It’s 8:30 in the morning and we are having coffee on our deck at the Ramot Resort on the Sea of Galillee with this gorgeous tree and a symphony of birds to keep us company. Perfect.
Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category
It seems as if overnight all the buds opened up just enough so that the world looks green again.
The picture below I took this morning is the iconic Quad at Harvard Medical School where I walk into work every day. It is beautiful, is it not? Always gives me a little thrill to see it this way in the Spring.
Later today that vast expanse of green will be covered with students sunning themselves and playing frisbee.
Click on the pic once or twice. It gets pretty big if you’d like more detail.
I think this guy is a scream. I only hope that he accepts his idiosyncratic style and is doing it because it’s fun, and not just to get laughed at. Not that there’s anything wrong with being laughed at. But I’ll take a guess that being the butt of cruel jokes can get lonely after a while (see Farley, Chris, etc.)
If you read the depressing YouTube comments, a lot of people are pretty harsh toward him — especially other African Americans.
I say: You go, son. Just keep on being your bad self.
Meanwhile, as near as I can tell from all the videos out there, the Harlem Shuffle is whatever people say it is.
(Oh, and thanks Tom K. (Thom K.?) for pointing this out to me!)
Say what you will about the Bloomberg business empire, but at least the people who run it understand science.
Bloomberg News joins the very conservative British magazine The Economist in understanding that global climate change will be disastrous for business.
So while it might feel good from a political standpoint to 1) continually criticize global climate change science as being ideologically motivated and 2) score points for (seemingly) pro-business Republicans by jumping on the anti-global warming bandwagon, it actually makes no sense from a business standpoint — unless you’re, say, the Koch brothers and their far-flung fossil fuels empire which depends on environmentally unsound products to rake in billions of dollars.
But for everyone not in the coal, natural gas or petroleum industries, climate change is going to be a business meltdown. (It will be for those industries, too, but they stand to make too much money now from the status quo.) Bizarre weather this year has already cost the United States alone billions in property and infrastructure damage, clean-up, insurance claims and lost productivity.
You’re supposed to THROW the hand grenade. NOT drop it at the side of the boat.
Both campaigns have been maneuvering to get New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement, seeing his blessing as a stand-in for many of the fiscally conservative yet socially liberal independents around the country who look to Bloomberg’s politics as a reflection of their own.
Bloomberg says he was largely undecided — until Hurricane Sandy made him think that it’s the Democrats and Obama who are most well-equipped to deal with global climate change that may be bringing more severe weather and droughts to much of the world. (He also doesn’t trust Romney.)
You can read the New York Times article here.
I’m one of those people who think it’s been tragic that none of the debates have addressed climate change. And I’m happy to see Bloomberg put this in a way that makes sense:
Do we know that Hurricane Sandy and storms like it are a result of climate change? Some respected scientists still say we cannot know how much these increasingly bizarre weather events, taken in sum, are part of a pattern until we get more data, which must be collected over a period of many years. In any case, it will always be impossible to say if a particular storm system is caused by global climate change. (Note also that there are many respected, non-political climatologists who say we have enough data, and things look bleak already.)
But what if the increasing number of freak weather events are a result of climate change? What if the global temperature changes and melting of the glaciers and ice caps are a sign that something is terribly wrong? At what point do we act? And at what point will our actions come too late to make a difference?
If those of us who believe global warming is real want the anti-warming wingnuts to start looking at science and reason instead of what Fox News is telling them, we ought to be careful to not act as if one season’s worth of terribly hot and dry weather across much of the U.S. proves anything either way. It’s global climate change, which means some places will be hotter, some cooler; some more dry, some more wet. Global weather is like that, and it has to be measured over time. (Those over-time measurements do indicate global climate change, BTW.)
On the other hand, people in America’s Bible Belt, the same people who are most susceptible to right-wing lunacy around environmental issues, had better hope that this is not a sign of things to come. Part of me thinks it would serve them right for being so scientifically illiterate. On the other hand, if this season does indicate what’s to come, it’s not just the people in the Bible Belt who are going to pay. We all will. This is America’s farming breadbasket we’re talking about.
And, scarily, the light posts in Oklahoma are melting in the heat. Link for the article in the screen cap below can be found here.
Ran across this today. You can watch it below, but do yourself a favor and go directly to the YouTube page, set the resolution to 1080p and full screen (if your bandwidth will support it) and enjoy. Mesmerizing.
From the YouTube description:
A time-lapse of Planet Earth, created from images produced by the geostationary Electro-L Weather Satellite. The images were obtained beginning on May 14th, and end on May 20th. The images are the largest whole disk images of our planet, each image is 121 megapixels, and the resolution is 1 kilometer per pixel. They are taken every half hour, and have been interpolated (smoothed) to create this video. The images are taken in four different wavelengths of light, three visible, and one infrared. The infrared light is reflected by forests and vegetation, which appear orange in these images.
I love young people. I live in Boston and work at a university, and am constantly amazed by their energy and commitment and general spark of life that many people my own age, sadly, lost long ago.
Yet other times the young ones can be insufferable with their own cockiness about issues they clearly do not understand completely — issues such as The Green Thing:
In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.
The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”
The clerk responded, ” That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”
He was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
Keep reading at the link above. I hadn’t really thought about it, but it is remarkable how much more dependent we are on electricity and fossil fuels in this age that is allegedly so much more environmentally enlightened. When I was a child, very little of my leisure time was taken up by anything that required the generation of electricity or use of gasoline.
We did a lot of things wrong then, to be sure. But we did a lot of things correctly, without even realizing it.
For those of you outside the U.S., this is what it’s like to grow up in a society with serious collective potty-training shame issues:
Because a 21-year-old man was caught on a security camera urinating into a city reservoir, Oregon’s biggest city is sending 8 million gallons of treated drinking water down the drain.
Portland officials defended the decision Monday, saying they didn’t want to send city residents water laced, however infinitesimally, with urine.
Public health officials say, however, that urine is sterile in healthy people and that the urine in the reservoir was so diluted — perhaps a half pint in millions of gallons — that it posed little risk.
Some people in the city, in the suburbs and around the world called the flush an overreaction, especially since animals such as ducks contribute waste routinely and, sometimes, die in the water.
“More than 1 billion people worldwide do not have reliable access to clean drinking water, and here we are tossing away nearly 8 million gallons of water just to appease the ignorant residents who believe their tap water will otherwise turn yellow,” read one comment posted on The Oregonian’s Website.
This would be amusing were it not so depressing for what it represents: a country where basic scientific competency is so lacking, and where shame around body parts and bodily fluids is so rampant, we are more worried about human urine from one person than we are about the countless other animals who piss/shit in our water supply.
And this is Portland, Oregon, for chrissakes.
I’m so guilt ridden I would have been sure to turn the printed canvas bag around so everyone couldn’t see what it said.