In his new book Ciphers
, German photographer Christopher Gielen
) reveals haunting images of our endlessly repetitive development through aerial views of American urban sprawl. [more inside]
The NFL's Modern Man: How Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin — a bike-riding, socially conscious, Animal Collective–loving hipster — is redefining what it means to be a football player.
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio
 actually makes a case against austerity
 and for redistribution, but also for money printing
(and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public
investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore
, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)
... [more inside]
Scientific American reports:
"An isolated population of Arctic foxes that dines only on marine animals seems to be slowly succumbing to mercury poisoning." Though a definitive causal link is difficult to establish, an isolated population of arctic foxes on Russia's Mednyi Island is believed to be collapsing due to mercury contamination as a result of its seafood-heavy diet. Where
does all that mercury in the environment
come from anyway? Why, it's another biproduct of burning fossil fuels, of course, and predictably, rates of mercury pollution are only expected to increase
. In some places in the US, even rainwater
is showing high levels of contamination. [more inside]
Earlier this month, British Petroleum agreed to plead guilty
to 14 violations of law, including negligence causing death and the Clean Water Act. [more inside]
is the Republican Majority Leader of the Georgia State Senate, and Treasurer of ALEC (previously 1 2)
. On October 11th he hosted a four-hour briefing for his fellow senators, regarding Obama's mind-control techniques which are forcing the US into a United Nations-led Communist dictatorship in which suburbanites are forcibly relocated to cities
. The theory is based on Agenda 21
, the non-binding 1992 UN treaty on sustainable development. Rogers narrowly failed to pass a resolution
against Agenda 21, but other states have done so, and Alabama has even forbidden its implementation in law
It is still June 13 for the Parliament of Canada
, where voting has continued overnight on the "omnibus budget bill
), due to 159 separate amendment votes that have been forced by the opposition. None are likely to pass
, but the arduous process is meant to function as a protest
against legislation which many critics have argued
goes far beyond the scope of a traditional budget. [more inside]
Subsidizing Healthy Foods by Taxing Unhealthy Foods.
Mark Bitman proposes a "national program that would make progress on a half-dozen problems at once — disease, budget, health care, environment, food access and more — while paying for itself." [NYT] [more inside]
Despite the federal election focus
on BC ridings, Vancouverites are having a hard time looking past the municipal
. Things are quite dramatic in the urban planning scene. The city's regional growth plan was recently paralyzed by disagreement from Coquitlam
. TransLink announced permanent cuts to bus service during Earth Week, describing it as "service optimization,"
highlighting its own chronic funding issues
. The city successfully stopped a "megacasino" project
after community backlash, but the $3 billion freeway Gateway Project
continues despite ongoing protests.
As the city struggles to find its way to the goal of Greenest City 2020
, it's a good time to look at the paths not taken, via this excellent podcast on Vancouver's relationship with roadways
. Part of a series called "Moving Through
" from the Museum of Vancouver
. [more inside]
’s Heyoka Magazine project January 2005 though June 2010 is now completed.
All 34 volumes
The Interviews section
is a treasure trove from
to Rick del Savio
to David Michael Kennedy
Many reference Native American culture today:
Tommy Lightening Bolt
Mala Spotted Eagle
William Under Baggage
and Pete Catches
The range is great from
Photos of the Apatani
in Arunachal Pradesh to extreme bikram yoga
and Leonard Cohen Everybody knows
. The list goes on.
Heyoka has morphed into non duality magazine
In 1926, Nikolai Vavilov
founded the world's first modern seedbank, and amassed a collection which today contains over 90% unique varieties of plant, contained in no other collection in existence. For his opposition to Lysenkoism
he died in prison, and several of his colleagues famously
starved to death instead of eating their specimens during the Siege of Leningrad. Now the Pavlovsk seedbank
facility has been seized by the Federal Agency for Public Estate Management
, and pending a court ruling will be demolished - contents and all - to build a housing development.
The collection cannot be moved in time because it is a working seedbank of living plants.
40 Things You Need to Know About the Next 40 Years
For it's 40th anniversary issue, Smithsonian magazine asks experts in various fields for insights into our future and compiles a list of 40 predictions about the future of science, nature, the arts and technology. The feature essay is by President Obama, in which he explains why he's optimistic
about America's future. (VIA) [more inside]
With capitalism in crisis
, can it be sustained
or is it altogether outdated
? As Umair Haque asks though, perhaps a better question is
: "are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses?" [more inside]
Why a Progressive Presidency Is Impossible, for Now. And what we should do about it. (one-page link
Merchants of Doubt
is a new book that reports how a small group of scientists committed to an extreme free-market ideology have been employed by large corporations over several decades to cast doubt on such different environmental issues as the risks of tobacco smoke, the dangers of DDT, the effectiveness of the Strategic Defence Initiative, the regulation of CFCs, and the causes of global warming. A review
in the Christian Science Monitor calls this "one of the most important books of the year. Exhaustively researched and documented..."
