economic security; and (iv) access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature.

All of the above have already been tried here and have failed miserably (except iv?).

Providing every person in the USA with high-quality healthcare is impossible to achieve at a reasonable cost. Canada's single-payer healthcare system cost $230 billion in 2016, and they have only 1/10th of the population of the United States. Additionally, the average wait time to see a doctor in Canada is 20 weeks and dental, ambulance and many other services, as well as prescription medications, must be paid for out of pocket. Furthermore, many Canadians come to America to receive treatment for their illnesses because we oftentimes have shorter wait periods and better results for the same procedures. Single payer healthcare doesn't sound so great now, does it?

Creating affordable, safe (emphasis on safe), and adequate housing has already been tried and has, for the most part, been a failure. The nice looking high rise building the government constructs quickly become run down ghettos that are magnets for drugs, crime and gang activity. The government isn't doing the poor any favors by crowding them into unsafe and unsanitary housing projects where the cycle of poverty continues. Obviously, something should be done for the poor, but building more projects isn't that something.

Economic security: see objective #7.

Finally, providing access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature is complicated…

Obviously providing access to clean water is essential to the health and well being of our nation. One study found that nearly 63 million Americans either currently are or have been exposed to unclean drinking water. That's nearly 1/5 of our population so I suppose that of all the initiatives proposed in objective #14, clean water should take priority. Next, we want clean air which essentially means less pollution. I've already covered pollution so I'll skip over clean air here.

Access to healthy and affordable food is more complicated. In the USA, cheap food is often times synonymous with junk food. If the government wants to encourage more people to eat healthily then they will need to find a way to make healthy food more affordable, especially for low-income people.

Lastly, nature. I'm not sure how the government plans on providing free access to nature for city dwellers. It's not like they can just bulldoze a couple of buildings and replace them with trees. The idea seems kind of silly to me but if they can find a way to incorporate nature into city life at a relatively cheap price then go for it.

Ah, FINALLY this post comes to an end. It's been a long and tedious journey, and if you made it all the way through it, thanks for reading.

So to answer the question, do I agree that our economy needs to mobilize behind the 'Green New Deal'?

TL;DR- No

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