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Why can’t effective environmentalism be compatible with industrial capitalism? True, the demands of the market have perverted endeavours like organic farming: rather than small independent farmers employing truly sustainable methods, we have behemoths constantly testing the boundaries of organic practice. But why couldn’t governments just push harder to regulate and oversee a shift away from the worst excesses of industrial agriculture? Likewise, is it really so impossible to crack down on dubious offset projects? Market-based systems for reducing greenhouse gas emissions have a lot of promise, and even if they will always have flaws, that doesn’t mean they need to be tossed out entirely. And is it so outlandish to think that a new generation of biofuels could help us avoid the very real devastation that the current ethanol craze has wrought? –“What’s the color of money? The green economy and its compromises,” Bradford Plumer, The National
Stephen Hawking confirms what Independence Day taught us about aliens;
the would-be governor of Alabama seems to think that immigrants are equally threatening;
then again, the rest of the world isn’t much smarter
Another classical example is known as the Ellsberg Paradox. Consider an urn containing 30 balls that can be red, black or white. You know that 10 balls are red. You do not know how many balls are black or how many are white. You now are offered the opportunity to bet on a color: If it is drawn, you will receive $100; if a different color is drawn, you will receive nothing. Most people bet on red, and this seems hardly surprising. However, if asked to bet on any combination of two colors instead, most people prefer to bet on (black, white). But those who initially bet on red seemingly believed that red was more likely than either black or white; so shouldn’t they now be betting on (red, black) or (red, white)? Their behavior cannot consistently be interpreted as always opting for the higher odds; rather, it reflects a deep-seated aversion to uncertainty. –“The Loitering Presence of the Rational Actor,” Karl Sigmund, American Scientist
How today’s weasel bankers compare to New York’s historic Low Life characters;
go-go may already be history;
polar bears may not be long for this world, but at least they’re capable of giving Vladimir Putin a manly handshake
Humankind should get ready to live in a more nomadic way: local or global changes in environment may demand unprecedented large-scale social transformations. Let’s say that a huge volcanic eruption makes the whole of Iceland uninhabitable: where will the people of Iceland move? Under what conditions? Should they be given a piece of land, or just dispersed around the world? What if northern Siberia becomes more inhabitable and appropriate for agriculture, while great swaths of sub-Saharan Africa become too dry for a large population to live there – how will the exchange of population be organised? When similar things happened in the past, the social changes occurred in a wild, spontaneous way, with violence and destruction. Such a prospect is catastrophic in a world in which many nations have access to weapons of mass destruction. –“Joe Public v the volcano,” Slavoj Zizek, New Statesman
Soon they’ll be calling us the “bridge and tunnel” crowd;
The Fast and the Furious … and the Embalmed;
all you ever wanted to know about “Beards, Baldness and Sweat Secretion”
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”