Plankton and People [news]
This is a response to Putting Plankton Before People at spiked-online.com.
Are plankton really being put before people? That sounds like a false dilemma.
We probably cannot survive on earth without plankton, and there are signs of serious trouble in the oceans. While I don't think that dams are the principle cause of it, they probably don't help plankton on a local scale if these two studies are correct:
One study (...)
This petition circulating among some of my friends on Facebook contains a questionable assertion:
"As early as the 1991, a body of scientific research began to form which now includes articles in over 600 journals. As a whole, these offer scientific evidence that GM foods, hormones, and related pesticides are the root cause for the increase of many serious diseases in the U.S. Since GM foods were introduced, diagnosis of multiple chronic illnesses in the U.S. has skyrocketed. These illnesses include changes in major organs and in hormonal, immune, digestive, and reproductive systems. These modifications to foods and food production may also be contributors to colon, breast, lymphatic, and prostate cancers. "
A conspiracy theory case study
The word chemtrail is short for "chemical contrails" and refers to a conspiracy theory that some combination of chemical and biological agents is being deliberately sprayed from airplanes, usually over populated areas. I first learned about this threat last summer when a friend told me about her deep fears for her children’s health. She explained that chemtrails could be any number of things, including a secret U.N. plot involving mind control or possibly even population control.
I did a little research and learned more about a wide variety of chemtrail conspiracies that are only loosely related to each other. Google has indexed more than 1.5 million pages that mention the word. One popular version of the conspiracy theory holds that they are (...)
Dear John Wells Fargo,
I don't think we can see each other any more. I've changed as I've grown older, and am not the same person I used to be. You never were a person, but you've been acting like one and that's become a problem for me.
You were a much smaller regional bank called Norwest when we first met in Boulder, almost 20 years ago. I never reminisce, but I recall a time when I used to. Do you remember when there was a tornado near Boulder Reservoir and your manager made all of the customers in the lobby go to the basement? I was late for a date that day, and worried about her. I resented you for detaining me at the time, but got over it pretty quickly. Thanks for looking out for me then.
In 1998 you became Wells Fargo and I didn't have any good reasons to stay or leave at the time. My next (...)
My declarations [news]
We are the revolution taking place. We are responsible for the world in every sense – political, social, moral.
We are responsible for the planet. We are responsible for the unemployed.
Of course, we can blame the banks, the disaster that irresponsible people created in the financial system, the political repression, the inability of the Govts. to hear what people has to say.
But this will not help the world to become a better place. We need to act, and we need to act now.
And we don’t need permission to act.
We are much more powerful than we think we are. Let’s use this power, use the strength that everyone has when he/she is following his/her real Bliss, Personal Legend, you name it.
We are the dreamers, but we are also the (...)
Lately I've run across many characterizations of 'rights' as inclusive of food, water, shelter, health care, education, etc. For example, see this Declaration of Occupation. I have a problem with that characterization. The original distinction of 'rights', as found in the Bill of Rights, is that of 'inalienable' rights which are innate to our nature. This is a crucial concept: we are born with the right to speech, assembly, worship, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, etc. These are not rights that are granted to us by the government. They are qualities of being human which we can only lose by some action of the government*. We are protected against tyrants who would deprive us of them by decree through our right to due process (...)
The Need for Enemies [news]
The wise learn many things from their enemies.
There's something about the shower that is often inspiring. The swirl of water flowing down the drain is a nice metaphor for the way disparate thoughts sometimes come together. I'm going to present this more or less as it came to me in the shower today.
I was contemplating how Senator Rand Paul had just argued in the U.S. Senate that air pollution doesn't cause asthma. He's basically right, and few argue for a direct causal relationship, as the linked article points out. But there is evidence that air pollution increases the suffering of asthma patients and (...)
Birthday Wishes [news]
There are two things I want for my 43rd birthday that may not be realistic. The fact that I have to write an essay to explain them doesn't bode well.
First, I want to see an end to the war in Afghanistan. It began on my birthday in 2001. I don't understand why we are still there and I don't think that I know anyone who does.
Last spring I saw the movie Where Soldiers Come From. At least some of the soldiers who are over there on a mission to clear IEDs from the roads understand that there wouldn't be IEDs in the roads if they weren't there. It's the circular logic of eternal war.
Radical Honesty started making t-shirts this year. One of my ideas was to superimpose a graphic of the Afghanistan borders over the text My country invaded the Graveyard of Empires, and all I (...)
This spring when my Verizon contract expired I ported my number to Google Voice and tried taking calls from Google Talk. After a few weeks I was basically happy with this arrangement for most of my needs. I only lacked coverage on the road--mostly for navigation or emergencies. After some research I decided to try a pre-paid Android phone, the LG Optimus V. On June 11 I ordered one from Virgin Mobile's website. I selected the option for priority shipping which added $11.99 to my $199.99 phone for a total of $221.98 (including a $10 tax). I received an email from Virgin Mobile that stated: Your order should arrive in 1-2 business days if sent by FedEx or 3-5 business days if sent by FedEx Ground.
On June 15 the phone hadn't arrived so I called their support line and inquired when to expect it. I was told two days. On June 17 their online order tracker indicated it was (...)
My 42nd year here has been epic, and I'd be remiss if I didn't tip my fancy new hat to Douglas Adams. I turned 42 just three days shy of 10/10/10, which is 42 in binary notation.
I was not seeking enlightenment in 2010. And at some point I realized it had begun to find me despite myself. I started to know the Middle Way as never before. And despite that, I also know just how ego-attached I still am and how far I have to go.
My path of liberation began with shedding my attachments to the past. I've done so much processing and reprocessing over the years that at some point, it all just dropped away. I still have a story, but my story doesn't own me anymore.
I found some liberation from the madness of money. I gave away most of my possessions and am happier for it today.
I found some liberation from my attachment to ideas and especially from my need to (...)