Links (and Top Tweets) of the Week: June 20, 2009

BLOG Links (and Top Tweets) of the Week: June 20, 2009

  Tweemap of my 700 Twitter ‘followers’: Special tweetout to the surprising number in Brussels, Raleigh-Durham and Portland. My guess is that a map of my blog readers would look very similar.

Surowiecki’s Answer for Gasoline Conservation: Suro’s New Yorker column this week suggests that even without the incompetence/greed of the banks, the recession would have happened anyway because of last year’s gasoline price spike. And he suggests a terrific idea, that could help solve global warming: Fix the retail price of gasoline once each year, at an annual graduating amount, regardless of the wellhead price. When wellhead price was low, the difference would be collected as tax and reinvested in renewable energy. When wellhead price spiked, the tax would drop to compensate, so that consumers would know exactly what they’d be paying for the next year, and not radically change buying behaviour or spook the economy every time the price suddenly changed (which it will, more and more). By increasing the price each year, more and more conservation behaviour would be encouraged. Of course it won’t happen, because price controls are considered ‘socialism’ and are hence anathema. But we can hope.

Plotting to Impose Canadian Health Care: Nick Kristof explains why a Canadian-style health care system, for all its flaws, is the best answer for the US today. Except for the very rich.

The 100 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language: An eloquent, evocative and becoming assemblage of effervescent and lilting terms. Thanks to Jodene for the link.

How Language Shapes the Way We Think: How the words available to us in our language affect how and what we perceive and conceive. Thanks to Shawn for the link. In a related story, scientists have implanted the human ‘language’ gene in mice, and changed the way they communicate.

How Open Money Works: How community currencies complement and protect against the collapse of central bank fiat currencies. A 12-part series. Thanks to Sheri H for the link.

The 7 Myths of Relationship Marketing: A smart, sassy repudiation of marketers who try to use social media to hawk their wares, and pretend that having followers of their business’ Facebook page or corporate blog implies some kind of real social relationship. Thanks to Kathy S for the link.

Just Plant Trees: Planting millions of trees can help address climate change, poverty, soil degradation and a host of other social and environmental problems. Thanks to Craig for the link.

Temple Grandin, Shill for McDonalds?: Melissa Holbrook Pierson questions whether the uncritical celebration of the writing of the autistic Temple Grandin is warranted, especially if you are an animal welfare advocate.

WAGN: Wiki + Database + Content Management System. The next great social networking tool? What Ning should be?

The Orchard Harvest: Tree’s top links of the week (editorial comments below are mine, not hers):

Peter Block on Civic Engagement: A very useful and succinct summary of Block’s book Community.

Michael Moore’s Prescription for GM: Convert it to a high-speed public transit company and make the US the world leader in rapid rail transport.
Michelle Obama’s Garden Poisoned With Lead: Mother Jones tracks down the culprit.

Global Climate Change Impacts in the US: A region-by-region analysis of how climate change will affect Americans’ life, livelihood and ecology, from the US Government no less!

US Cities May Have to Be Bulldozed to Survive: Is this plan from Brookings a wise scheme to manage descent of overbuilt cities and remediate brownfield lands, or an unfeasible resettlement of the poor to rescue property values for the rich?

Colleen Stephenson’s Art of Hosting Graphics: A stunningly beautiful graphic representation of key learnings about the Art of Hosting

Jason Bradford’s 7 Points on Civilizational Collapse: What we have to realize, and do, for a managed descent:

  1. Our civilization is facing the equivalent of multiple organ failure
  2. The environmental crisis reflects an “obesity crisis” of humanity — consuming too much for our own good
  3. The news media’s incompetence in reflecting this crisis results from a global cognitive dissonance between what we ‘know’ and what we do and say
  4. Economic and environmental problems are inseparable — the business section of the newspaper should be mainly covering environmental problems
  5. We each have to change our lives, utterly but gradually, starting at the individual and family level
  6. Our economy, growth and lifestyle are unsustainable. Every unsustainable ends.
  7. We must learn to build community based on our personal strengths and examples.

A Primer on Co-Housing: What co-housing is becoming and why it is so suited to the social needs of the current century.

Just for Fun:

Thoughts for the Week:

ALL NATURE’S ART, by Felix Dennis (thanks to Michael Wiik for the link)

All Nature’s Art is purest accident,
Not in or of itself— how should she know?—
But in the quality of what is lent
By those who view what Providence made so.

Take grass of softest green— in beetles’ eyes
A dreary, harsh savanna, spiked and bound
In monochrome and perilous disguise:
To us a lawn— to hens, a killing ground.

And so it is, my love, with you and me—
This old fool’s eyes were ever drawn to youth;
While Nature’s Art lies not in what we see,
Such ‘seeing’ smooths the wilderness of truth.

Though as for that, no truth was ever known
To topple skin-deep Beauty from her throne.

MOTHERLESS, by Dave Bonta

I am holding a small mammal against my chest. When it cries, I try my best to sway like a tree. When it speaks, the words come from a great distance & I can’t make them out. We are hiding in abandoned tunnels under the streets of a city that has engulfed the earth. Our skin has turned pale blue in the absence of sky & our minds are grim reapers: drift nets set to catch rare flashes of joy. A twitch travels from muscle to muscle before lodging permanently in my left eyelid. It’s a lucky thing I’ve still got sunglasses on. The motherless creature in my arms has imprinted on its own reflection & would wail if I ever took them off. With cars above & trains below, the ground never stops trembling, even in its sleep.

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3 Responses to Links (and Top Tweets) of the Week: June 20, 2009

  1. Dale Asberry says:

    Re: Michael Moore… LOL, Dmitry Orlov, Jim Kunstler and others have long been calling for that!

  2. The list of the 100 most beautiful words in the English language includes “odalisque”? It wouldn’t appear in in my list, as much for the connotations as the sound. Still, it’s good to know what it means, and I certainly don’t deny it would have its place (although not if used solely as an ostentatious display of erudition).

  3. Mariella says:

    South America does not figure in your maps….am I the only south american that walks along with you all in this virtual life trip? …. I feel excluded and lonely…. next time maybe you can copy a little south america map and paste it somewhere .. ¿what do you think?

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