Dave Pollard's chronicle of civilization's collapse, creative works and essays on our culture.
A trail of crumbs, runes and exclamations along my path in search of a better way to live and make a living, and a better understanding of how the world really works.

November 10, 2007

Saturday Links for the Week — November 10, 2007

Filed under: Our Culture / Ourselves — Dave Pollard @ 14:19
alex gregory cartoon
Cartoon by Alex Gregory from The New Yorker. Buy his stuff here.

Surowiecki on the US Dollar and Reckless Subprime Lending: I had the chance to meet and chat with James Surowiecki, economics columnist for The New Yorker and author of The Wisdom of Crowds, at the recent KMWorld conference in San Jose. I was surprised that he recognized me and knew my blog. Two of his recent columns are especially worth a look: Greenback Blues explains why the collapse of the US dollar is not (yet) hitting the US pocketbook. And Performance-Pay Perplexes explains the dangers of rewarding people for taking unreasonable risks.

Are We Hard-Wired for Empathy?: Fascinating article by Gordy Slack in Salon explains the concept of ‘mirror neurons’ that help us sense and sympathize with others’ emotions. They may also explain our adeptness at and fascination with analogy and metaphor.

Model Intentional Farming Communities: Global Village Construction and its Factor ‘E’ Farm pilot are proposing a model for self-sufficient farming communities. They’re looking for volunteers. Thanks to reader Jerome for the link.

Fixing Early Childhood Education: For those who enjoyed my recent podcast with Rob Paterson and would like to know more, he offers a report card on the state of young children today, and their ability to learn, with some ideas on how to fix the system.

Why We Think We’re OK: The inimitable Joe Bageant explains how, through music, the media spiff up and glorify and then sell back to us the image of ourselves as heroes. We all want to be reassured that what we think and do is right, and, for the price of our obedience and acquiescence (plus this week only $14.99 at Wal-Mart), the media are more than willing to reassure us. And in his latest essay he explains what happens as this cost, spurred on by individual greed in a world of scarcity, accumulates: “The national mindset of ‘I want all I can grab for myself and I want it now, even if it has to be on credit,’ constitutes a much bigger crisis than class in and of itself, and is the driver of our unfolding national catastrophe.”

Conserving Water: Enci at Illuminate LA suggests some ways to save water, especially if you’re living in drought-stricken or fire-ravaged areas. They seem impossibly modest, but every bit helps. To those angry at me for not prescribing more ambitious solutions to the End of Water in my Thursday post, I don’t think there are any, or I would have put them forward.

Setting an Example of Economic Irresponsibility: In Vanity Fair, Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz excoriates the Bush regime for its reckless excessive borrowing and for encouraging corporations and citizens to do likewise by artificially suppressing interest rates, with devastating consequences for so many. Excerpt at HTWW explains that, as usual, the world’s poor and future generations pay the biggest price for the cruel incompetence of today’s rich.

Clean Efficient Biofuels: My friend Dale Asberry has a wiki up to explore, collaboratively, how to identify sources and process ‘waste’ biologicals to produce clean efficient fuels. If you have something to add or want to know more, take a look.

Why the Iraq War’s Failure is Your Fault: William Astore explains the Bushies plan to shift blame for the criminal failure of their inept invasion and occupation on a public that’s not willing to support the troops and is soft on terror and crime in general. Classic conservative ploy. Thanks to Craig De Ruisseau for the link and the one that follows.

Why We Can Never Repay Our Debts: Fascinating article on the basis of money and how monetary policy introduced in the 1970s yokes us to perpetual indebtedness, servitude to global corporatists, and environmental ruin.

Canadian Government Terminates Climate Research: Having reneged on Canada’s commitment to Kyoto, Harper is now canceling support of research that might show how inadequate his right-wing government’s program for reining in global warming pollutants really is. Thanks to Mike Yarmolinsky for the link.

Thought for the Week, from Tom Robbins in Still Life With Woodpecker:

The bottom line is that people are never perfect, but love can be. That is the one and only way that the mediocre and vile can be transformed. We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating theperfect love.

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