liveonearth: (Default)
 "The world
will be saved
by the western woman." 

--The Dalai Lama

liveonearth: (business dance)

What's distinctive about Sanders is not (or not simply) that he's an ideological purist who refuses to think pragmatically but that he just doesn't know or care very much about the details of how the world works, how to affect concrete change, and what the possible unintended consequences of major changes is likely to be. He'd rather rally the troops and give a rousing speech.
--Damon Linker in the Week, here:
http://theweek.com/articles/617065/bernie-sanders-hollow-aspirational-politics

I share this quote because I disagree.  I think that Bernie sees the writing on the wall, that this crash will either happen sooner and in an intentional way, or later in an even more devastating way.  Take apart the banks, or watch them take us apart.  Re-establish human decency or take care of just yourself.  This crossroads leads one way, the other way is inconceivable.  You just can't change directions when there is so much momentum.  Not without a crash.  Bernie knows that many people will die in the process, that poor people will loose the game, and that over generations rich people will be able to relocate to wherever they need to go to survive and propagate.  Idiocracy will come to pass if tRump is any indication of wealthy breeding.

I thought since the beginning that this polarity between tRump and Bernie is representative of the deepest cultural fissure in this nation.  It has been fascinating to watch it play out.

To assert that Bernie doesn't know how the world works is a pretty low blow.  He knows.  His heart broke a long time ago.  Now he's trying to do something to change it.  I appreciate his efforts and I wish that he'd team up with my old buddy Ron Paul (he's not too old) and connect the political circle.  If anybody knows what's going on, it's these old dudes.

liveonearth: (moon)

When I look back on all these worries,

I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed

that he had had a lot of trouble in his life,

most of which had never happened.

– Winston Churchill

liveonearth: (Volume 11 spinal tap)

Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change.
When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken
depend on the ideas that are lying around.
That, I believe, is our basic function:
to develop alternatives to existing policies,
to keep them alive and available
until the politically impossible becomes
the politically inevitable.

--Milton Friedman

liveonearth: (old books)
Foresight isn't
a mysterious gift bestowed at birth.
It is the product of particular ways of thinking,
of gathering information,
of updating beliefs.
These habits of thought can be learned and cultivated
by any intelligent, thoughtful,
determined person.

--Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner on page 18 in
Superforecasting; the Art and Science of Prediction
liveonearth: (Kiva)

There is a great deal of difference
between loss, change, and transformation.
A loss is a step backward;
a change is an opportunity;
transformation is a step forward.
The common denominator in these three realities
is the fact that one must
give up something.
It is possible for both loss and change to lead to transformation,
but it is not possible for transformation to occur unless
something is lost and something is changed.

–Anthony Padovano

liveonearth: (urban sitter)
Sounds like the planet's overall temperature increased by a whole degree in one year.  It may be time to stop trying to stop global warming, and start making plans about what to do about rising seas, receding ice, and the other direct impacts to people's lives.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/un-weather-agency-reports-2015-is-hottest-year-on-record/

(**tag note: merged "global warming" into "climate change")
liveonearth: (dancer romani)
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.


--Howard Zinn
liveonearth: (Homer Simpson "D'oh!")
Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it.
--Lily Tomlin
liveonearth: (critter 2)
It's simple. All we have to do is let Ebola decimate the human population.
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/04/doctor_doom_eric_pianka_receiv002118.html
We are not the only or most important species, but we think we are.

Somehow it helps me to keep the big picture in mind. We live, then we die. Our species rises to dominance, then fades. The planet goes on. The Universe goes on.
liveonearth: (critter 2)
That's a lot of people who can't shower in or cook with the water coming from the faucet. The solution to this pollution is said to be dilution, same as ever, which means people have to wait until enough good water has run through the system to wash out the chemical. The wildlife get no such warning. The symptoms are nausea and vomiting. I haven't found anything about longterm toxicity yet.

Events like this are manageable for populations wealthy enough to purchase bottled water or travel to cleaner digs. For impoverished folks and for the creatures and plants of the land, this is a true crisis.

The leak was a foaming agent used to wash coal, and it went from a 48,000 gallon storage tank straight into the Elk River. The primary component in the foaming agent that leaked is the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (CH3C6H10CH2OH). It has been patented as an air freshener and has a slightly minty odor (another good reason not to use air fresheners). It is used in ~20-25% of coal plans, mainly for "coking coal" which is used for metallurgical purposes, but not for making coal burned to make electricity ("steam coal") which is the lion's share of total coal produced.

The biz owning the leaky tank is called Freedom Industries, and it distributes mining reagents for WV, VA, PA, OH, MD, MN, KY, and MI. In 2008, Freedom Industries was specially selected by Georgia-Pacific Chemicals as a distributor of G-P's Talon brand mining reagents for the states already mentioned. Georgia-Pacific Chemicals is, of course, a subsidiary of Georgia-Pacific, which was acquired by Koch Industries in 2005. Koch is big biz, and should be penalized to assure that they will take better precautions in all their plants in the future.



