our national parking snarl

We are a nutty nationhood: 

In the United States hundreds of engineers make careers out of studying traffic.

Entire freeway systems like L.A.’s have been hardwired with sensors connecting to computer banks that aggregate vehicle flow, monitor bottlenecks, explain congestion in complicated algorithms.

Yet cars spend just 5 percent of their lives in motion… !

…and until recently there was only one individual in the country devoting his academic career to studying parking lots and street meters: Donald Shoup.


free lunch of economic rent

Michael Hudson

Suppose you were alive back in 1945 and were told about all the new technology that would be invented between then and now: the computers and internet, mobile phones and other consumer electronics, faster and cheaper air travel, super trains and even outer space exploration, higher gas mileage on the ground, plastics, medical breakthroughs and science in general.

You would have imagined what nearly all futurists expected: that we would be living in a life of leisure society by this time. Rising productivity would raise wages and living standards, enabling people to work shorter hours under more relaxed and less pressured workplace conditions.

Why hasn’t this occurred in recent years? In light of the enormous productivity gains since the end of World War II – and especially since 1980 – why isn’t everyone rich and enjoying the leisure economy that was promised?

If the 99% is not getting the fruits of higher productivity, who is? Where has it gone?

can you honor what you steal??

Jon Taplin

99% of musicians, writers, actors are just “working the land”. They don’t need to get rich, they just want the honor of getting paid for their work.

Levon Helm and Garth Hudson made a good living ($150,000 a year) off royalties from The Band’s eight recordings in the 60′s and 70′s up until 2001 when the Big Pirate sites like Limewire and (in 2003) Pirate Bay really got going.

And then the record royalties came to a halt.

mountains said I could find you here

Try this elegant hello:

They told me to be careful up there
Where the wind blows a venomous rage through your hair
They told me to be careful up there
Where the wind rages through your hair

a first hand chilling account

In 2007, the cruise ship MV Explorer sank after hitting an iceberg off the Antarctic.

From my lower bunk I could not only hear the sound of ice banging and scraping against the hull of the ship, I could feel the vibrations of the impact through the wall and the cold radiating through the hull of the ship.

I was looking forward to setting foot on Antarctica, and wanted to make sure I was rested and ready to go the next day. I couldn’t let the banging of the ice keep me up all night… 

Then there was a bang followed by what sounded like a creaky door in a haunted house swinging open and closed.

The wall of my cabin flexed… !


the market that won’t market

Dan Crawford: 

The only commonality is that all of the medications we have seen in shortage status are off patent, generic medications, that are harder to formulate than various others and have a definable shelf life. 

President Obama has signed legislation that will give the FDA more latitude in heading off shortages, but this problem plainly reports to a market problem.

Demand exists, buyers are stable, but profits are not high on these medications. This would suggest that companies are simply avoiding generics and focusing on more profitable patented medications. 

Meanwhile, cancer trials have been put on hold… 

peeking into history

Photographs. Photographs. Photographs. Each tell a story. 

The Nationaal Archief in The Hague preserves almost one thousand years of history, in the form of over 110 kilometres [68 miles] of archives, almost 300,000 maps and drawings and more than 2 million photos. 

Hague Archives


flame retardant increases poison gas

Materials in our home that are doped with fire retardent may slow a fire but kill more people. 

Flame retardants in upholstered furniture and other household items to stop the spread of flames also increase emissions of two poisonous gases. Hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide are odorless, colorless chemicals, making them silent killers. 

Carbon monoxide is an important toxicant in fire effluents. However, we have seen that it is less important than hydrogen chloride from burning PVC, or hydrogen cyanide from burning nitrogen-containing polymers such as nylon, polyurethane or acrylic, in developed fires.

Hydrogen cyanide –  so lethal it was used in the Nazi gas chambers – is a bigger cause of fire deaths than previously thought. 

“If there is a fire, it doesn’t matter how big or how small, you have the possibility for those gases.”

the football loophole

Journalist Joshua Benton says, “I’m sure there are good legal reasons why the NFL is a nonprofit.” 

How can that be?! 

Attorney Andrew Delaney says the NFL is a “glorified tax shelter.” 

The salary of National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell is $11,554,000 while the National Football League is a 501(c)(6) non-profit. 

Sportswriter Frank Deford says, “I believe that professional wrestling is clean and everything else in the world is fixed.” Maybe so. Maybe so. 

you don’t know trouble


Meanwhile, the lion’s share of the money raised by star-studded awareness campaigns goes into researching potential genetic and environmental risk factors — not to improving the quality of life for the millions of autistic adults who are already here, struggling to get by. At the extreme end of the risks they face daily is bullying, abuse, and violence, even in their own homes…

do you memorize freedom?

Start here.
C’mon people.
It’s only one sentence ! 

Virginia Statute For Religious Freedom

Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as it was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporary rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow-citizens he has a natural right; that it tends only to corrupt the principles of that religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly,

That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

And though we well know that this assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act to be irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present, or to narrow its operation, such act shall be an infringement of natural right.

Stuck in traffic? 
Asleep in a school?
Lost on an urban sidewalk?  
It’s good to think a little Thomas Jefferson…