here’s an item as we all waste away stumbling upon needles in the haystack of the Internet:
“Ethically, Jefferson was a Christian, but – as he put it – ‘a real Christian,’ who believed in the moral philosophy of Christ rather than the religion later created around Christ, which Jefferson felt would have appalled the man himself.”
Not So Much.
Sarah Palin’s Socialist Utopia of Alaska is second only to the Evil Empire New York in union representation.
Compare union representation to GDP per capita, by state:
…in Ayn Rand’s world, a man who self-righteously instigates the collapse of society, thereby inevitably killing millions if not billions of people, is portrayed as a messiah figure rather than as a genocidal prick, which is what he’d be anywhere else. Yes, he’s a genocidal prick with excellent engineering skills. Good for him. He’s still a genocidal prick.
2) We have crossed over into a new media era, one in which the rules, norms, forms, and whole institutions are in flux. There’s reason for both hope and despair.
3) But the question is not whether a reporter is either skeptical or cynical; the question is, About what?
In the case of rapid action to slow catastrophic climate change, the best alternatives appear to be: methane and soot.
“If the world pays attention and puts resources to it, we will see an effect immediately. I’m talking weeks, at most a few months, not decades or centuries.” —atmospheric physicist Veerabhadran Ramanathan of Scripps
— Eliminate methane releases from coal mines—particularly in China—by capturing it and burning it.
— Eliminate the venting or accidental release of methane co-produced by oil drilling (and, of course, gas drilling itself), particularly in Africa, the Middle East and Russia.
— Capture gas from landfills in the U.S. and China as well as promote recycling and composting of biodegradable trash.
— Occasionally aerate flooded rice paddies to prevent the growth of methane-producing microbes.
— Stop leaks from natural gas pipelines, particularly in Russia.
— Use bio-digesters—vessels in which microbes break down manure into gas—to cut methane from livestock globally.
— Update wastewater treatment plants to capture methane.
— Filter the soot produced by incomplete combustion of diesel fuel in vehicles, and attempt to eliminate inefficient internal combustion engine vehicles entirely.
— Replace indoor cooking and heating fires with clean-burning cookstoves fired either by wood, manure or other biomass or, even better, methane.
— Replace traditional brick kilns with more advanced firing methods.
— Replace traditional ovens for turning coal to coke with modern technologies.
— Ban the open burning of crop stubble and other agricultural waste.
The Seed Cathedral is 65 feet tall and is formed from 60,000 fiber optic rods.
Each fiber rod is 25 feet long and encloses one or more seeds at its tip !
EPA’s summary sheet December 2011 [pdf]
Phooey on words when video is better.
The OECD created a tower of debt, but no longer has the cheap natural resources to pay it back through growth. So, we’ll pay it with paper. —Gregor Macdonald
Mat Honan at Gizmodo breaking loose:
A place within me that is empty, and that I want to fill up. The hole makes me think electronics can help. And of course, they can.
They make the world easier and more enjoyable. They boost productivity and provide entertainment and information and sometimes even status. At least for a while. At least until they are obsolete. At least until they are garbage.
Electronics are our talismans that ward off the spiritual vacuum of modernity; gilt in Gorilla Glass and cadmium.
And in them we find entertainment in lieu of happiness, and exchanges in lieu of actual connections.
From the New York Times:
Nobody has a more complicated and intimate relationship with Mr. Romney’s hair than the man who has styled it for more than two decades, a barrel-chested, bald Italian immigrant named Leon de Magistris.
For years, Mr. de Magistris said in an interview, he has tried to persuade Mr. Romney, 64, to loosen up his look by tousling his meticulous mane.
“I will tell him to mess it up a little bit,” said Mr. de Magistris, 69. “I said to him, ‘Let it be more natural.’ ”
The suggestion has not gone over well.
“He wants a look that is very controlled,” Mr. de Magistris said.
“He is a very controlled man. The hair goes with the man.”
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.
As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.
‘Necessitous men are not free men.’
People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights underwhich a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being. ”
You are comfortable with feeling like you have no deep understanding of the problem you are studying. Indeed, when you do have a deep understanding, you have solved the problem and it is time to do something else. This makes the total time you spend in life reveling in your mastery of something quite brief. One of the main skills of research scientists of any type is knowing how to work comfortably and productively in a state of confusion.
