The climate trends are overwhelming. Earth had its fourth-warmest year on record in 2013, and all of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported last week. It is true, as the skeptics like to point out, that long-term climate modeling remains an inexact science. Some environmentalists hurt their cause by leaping to blame every extreme weather event on global warming. And a changing climate produces winners as well as losers. But climate scientists are 95% to 100% sure that human activity — emission of greenhouse gases — is the dominant cause of dramatic warming. That warming is already raising sea levels, acidifying oceans, melting glaciers and intensifying heat waves, downpours, droughts and wildfires. January's cold snap has caused plenty of misery. The damage will only be compounded if it becomes an excuse for yet another year of denial and delay in addressing climate dangers.
January 31, 2014
January 29, 2014
Oddly for someone so rebellious, Seeger got both his vocation and his politics from his father. Both his parents were professional musicians, and at 17 Pete accompanied his father on a field trip to collect traditional songs for a project of the Library of Congress. In 1940, at age 21, Seeger went to Washington to work for Alan Lomax, the project’s head and catalyst. There he befriended the legendary ballad-maker Woody Guthrie. Soon the two had left on a cross-country jaunt. When Seeger and Guthrie hit the East Coast again, Lomax handed them a stack of protest songs he’d collected from farmers, miners, and textile workers and suggested the two work them into a book. Seeger transcribed words and melodies, while Guthrie wrote introductions. The book, titled Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People, wasn’t published until 1967, but it shaped both Seeger’s music and the gathering American folk song revival. “Songs,” he said, “can penetrate hard shells, proliferate in prisons. If we bring life to them, they will bring life to us and our children. . . . Songs can help us explore our past and our present, and even speculate about our future.” If all this makes him sound like a Unitarian Universalist, well, so he is, though as a young man he had little use for organized religion, his father having been what Seeger now calls “a member of the Marxist church.”
January 28, 2014
January 24, 2014
Scientists have confirmed signs of water on the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt. A team led by the European Space Agency detected water plumes spewing from two regions of the dwarf planet using the infrared Herschel Space…
January 22, 2014
The origin of life is basically inevitable from a mathematical standpoint, according to one physicist, and “should be as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill.” Jeremy England, an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology…
January 16, 2014
I like a quote accredited to the late Terence McKenna, the famous (or infamous, depending on one’s views) researcher into psychedelic drugs. The Big Bang theory, as he described it, was “just the limit case for unlikelihood, that the universe would spring from nothing in a single instant for no reason… It is in fact no different from saying ‘and God said, let there be light’. What these philosophers of science are saying is, give us one free miracle and… it will all unfold according to natural law… Well, I say to them, if science gets one free miracle, then everybody else gets one free miracle.”I'm posting this, first, because Gene's a pretty cool ol' coot; but mostly to let my legion of friends and fans out there in 'netland know I ain't dead yet - though increasingly it's only by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin that that's so. I'd hoped to be burning this blog up by now with brilliant, insightful posts about this crazy, miserable, wondrous universe we find ourselves in. But it's taking me far, far longer than I'd have ever anticipated to assimilate the now-completed collection of material detritus of one life into the still-expanding collection of another.
And the reason for that is the ever-shrinking margin between a comfortable resting state and suffocation in terms of my pulmonary functionality. I endured a rather minor respiratory infection last week, during which time even a short 20-foot trip to the bathroom required a rest stop halfway through, and a 2-minute recovery period at its conclusion. Any other physical activity more strenuous than reaching for a coffee cup or keyboarding was out of the question. That seems to be passing now (knock on wood), and I hope I can start assimilating the detritus again very soon (big test tonight: I need desperately to do a couple of loads of laundry or risk being quarantined to my apartment as a public health risk). We'll see, eh?
The penultimate goal is to incorporate some better hardware into my little LAN and do clean installs of the software I use, all with a view toward being able to fully utilize and participate in this blog. (I'd much rather be out in the country somewhere helping somebody build something or grow something, but clearly that ain't happenin', not for the foreseeable future [but I got dreams and plans!]; so running my mouth is going to have to be all I can contribute for now.) When it'll come together I won't venture to say any more - but that's where I'm headed. There might well be another channel-marker post or two, like this one, before I get there. But I aim to build me a platform I can pitch my soapbox on and then commence haranguing all you Philistines with what you need to do to get your shit together, done in my own inimitable bitchy, arrogant style ...
Thank you for your kind attention.
January 10, 2014
January 09, 2014
January 07, 2014
January 04, 2014
Independent ranchers and animal rights activists don’t agree about much, except that it’s time to stop using federal tax dollars to support the meat lobby. . . . Nearly 99 percent of all the beef tax dollars collected by the government, some $45 million a year, winds up in the hands of just one group, the NCBA, which relies overwhelmingly on this public money to support itself. Fewer and fewer actual “cattlemen” belong to the organization, while more and more complain that the NCBA presses for policies that undermine their own way of life and the public’s interest by favoring large packers and other corporate giants.There's much more to the article . . .