by Kim Pederson…….
On the PBS NewsHour recently, they were discussing the difficult housing situation in San Francisco, difficult as in no one without an insanely large income can afford to live there. In 2014, the US median income was $53,657. If you lived somewhere else in the United States, say Miami, and earned $100,000 per year, well above the median, you would have to increase your earnings nearly 50% to $147,818 to live at the same level in SF. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in SF in May 2016 was $3,648, a number that has risen $300 in the last six months. One of the reasons for this high-rent situation, PBS told us, was something called shadow rules. Simply put, the shadow rules forbid developers to build anything that would cast shadows (or over a certain amount of shadow) on designated areas within the city. This makes it difficult, pretty much impossible really, to build tall high-density apartment buildings, which would help bring down rents, in many locations in San Francisco.
I can understand the motivation behind the shadow rules. Just as someone with an ocean view would prefer not to have something built in front of their house that blocks the vista, people would like the public areas where they go to enjoy the sun, not an easy find in most built-up cities, to stay untouched by shade. Imagine if someone built 300-story skyscrapers all around Central Park. While everyone should watch their solar exposure, no one wants to turn into Morlocks either. Solution to this problem? Perhaps buildings that just bend the sunlight around them with mirrors or whatever and thus eliminate the shadow problem.
So discovering the existence of real-estate shadow rules was one thing I can thank PBS for here. Another is the story prompting me to look at shadows more closely, which taught me that a shadow is not just a shadow but the umbra, penumbra, and antumbra as shown above. These are the three distinct parts of shadows “created by a light source impinging on an opaque object.” Enough said there, I think. I hear an ominous sizzling coming from my frontal lobes.
I also discovered, and this was equally mind-blowing, a fourth type of shadow: Donald Trump. Donald is, at least according to Deepak Chopra, “America’s Shadow.” Chopra writes
…in reality Trump isn’t bizarre or anomalous. He stands for something universal, something right before our eyes. It’s an aspect of the human psyche that we feel embarrassed and ashamed of, which makes it our collective secret. Going back a century in the field of depth psychology, the secret side of human nature acquired a special name: the shadow.
DC goes on to define “shadow” as “all the dark impulses–hatred, aggression, sadism, selfishness, jealousy, resentment, sexual transgression–that are hidden out of sight.” And rather scarily, he also tells us that “what hides in the shadows will out.” DC sees America as in a battle with its own shadow embodied in DT. Demonizing the shadow will do no good, he advises. Refusing to stoop to DT’s level is one way of defeating the shadow, he thinks, that is, DC optimistically believes the higher brain in humans, i.e., Americans, will win out over the lower brain.
I have to respectfully disagree. DC has the right idea in calling DT “America’s Shadow” but he doesn’t get it quite right. What DT really clearly manifests is the dreaded Monster from the Id. And as you probably know, there is only one thing that can defeat the DTIM [Donald Trump Id Monster]. So, Hilary, if you’re listening, here is your perfect VP candidate: Robby the Robot. Not only would he be great at defeating the DTIM, or at least driving him back into the shadows, but after you’re elected he would be fabulous on VPFFMs [vice presidential fluff foreign missions] because, as he modestly puts it, “If you do not speak English, I am at your disposal with 187 other languages along with their various dialects and sub-tongues.”
* “Umbra, Penumbra, and Antumbra” by Qarnos – Own work, Public Domain.
Visit Kim Pederson’s blog RatBlurt: Mostly Random Short-Attention-Span Musings.