Saturday (Sunday) Links of the Week — August 16 (17), 2008

wet chipmunk
That’s the head of an exhausted, wet chipmunk peeking out of the towel, after I rescued him from our pool today. Our man-made world poses such strange perils for wild creatures! A couple of minutes after I took this shot, he jumped up and scampered away.

Birth of a Natural Enterprise: My friend Jean-SÈbastien Bouchard relates the story of how he put together his new enterprise Grisvert — for those who read French this is an inspiring and instructive story. He formed the business using a practice called the Five Breaths of [Collective] Design, which looks like a great methodology to assist in Finding the Sweet Spot.

Being Ready for the Crises Ahead: Chris Corrigan makes a list of what you can do to mitigate, adapt to and prepare for coming catastrophes, which is pretty close to my list.

No Simple Answers: Jon Husband reproduces an excerpt from a Thomas de Zengotita’s book that decries our insistence that every article, every exposition, every critical analysis, to be worth anything, must provide a solution. This is interesting to me, because I have often complained that reading news that is not actionable is a waste of time. But that is not what de Zengotita is arguing with — all he’s saying is that it is not up to the author to provide the action — and that in our modern complex world no one is (or can be) in control.

What Do We Want to Get Out of Blogging?: Cassandra laments the growing introspection and decline in community and interconnectedness she sees in the blogosphere, and then asks readers What do we want to get out of this activity? I confess I’ve been a bit discouraged that my blog’s popularity has flattened out, but I don’t think popularity is the main reason I blog. I tend to comment rarely on others’ blogs, as I prefer to write something here and trackback to them. Mostly I still think out loud on these pages, which is useful to me and apparently to others, and I love the fact that my readers point me to stuff I should read (which makes my online time much more productive). And that you keep me honest, telling me, usually gently, when my writing is not up to par, and why. I still think blogs are awkward conversational media, so I’m spending more and more of my online time in IM and v2v, but these media, at least the ones worth keeping, will eventually merge into one ‘voice’, Friendfeed plus a lot more all in one box.

The Death of the Oceans: Fertilizers and smog deposits running off into our oceans have created massive dead zones on coasts all over the planet, as the runoff creates algae blooms that suck oxygen out of the water, killing all marine animal life. Since most marine animals live near the coasts, our farms and cars are essentially killing our oceans. Thanks to Craig De Ruisseau for the link.

And Arctic Melting Faster Than Scientists’ Worst Fears: “The trouble is that sea ice is now disappearing from the Arctic faster than our ability to develop new computer models and to understand what is happening there. We always knew it would be the first region on Earth to feel the impact of climate change, but not at anything like this speed. What is happening now indicates that global warming is occurring far earlier than any of us expected.”

Misplaced Euphoria as the US Dollar Rises and Oil Price Falls: James Kunstler explains how the rising dollar and falling oil price are just pre-crash symptoms. Thanks to Bruce Stewart for the link and the three that follow.

The Future is Frugality: Mike Shedlock contemplates what a future after 2 trillion dollars in mortgage losses have been written off will look like. It’s a future without credit. And with no credit, our economy will grind to a halt. (The NYT chimes in with another in its excellent series on consumer debt, saying many consumers are paying an average of over 20% in interest and fees on their soaring debts, while the assets that secure them are in free fall — thanks to reader EJ for this link).

Advice for Graduates: Don’t Get Caught in the Corporatist Trap: George Monbiot suggests that young people starting work for a large corporation “leave the moment youíve learnt what you need to learn (usually after just a few months) and the firm starts taking more from you than you are taking from it.” It’s advice meant for aspiring journalists, but it applies equally to any career.

Lenders’ Troubles Worsening Fast: Karl Denninger looks at the fundamentals of the entire credit market, not just the sub-prime loans, and finds it hemorrhaging. (And it hasn’t helped that, on top of the $3 trillion and soaring US credit card debt, another $1.2 trillion was shifted from cards to home equity loans before the housing crash). (And Rob Paterson shows a scary chart comparing consumer debt/GDP in 1929 and now).

The Ball Is All That Matters: Several of my favourite bloggers are mourning the recent loss of beloved companion animals. Beth Patterson writes a lovely eulogy for Ling. Barbara Klaser writes about her dear Independence. And Sharon Brogan fondly remembers Spike.

Why People Commit Atrocities: Psychologist TherapyDoc asks how ordinary, sane people can commit horrific atrocities, as happened in Nazi death camps, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Darfur, and is happening still all over the world, including in US-funded torture prisons, and in homes where people are abused, and in thousands of factory farms that most of us rely on for our food. I answered this question two years ago: It’s because we let them, encourage them even by our inaction or worse, when we say: It’s not really that bad, There is no other real choice, I don’tknow about that, or There’s nothing we can do about that. Without our complicity it cannot go on.

Just for Fun: Create your own Superhero character. Mine is above (still deciding on a name for him, and his trusty sidekick). Thanks to Beth for the link.

Thought for the Week, from Sharon Brogan:


I’ve looked everywhere:
the junk drawer in the kitchen,
the catch-all on the dresser,
in every cupboard and cabinet.
I scolded the cat and got down
on my knees to look under the sofa.
It’s not in the garage, the basement,
the attic. I cleaned out the car,
the glove-box, the trunk. I’ve swept
all the corners, emptied the desk.
I asked Google, Yahoo, and Amazon.
I searched Wikipedia, called
everyone I know. I switched out
the bed linens, shook out the rugs,
shuffled the pages of all the books.
It is not here. I’ve looked everywhere,
year after year, but I cannot find it.

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5 Responses to Saturday (Sunday) Links of the Week — August 16 (17), 2008

  1. EJ says:

    You might find this interesting:’Germs, Viruses, and Secrets’One of the consequences of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent (but unrelated) anthrax attacks was a rapid increase in the number of high-containment biosafety/biodefense laboratories in the US. In October 2007, the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing entitled “Germs, Viruses, and Secrets: The Silent Proliferation of Bio-Laboratories in the United States”.

  2. Steve Bean says:

    Re: “Love”Love is found insider yourself. You were looking in the wrong direction–outward.For more on love and confusion over where to find it, check out the Work of Byron Katie at

  3. Gerard Joyce says:

    That super hero of yours looks kind of familiar ?

  4. Thanks for the link Dave!Your work on «natural entreprise» have been of great help in the emergence of the project. Now I know I am on the sweet spot! I’ve used your graphic (the 3 spheres: Gift, Need, Passion) last week to help young social entrepreneurs get a better understanding of what the «sweet spot» is and how to walk toward it. They loved it!And by the way, there is a Google Translate widget on my blog for non-French readers.

  5. beth says:

    I *love* your super hero! He is awesome!

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