Swayne Britt told us fantastical stories of ridiculous things, and fantastical stories of real things. He made us Cowboy Beans for lunch.
Once, when my parents were having a party and Swayne was there, a little English boy asked him who he was. Swayne said, ‘I’m a cowboy, son.’ The little boy looked at Swayne’s shirt and trousers, shook his head and replied, ‘I don’t believe you, Mister.’
You know what Swayne did? He put down his beer, got into his car and drove back to his house on the other side of that dusty city. He came back about an hour later all dressed up in his chaps and stetson and neckerchief. He winked and smiled at that little boy and said ‘Now do you believe me, son?’ That little boy was completely lost in the magic. He was in AWE. I bet he remembers that to this day.
And that’s the magic. Some people just have it.
Yeah, me and Laura, we loved Swayne Britt. We loved him a lot.
…stark fact of electronics manufacturing !
…excess hours, low wages, unhealthy conditions for millions.
“If you think about it, it’s mind boggling that we can buy Fair Trade coffee, tea and chocolate, “conflict-free” diamonds and clothing manufactured by companies happy to trumpet their labor practices, but no electronics manufacturer seems to have taken the slightest (public) notice of the conditions under which their goods are manufactured.”
“It’s hard not to look at the situation and wonder why companies like Apple, Samsung, HTC, Motorola (now owned by Google) and Microsoft can’t figure out a way to direct just a small portion of their margins toward making working conditions more humane.”
There’s much commentary.
Recent popular demonstrations, from the Middle East to Israel to the UK, and rising popular anger in China – and soon enough in other advanced economies and emerging markets – are all driven by the same issues and tensions: growing inequality, poverty, unemployment, and hopelessness. Even the world’s middle classes are feeling the squeeze of falling incomes and opportunities.
To enable market-oriented economies to operate as they should and can, we need to return to the right balance between markets and provision of public goods. That means moving away from both the Anglo-Saxon model of laissez-faire and voodoo economics and the continental European model of deficit-driven welfare states. Both are broken.
The right balance today requires creating jobs partly through additional fiscal stimulus aimed at productive infrastructure investment. It also requires more progressive taxation; more short-term fiscal stimulus with medium- and long-term fiscal discipline; lender-of-last-resort support by monetary authorities to prevent ruinous runs on banks; reduction of the debt burden for insolvent households and other distressed economic agents; and stricter supervision and regulation of a financial system run amok; breaking up too-big-to-fail banks and oligopolistic trusts.
Over time, advanced economies will need to invest in human capital, skills and social safety nets to increase productivity and enable workers to compete, be flexible and thrive in a globalized economy. The alternative is – like in the 1930s – unending stagnation, depression, currency and trade wars, capital controls, financial crisis, sovereign insolvencies, and massive social and political instability.
This brings us to the charge that the governments of industrial market capitalist societies are bankrupt.
Even as market outcomes seem increasingly unsatisfactory, budget pressures have constrained the ability of the public sector to respond. How and when – not whether – basic programmes of social protection will be cut back is now back on the table.
The basic solvency of too many capitalist states seems in question.
Yes you should see this, know this, feel this, do this.
Bobby McFerrin at TED, the natural appeal of the pentatonic scale.
It’s media doing media. Shaking hands. Dinner. Drinks. Profits.
“The Iowa Caucuses are presented as a news event, a mini-election with an informational outcome, a winner. But what they really are is a ritual, the gathering of a tribe, which affirms itself and its place in our political system by staging this thing every four years.”
Journalists are reporting on an event they have largely created…
“At the zoo that is the Iowa Caucus, the bar in the downtown Des Moines Marriott is like a communal watering hole where roving packs of reporters, political hacks, and even candidates assemble nightly to drain drinks and exchange political gossip.”
“They SAY they are bringing you news of what happened in Iowa. But what they’re really doing is maintaining their little society of insiders across yet another election cycle.”
When communities try to keep corporations from engaging in activities they don’t want, they often find they don’t have the legal power to say “no.” Why? Because our current legal structure too often protects the “rights” of corporations over the rights of actual human beings.
If we are to elevate our rights and the rights of our communities above those of a corporate few, we, too, need to transform the way laws work.
We’re offering the model Community Bill of Rights template, a legislative template for communities that want to protect their own rights.
It’s based on real laws already passed from the municipal to the national level…