Friday, September 2, 2016

Buckminster Fuller - "Doing More with Less"







      




  

                                       Doing More With Less
 
“Doing More with Less” was a phrase used by the industrial philosopher Buckminster Fuller. He believed it was the direction that society was evolving as our tools improved. Tools can be either software or hardware. Tools evolve as knowledge grows, and Fuller believed that you could not learn less, so knowledge would always be growing. So far so good and doing more with less is a useful way of thinking about progress.
 
But with the increasing complications of modern life, it becomes more difficult to know if the change you make does in fact do more with less or not. And so I propose two more truisms. You stand a better chance of actually doing more with less if you can “do away with” the detritus of superfluous consumption. A redesigned car that gets more miles per gallon, is not as powerful as redesigning communities that do not rely on automobiles and paved roads as the mode of transportation. Small changes to the end products of our industrial society, will not get us to a point that is sustainable. And so to the second truism; a lot of what is heralded as environmental progress is what I call “Eco-porn”. Electric cars that run on electricity from a coal fire plant is not a solution to anything. Making ethanol from corn to add to gasoline takes more oil than just using untreated fuel.
 
Be very wary of any claims of new and improved technology. You have to analogize the total life cycle of the product. I'm not sure if anyone could answer with certainty whether paper or plastic is better. We need to decrease our use of fossil fuel to below 10% of our current level, (just a guess on my part). Which means a lot more “doing away with” and less improving.
 


                                        

                   


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Who Are America's Patriots?



                 
                                 




This is an excellent piece from Counterpunch which details our Age of Perpetual War. It focuses on former Senator from Nebraska Bob Kerry's resume' including his lead role in a CIA sponsored attack on Thanh Phong village during which 15 civilians were massacred. No enemy combatants were killed, and very likely were not even present. This was part of the CIAs infamous Phoenix Program that was implemented to inflict terror on the NLF as well as family, friends and sympathizers. It is estimated that five million people were killed during the years 1962 - 1973. Fifty eight thousand American soldiers lost their lives in a war to defend America's imperial designs on the region. As the reign of senseless death continues without pause, perhaps we should all consider sitting out the national anthem." Patriotism is about making your country a better place." Who are America's patriots?


 Imperial America


                


                                            

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Woody Guthrie Despised Fred Trump

Woody Guthrie's lost lyrics about Fred Trump


In 1950, Woody Guthrie leased an apartment from a developer named Trump. The Trump that Woody Guthrie was acquainted with was not the beloved Donald, but rather the Donald's father, Fred. Guthrie wrote that Fred Trump was a bigot who would not rent to African-Americans. Guthrie's dislike for Trump was so intense that he wrote an additional verse for his song "Ain't Got No Home" about Fred Trump, but it was never published. The link will take you to NPR's "All Things Considered" segment dealing with this forgotten snippet of revealing history first aired on January 22, 2016.






                    

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Plant Trees and Seeds of Peace


  This is a Canaan fir tree. I planted 450 of these and two other varieties on my farm in Vermont during April vacation. This particular tree was planted in soil from Rome, Italy. The soil was putatively extracted from the property of our former principal at SKHS, Bob McCarthy, by one of my students. Trees have always been important to me because they symbolize hope even at times when belief in good outcomes for humanity seems impossibly na├»ve. As Kahil Gibran wrote, "Trees are poems the earth writes upon the skies." Despite my systemic pessimism, planting trees, like writing poems is a defiant negation of despair. Even though all of the evidence authoritatively asserts we are fucked, humans like trees are phototropic; we are averse to the darkness and embrace the light. Hope is encoded in our DNA. And despite all of the toxic triggers, endless violence, and insatiable cupidity, the epigenome is powerless to shut down the hope gene. Paradoxically, it appears irrefutably true that our tribe have many endearing qualities that intimate considerable potential for improved behavior. Of course, such a notion might just be the result of a cascade mRNA transcripts from that damn gene. 

 I am not certain why this post took direction it did because all I really wanted to say was that this tree has great sentimental value to me. I liked Bob a lot and our school is diminished by his absence. Like so many things, I don't understand why we fail to tell people that they made an important difference in our lives until it is too late. This is one of my all too many shortcomings.  

Monday, March 14, 2016

Glenn Yu Reports on Hardship and Destitution at Brown

Glenn Yu, a former student at South Kingstown High School, writes about the pain and suffering experienced by scores of Brown students struggling for recognition as genuine elitists and highbrows despite growing up in hardscrabble affluence. Few of us consider the bleak prospects of a child who has spent all of his or her brief existence suffering from tertiary affluenza and self-indulgent gluttony trying to climb the ladder of ever greater Trumpian success when there are only two or three rungs left to climb. "Oh, the humanity!" 




