Saturday Links for the Week — May 17, 2008


All Over But the Shouting: A new and exhaustive joint scientific study shows that species biodiversity on Earth has plummeted almost a third in the past 35 years, and the pace of extinction is accelerating.

Transition Towns as Model Intentional Communities: I’ve written before about the Transition Towns model: Dramatically reduce dependence on oil and dramatically reduce carbon footprint. The list of such towns has grown, especially in the UK where the model began. Thanks to Rimu for the link.

Rebirth of an Intentional Community: “This time not just a collective house, but a kind of collective urban farmstead, a demonstration project of sustainability, a public/private place where people could learn and teach all the practices of sustainability from rainwater catchment and permaculture to consensus decision-making and conflict resolution.” We’ll be watching, Liz.

Do We Suffer from Environmental Amnesia?: “Maybe weíre now spending so much more time with consumer objects than with our natural environments that we have forgotten how to think about them. Sport water bottles are real to us but creekbeds are fuzzy concepts…Or maybe our unremembering is a wall against grief…That drive-through over there was once the field where, every recess, my sister and Danelle and I ran, circling and whinnying like wild, wild horses.”

The Unraveling of Chinese Culture: “Dujiangyan’s wreckage today stands as a tragic monument to a culture that turned its back on its remarkable and glittering history.” The author doesn’t explain why China has done so; perhaps the answer to that could be the answer to why our civilization is now beyond saving.

A Second Life Music Video: For those who don’t have the patience to learn Second Life’s unintuitive technology sufficiently to use the tool, here’s a video from Chouchou that shows the artistic potential of virtual world technologies (screen cap above) at their best. Thanks to Mia for the link :-)

What Happens After Foreclosure?: Well, you put all your stuff into self-storage, and then, when you can’t pay the self-storage bill either, the self-storage company seizes all your stuff and sells it for $150, so they can rent the space to the next person who’s lost their home.

Tom Tancredo Wants a Fence Between US and Canada: I wondered when the wingnuts would get wind of the reality of the incompetence of Canadian immigration authorities. But it can’t even come close to that of US immigration authorities, empowered by Bush to make life and death decisions about visitors on their own personal whims.

Answering the PETA Challenge for Invention of Commercial-Grade Scalable In Vitro Meat: Last week I mentioned that PETA is offering $1 million for such an invention, to eliminate the need for factory farms. Jon Husband pointed me to a consortium already working on this. “An environmentally friendly cultured meat technology rests on four basic premises: (1) the culturing of muscle progenitor cells from farm animals of choice that are able to proliferate at a high rate, (2) the application of a growth medium that does not contain animal products, (3) the efficient differentiation of the progenitor cells into muscle cells that contain all nutrients present in conventional meat, and (4) the organisation of the muscle cells into 3-dimensional muscle structures.” Nothing to it. More here.

Thought for the Week:

I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself innature.

– Albert Einstein, The World As I See It

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1 Response to Saturday Links for the Week — May 17, 2008

  1. Prof. Barcia says:

    Im agree with Eisntein!Marcelo

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