SOURCES
Fresh Brains sent me this link:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/11/west-virginia-chemical-sp_n_4582100.html
National Geographic on the same leak:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140110-4-methylcyclohexane-methanol-chemical-spill-west-virginia-science/
Daily Kos
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/11/1268990/-Freedom-Industries-Has-Ties-to-Koch-Brothers
Koch Industries
http://www.kochind.com/
liveonearth: (moon)
Today on MoveOn they're soliciting for signatures on a petition to make Walmart pay its workers better. Moveon says it's an outrage that Wallyworld employees have to use public services for healthcare because can't afford better. What isn't mentioned is that they spent what they had on vehicles and fuel, guns, alcohol and cigarettes, mobile phones and flatscreens. And a roof over their head.

Minimum wage is law. No company can hire you over the table for anything less. Walmart can pay minimum wage and if people apply for and accept that job, they have made a deal with that company. If they don't like it, they can quit, get another job. If there isn't another job, they can start their own business, or be useful to a family business or take care of an aging elder. They can run for office, start a protest, try and change the minimum wage. There is no shame in doing these things. The shame is in doing nothing. I just don't know how far from nothing this petition is. Having a grievance is not the same as having a solution.

When the economy contracts, families get closer. The resources that we do have get shared with those we care about. The death rate went down in the Great Depression, perhaps for this reason.

I can't get on board with political efforts to increase "jobs" because what "jobs" means is working for large corporations which will strike the best deal they can get for everything including manpower. It's the game, and winning for the 1% means never having to worry about a job. The worker never wins. The worker is a cog in a machine that cares nothing about him and will replace him the moment he begins to crack. The safety net may ease his passage a bit, but it is easy to get caught in.

To be trapped in the safety net is to lose your self respect, to become depressed, to want to die. This may be why so many white American men commit suicide. Middle-aged white guys commit suicide more than anybody else. Perhaps the veterans are driving that statistic.
liveonearth: (hotspring geology rainbow)
They're predicting that in most parts of the world the new "average" will be warmer than the previous "hot" (exceeds bounds of historical variability), beginning between 2033 and 2061 (global average 2047 if we keep going the way we are). Local variations are expected. Tropical regions should get uncomfortable before elsewhere. Even a serious effort to stabilize spiraling greenhouse gas emissions will only stave off these changes until around 2069. The study was published in Nature and included 39 different models from 21 teams in 12 countries, which surprisingly all pretty much agreed.

'Uncomfortable' climates to devastate cities within a decade, study says, John Roach NBC News

Study Abstract
Ecological and societal disruptions by modern climate change are critically determined by the time frame over which climates shift beyond historical analogues. Here we present a new index of the year when the projected mean climate of a given location moves to a state continuously outside the bounds of historical variability under alternative greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Using 1860 to 2005 as the historical period, this index has a global mean of 2069 (±18 years s.d.) for near-surface air temperature under an emissions stabilization scenario and 2047 (±14 years s.d.) under a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario. Unprecedented climates will occur earliest in the tropics and among low-income countries, highlighting the vulnerability of global biodiversity and the limited governmental capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change. Our findings shed light on the urgency of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions if climates potentially harmful to biodiversity and society are to be prevented.

Detroit

Jul. 29th, 2013 09:58 pm
liveonearth: (moon)
Now that they've officially declared bankruptcy, Detroit can start to turn around. The rest of US cities that haven't found a way to deal with shortfalls, well, they can see the writing on the wall in this article. The big banks are still getting paid. They own us.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/opinion/come-see-detroit-americas-future.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0
liveonearth: (moon)
It sounds cruel, but survivors laugh and play, and even in the most horrible situations--perhaps especially in those situations--they continue to laugh and play. To deal with reality you first much recognize it as such...and play puts a person in touch with his environment, while laughter makes the feeling of being threatened manageable.

...Laughter stimulates the left prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that helps us to feel good and be motivated. That stimulation alleviates anxiety and frustration. There is evidence that laughter can send chemical signals to actively inhibit the firing of nerves in the amygdala, thereby dampening fear. Laughter, then, can help temper negative emotions.


Laurence Gonzales in Deep Survival, page 41.
liveonearth: (Montana Mountains)
‎We need wilderness
whether or not we ever set foot in it.
We need a refuge
even though we may never need to go there....
We need the possibility of escape
as surely as we need hope.

--Edward Abbey

And in case you care, wilderness in Utah and Wyoming just won a reprieve from development. Oil and gas developers want to extract from public lands there, and were thwarted one more time in court.

At the time this appeal began, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had already issued thousands of leases for energy development in the states with contested leases, including nearly 17,000 leases in Wyoming and more than 4,100 leases in Utah. The oil and gas industry had only developed 33 percent of its leases in Wyoming and 22 percent of its leases in Utah, leaving millions of acres open to energy development where the Interior Department has already issued leases.
liveonearth: (Default)
http://www.resilience.org/
Looks like a great forum for the effort to build resilient communities.

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