The migratory patterns of the Canada Goose
By
Staff Columnist
Friday, March 4, 2016
Every winter, a brutal arctic wind encapsulates Brown University. The steely, nondescript sky serves as a facade to the delicate branches of redbud trees violated by the remorseless winds of the wasteland we amiably call southern New England. In an effort to combat the gripping tendrils of this numbing cold, the Canada Geese launch into a relentless struggle for their very survival. While some geese are brave enough to settle down and call Brown home, others pass our hallowed university on their migratory path toward Penn, Princeton and even Georgetown in search of the intimate warmth that the South has to offer.
Of course, the Canada Geese of which I speak are not actual birds in the strictest sense; rather, they are students wearing jackets that somehow confer avian properties upon the wearer. For example, the Canada Geese native to Brown congregate with their kind in V-formations, rarely diverging from the flock. Outdoors and in the dining halls, the Geese display their plump, beige coyote furs and endearing little affluence badges like ostentatious peacocks in the height of mating season. Here, they are a permanent fixture of winter life. Sightings of them are as prevalent as political correctness and as inevitable as the disappointment experienced after dining at the Ratty.
Some see the Canada Geese minority as gaudy elitists who wear coats meant for climates 15 degrees in latitude above where we are. But these critics, suffering from delusions of grand intellectualism, simply do not appreciate the temerity of the Canada Geese. Every day, the Canada Geese bear intense heat as they masochistically wear their thick arctic coats on sunny, 50-degree days like flagellants during the Black Plague, ceaselessly punishing themselves in some sort of Nietzschean conviction that suffering gives life the will to power. While they could take off their enormous, arctic-climate coats, they refuse to succumb to the temptation that agony brings. They embrace the pain.
The Canada Geese are the true heroes of this university, the ones who each day endure through the hapless circumstances that life has to offer without complaint. They do not feel emotion or temperature as we do. They represent something larger than ourselves, larger than life, larger than death. The badges they wear on their shoulders are not symbols of “elitism,” as those nefarious critics might have you believe. Rather, their badges are symbols of greatness, symbols showing off to the world (rightfully so) that they are superior to the masses.
By now, you can probably tell that I have great admiration for the Canada Geese. But you don’t know the half of it. Though I hate to admit it so publicly, each night before I sleep, I ritualistically envision my limp fingers caressing the sumptuous lining of my Canada Goose coat as I simultaneously whisper profanities to it. This obsession inevitably follows me into my dream world, festering into wet dreams galore. When I wake up, my first instinct is to go outside in search of the beautiful jacket. Each time I see one on campus, my heart stops a little as an ephemeral euphoria rises up into my chest. Sometimes, an inaudible “Oh joy” emits softly from my supple lips as I blush and dream about having my very own Canada Goose coat. I would finally be one of them, able to hide behind my modest symbol of wealth, blending in through conspicuous consumption.
I mean, think about the possibilities! With my Canada Goose Chilliwack Bomber wrapped around my warm, plump body, I could finally triumph over the sub-35-degree boreal temperatures that leave Brown an icy wasteland each and every winter. Walking around in the comfort of my beautiful coat, I could even banter gleefully with my Canada Geese flockmates about how the fur trim around our necks either deprived a coyote of its life or — even better — left it to freeze to death in the wilderness deprived of its own pelt. On the freezing winter walk between the door and our Ubers, the Geese and I will lament the many woes faced on our arduous expeditions from Keeney to Faunce when carrying our laundry to the Service. It ain’t easy being geesey.
But sadly, having a Canada Goose will have to remain a dream for now: For a college kid with severely limited funds, a Canada Goose just isn’t a safe investment. Considering that its value and utility will only depreciate as global warming continues, I just can’t bring myself to spend $750.
For now I’m just hoping that the Canada Geese wear their jackets one day too far into summer or one minute too long in the well-heated Ratty. And I’m warning you now: When they collapse of heatstroke, I will be waiting. I will be collecting.
Glenn Yu ’19 can be reached for donations toward his first Canada Goose jacket at glenn_yu@brown.edu. Please send responses to this opinion to

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Whither Winter

A rare winter scene in this warmest of winters yet recorded. Is the planet warming faster than the consensus IPCC projections predict? The global experiment with our planet continues as aspiring Republican candidates proudly and loudly deny science. Will climate denialism be formally written into the Republican platform? What about evolution?




Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bobcats in South County

 Nearly ten years ago I started a project with my students to determine the bobcat population in  R.I.  We set up scratch stations at a number of locations in southern R.I. The stations consisted of swatches of carpet cut in rectangles with rows of staples surfacing from the backside of the swatch. The carpet was then saturated with bobcat oil and screwed into a trunk at the estimated height of the bobcat. The hope was to attract the animals and capture hair follicles as they rubbed against the urine soaked material. The staples would hopefully snag the fur with some follicles  attached. DNA could then be extracted, amplified, and fingerprinted to establish a database of individual animals in the area. Unfortunately, I sought the advice of DEM regarding the best locations for our stations. The response I received was one of incredulity. I was foolishly unaware that there had not been bobcats in R.I. for many decades. Exactly one week later there was a brief mention in the Providence Journal of a bobcat road kill in Coventry. This video was taken near Moonstone Beach Road last year. I will post photographs of a quite brazen bobcat taken near a residence in Matunuck, R.I. The long fallow bobcat project is once again ongoing.
                                                                                              


                                                               Bobcat Video 










                                             








                                     




Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Matt Taibbi on Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blanfein is upset at Bernie Saunders





 Lloyd Blankfein CEO of Goldman Sachs mocks Bernie Saunders for being a "socialist". Blankfein clearly has no idea of what democratic socialism is. You would think this arrogant moron would be thankful that he is not in jail after demonstrating just how fragile and corrupt capitalism is. His devotion to a flawed economic system is understandable given that it has made him rich. Sociopaths like Blankfein love unfettered markets because they make the obscenely rich richer even as they push our planet's ecosystems ever closer to collapse. Bernie is far to classy to say it, but Lloyd you are a vile son of a bitch.              


                                                        The clueless Lloyd Blankfein