The public's opinion
of the field of climatology has been shaken by the leaked
CRU emails. While it's arguable
that the messages show any wrongdoing
, many pundits
have now reached the conclusion that global warming is a hoax, coverup and conspiracy, years in the making with millions of faked datapoints. Sarah Palin has written an editorial
saying Obama should boycott the Copenhagen COP15
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year
, NATO may lose in Afghanistan
, the UK gets a regime change
, China needs to chill
, India's factories will overtake its farms
, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum
, the stimulus will need an exit strategy
, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2"
, African football
will unite Korea
, conflict over natural resources will grow
, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled
, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable)
, technology will grow ever more ubiquitous
, we'll all charge our phones via USB
, MBAs will be uncool
, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest
, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world
. And so the Tens
The Economist: The World in 2010
. [more inside]
Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus
want to change the way countries think about global warming
. Instead of treating carbon as a pollutant, and legislating our way out of a climate crisis, they suggest a "challenge" approach to the problem—igniting a creative fire under companies and even the federal government to create new and cheaper solutions instead of more loophole-filled legislation. [more inside]
1946—2006. Short articles chronicling North Rhine-Westphalia. The site has one rather large shortcoming though, the video clips cannot be accessed (only available on VHS within the State!).
Geoengineering and the New Climate Denialism.
"[S]ometimes the politics around an issue become so twisted that it's necessary to address the politics before we can have a real discussion about the problems and how to solve them. That's the case with geoengineering
Smoke and Mirrors: The Subversion of the EPA.
"This four-part series details how the Bush administration weakened the EPA
. It installed a pliant agency chief, Stephen L. Johnson. Under him, the EPA created pro-industry regulations later thrown out by the courts. It promoted a flawed voluntary program to fight climate change. It bypassed air pollution recommendations from its own scientists to satisfy the White House." [Via Reality Base]
How Millennial Youth Are Taking Over America And Changing Our World Forever (via
) [more inside]
"Dear Mr. President-Elect,
It may surprise you to learn that among the issues that will occupy much of your time in the coming years is one you barely mentioned during the campaign: food." Michael Pollan advises the next president on what he can and should do to remake the way we grow and eat our food. [Via]
Andy Grove on Our Electric Future
- "Energy independence [viz.]
is the wrong goal. Here is a plan Americans can stick to." Perhaps some infrastructure spending1,2
is in order? [etc., &c., cf.] [more inside]
"Why do some people continue to hold Rachel Carson
responsible for millions of malaria deaths?" [more inside]
"The next president of the United States of America will control a $150 billion annual research budget, 200,000 scientists, and 38 major research institutions and all their related labs. This president will shape human endeavors in space
, bioethics debates, and the energy landscape of the 21st century." With the coming election, the AAAS
has created a new website
and devoted a section of their journal Science
to the Democratic
candidates' positions on science
issues. But to help further clarify their positions
, some people are calling
for the candidates to have a presidential debate on science and technology
. [Via The Intersection and Wired Science.]
The dangers of living in a zero-sum world economy
- naked capitalism
reprints (with added commentary) an FT article
by Martin Wolf on why it's vital for (civilised) society to sustain a 'positive-sum' world, otherwise: "A zero-sum economy leads, inevitably, to repression at home and plunder abroad." Wolf's solution? "The condition for success is successful investment in human ingenuity." Of course! Some
are calling for more socialism
, while others
would press on to build more megaprojects
. For me, at least part of the solution lies in environmental accounting
and natural capitalism
Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal
by Joel Salatin. This Saturday will mark this article's four year anniversary. Frankly, I was mildly surprised not to have found it mentioned before in MeFi. It's a good read about a sad state of affairs; how our government is turning its own people into outlaws, because freedom has been traded in for an illusion of security. ...but then we already knew that. Don't we?
is now understood
to have many medical consequences
unique to its modern application as munitions
, due to its incendiary, aerosolizing behavior
when pulverized. (Rosalie Bertell explains
, youtube) It has become a leading candidate for the cause
of Gulf War syndrome, and was associated with massive increases in cancer and birth defects in Basra
. The EU has called for a moratorium
on its use four times, and WHO is deeply concerned
with its consequences, but the USA (with Canadian complicity
) and Russia continue to use it in Iraq and elsewhere. (prev: 1 2 3 4 5
China Praises Its Progress Toward Olympics.
With one year to go
before the 2008 Olympics
, China still has many challenges ahead, like dealing with Beijing's terrible air pollution
. There is still much criticism over China's record on human rights
and freedom of the press
, and some protests
. But perhaps the most embarrassing public relations setback is that one of the official mascots
) the Tibetan Antelope
, has defected from China's Olympic team
and gone underground to campaign
for a free Tibet
. [Some links via BB and MoFi.]
A Canadian public servant who leaked Conservative green policy documents, was taken away in handcuffs and fired
- Jeffrey Monaghan calls the government's actions "a profound threat to the public interest" and "an extension of a government-wide communications strategy pinned on secrecy, intimidation and centralization."
The documents outlined the Conservative's dismissal of the Kyoto Protocol and were to be released to the public a week later. Let the media panic begin: some have
focused on Monaghan's political activism, others accuse
corporate media of scapegoating Monaghan. Question is - if the documents were to be released to the public anyway, is this even whistleblowing? The environment minister says no
. NDP environment critic Nathan Cullen says yes
. Liberal leader Stephane Dion calls the Tories' actions "an attempt of intimidation ... although I have no sympathy at all for leaks."
The Green Scare: Rod Coronado
gave a talk in San Diego and the feds called his words ‘terrorism.’ How new laws are equating environmentalists with Al Qaeda
. [Via Gristmill.]
"It took the Mississippi River 6,000 years to build the Louisiana coast. It took man (and natural disasters) 75 years to destroy it. Experts agree we have 10 years to act before the problem is too big to solve." [Via First Draft.]
End of the Year Review, 2026.
Looking Back on the First Quarter of the Twenty-First Century.
Climate change denial
gets a sort of semi-mainstream platform in the UK. The author, Christopher Monckton
, seems to be a colourful
figure. Now that all the major political parties accept that it's time to do something about climate change, is this a last ditch effort by 1980s right wing relics
to stave off the inevitable? Or are we going to be hearing a lot more
of this kind of stuff, post-Stern Review
the new urban jungle
. . . is a growing movement led by cities like San Francisco
, New York
, and Leiden
to restore active and vibrant natural systems in urban areas. Far from the eden-like depictions of nature of yesteryear, i.e. the garden of earthly delights
(nonetheless, still attracting some dynamic new christian converts
), the movement has morphed into today's backyard and grassroots environmental movement which is more and more a picture of hybridity, compromise, mixed-use, and ultimately, taking nature out of the walled islands of zoos, aquaria, national parks and other thick-walled institutions and offering a different kind of everyday "unmediated"
community experience with the new urban wilderness
What if we can't afford to save the world?
An interesting debate between Sierra Club’s Carl Pope and the outspoken Bjørn Lomborg. (The “saving the world” bit might seem like hyperbole, but the really interesting question this debate sparks for me is this: Hypothetically, if it really came down to it, would anyone be willing to save the world for free? And if not, what does that imply about our values system and personal priorities? What does it say about the practical utility and limitations of monetary-based economic systems?
is the largest body of water in North Dakota, and it's growing. Landlocked and continuously fed by surrounding rivers and lakes, its size corresponds to the amount of rainfall and can vary dramatically
. In fact, recent changes
aren't even on the map
yet. With more rainfall on the horizon, the government of North Dakota is building an artificial outlet
for the lake, channeling the water northwards. But Manitoba doesn't want the water, fearing that an invasion of Devils Lake species will seriously upset the Red River's ecological balance and harm the Manitoban fishing industry
. Nonetheless, the ND government seems determined to prevent the loss of any more trees and farmland
and roadways and villages
- aims to reduce Climate Change by empowering individuals to erase their CO2 footprint by purchasing carbon credits. The site enables users to subscribe based on the greenhouse gas usage in their country, with the subscription buying carbon credits in a forestry scheme in Australia. Would you consider subscribing?
Roadless Act under attack.
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced today the plan to lift a Clinton-era ban on building roads into wilderness areas on National Forest Service lands. Instead of keeping the ban at a federal level, the decision on wether or not to allow roads to be built would now be deffered to state governers.
I can't help but wonder, how is this in the public's interests at all? It is unreasonable to paint this as, "the biggest single giveaway to the timber industry in the history of the national forests", or does this really have value that the average American could benefit from?
A new study (in a biggish PDF)
states that most environmental indicators in the United States have improved dramatically since the 1970's regardless of the political party that controls the White House. Notably: "CO (Carbon monoxide) levels were the lowest recorded during the past 20 years" (EPA, 2002, pg 48), ambient lead levels have fallen 98% between 1976 and 2002 (pg 46), and sulfur dioxide has fallen 70% since 1976 (pg 44). (Mostly) Happy Earth Week, right?
Spinning the Environment One section of the memorandum, "Winning the Global Warming Debate," asserts that many voters believe there is a lack of consensus about global warming among scientists. "Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly," it says. "Therefore you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue."
Among the ways to "challenge the science," the memorandum says, is to "be even more active in recruiting experts who are sympathetic to your view and much more active in making them part of your message" because "people are more willing to trust scientists than politicians."
So much for science based decisions regarding the fouling of our nest. Sounds Green = Is Green in the bizarro world of spin.