Was 2016 the worst year ever? Not for most people

Reverted to Type

The past year has inspired feelings of sadness, hopelessness and a lot of soul-searching. The past year has inspired feelings of sadness, hopelessness and a lot of soul-searching.

Judging from social media, everyone has had a terrible 2016. The year and the collective suffering it has apparently inflicted upon us is fast becoming a cliche. We have all been through the mill equally, the narrative goes, hit by the myriad misfortunes of Brexit, Donald Trump and beloved celebrities dying.

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Solar Now Produces a Better Energy Return on Investment Than Oil

(I expect this author has to fend off the illogical arguments of “Watts Up With That” fans on a regular basis, but I like his work.)

robertscribbler

The future is not good for oil, no matter which way you look at it. — Motherboard

*****

Solar — it’s not just a clean power source producing zero emissions and almost no local water impact, it’s also now one of the best choices on the basis of how much energy you get back for your investment. And with climate change impacts rising, solar’s further potential to take some of the edge off the harm that’s coming down the pipe makes speeding its adoption a clear no-brainer.

In 2016, according to a trends analysis based on this report by the Royal Society of London, the energy return on energy investment (EROEI) for oil appears to have fallen below a ratio of 15 to 1 globally. In places like the United States, where extraction efforts increasingly rely on unconventional techniques like fracking, that EROEI has fallen to 10 or…

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Book of the year. Peter Wadhams (2016) A Farewell to Ice. A Report From the Arctic.

odonnellgrunting

blue planet.jpg

A writer has one imperative, or simple rule – read. Often I have little understanding of what I’m reading. Usually there is a but here. I do not understand Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, but…kinda like a meme from T. S. Eliot’s Little Gidding: ‘We shall not cease from exploration/And the end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started.’ Or Rumi’s parable of the elephant and six blind men. One holding onto a leg, or trunk, an ear, and explaining to the other what in the world stands true. Wadhams’ A Farewell to Ice is a familiar tale and it is distilled into a line of poetry he quotes from mystic Francis Thompson: ‘Thou canst not stir a flower/Without troubling of a star’.

Like Jonah preaching to the Ninevites and warning them they have forty days, Wadhams is telling us much the same thing about the accelerating effects…

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Conflicted Elector in a Corrupt College

Though I personally consider voting a civic duty granting assent to a hiring choice, not an exercise of religious beliefs, it was fascinating to read about the philosophical difficulties this elector is wrestling with in deciding whether or not he can in good conscience perform his duty.

The Blessed Path

When running for the Presidential Elector Nominee some six months ago, I had no idea the conflict that would ensue both from without and within. To say that it has been an “educating experience” would be an understatement. I embarked on this journey with a basic understanding of the difference between a republic and a pure democracy. I knew the Constitutional Fathers[1]  set up our government as the former and not the latter[2]. They had wisdom we lack. In my speech before the convention, I mentioned that nothing exemplified the difference between these two forms of the government more than the Electoral College. I admit, at the time, I was ignorant how deeply that held true.

Republic vs Democracy

The essence of a republic is that the authority rests in elected representatives, not in the people directly.  Noah Webster defined a republic as,

“A commonwealth; a state…

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No, I’m not watching the game.

We’re going over to the Boiler Room, to share our food with those who haven’t got enough. (http://ptbr.org)  You can meet us there, but if you’re somewhere else, here’s my favorite Thanksgiving hymn for your enjoyment:

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It Wasn’t Always So Easy

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247. The People’s President

(I hope the original author doesn’t mind my re-publication of his thoughts. I have a soft spot for other geezers who see echoes of the past in our current behaviors.)

A Writing Life

220px-battle_of_new_orleansSince my dad’s younger brother was named Andrew Jackson Logsdon, you might guess that Andrew Jackson was well thought of in my family. He is well thought of by most Americans as the first people’s president, a man who went to Washington, overthrew the elites, and returned the country to its democratic roots. A champion of the common man.

I disagree.

As a person trained in both anthropology and history, I have to declare my biases. Jackson was an important president, with much to his credit. I grant that. But he was also the leader of a successful movement to drive out the legal residents who were owners of vast tracts of land throughout the South, to make way for his white followers.

By the way, I plan to use the word Indian. It’s a description, not an insult, and it is the word that was used in the 1800’s. When…

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Clickbait 1001

I’m interested in the psychology of fascination, and I’m susceptible to this phenomenon if I’m tired or stay on the computer too long. Here’s a clever visual artist playing around skillfully with the concept.

Matthew C. Mariner

Clickbait, 2016 Clickbait, 2016

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… from the first presidential debate

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The Health of the Presidents:  Myth, Mystery, Medicine

Dr. Daliah

By Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP

Myth:  George Washington’s teeth were never made of wood

 Mystery:  Would JFK have lived if he wasn’t wearing a back brace during his assassination?  Who took over when Woodrow Wilson suffered a massive stroke?

 Medicine:  Why did it take Lincoln to die 11 hours after his mortal gun shot wound?

 

 George Washington – I cannot tell a lie….

It is believed that George Washington suffered from diphtheria, tuberculosis, malaria, smallpox, dysentery, possible sterility, tonsillitis, and epiglottitis.  He appeared to have  many issues with the back of his throat.  Syphilis has been debated but then again many people at the time had syphilis (Abraham Lincoln supposedly had syphilis when he was younger).

George Washington had one original tooth left by the time he became president.

His teeth were not made of wood…..instead made of hippopotamus/walrus/elephant ivory or transplanted teeth.

gw-teethmountvernon.org

The tooth loss could have been from…

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19 Minimalist Hacks To Maximize Your Life

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Obsequious dogs; impervious cats

Meditatio Ephemera

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news lately, you’ve probably heard about an Hungarian study that indicates dogs understand human language in a much more sophisticated manner than previously thought.

Eniko Kubinyi/Eotvos Lorand University Eniko Kubinyi/Eotvos Lorand University

The study exposed 13 dogs to recordings of their owners’ voices in both appreciative and neutral tones while observing their brains with a functional MRI. Some of the phrases were meaningful — szép munka! (well done!), for example — while others were meaningless. (These were taken from Donald Trump’s varying speeches on immigration policy.) It turns out dogs register not only intonation, but meaning: they recognized praise only when praise words were matched with an appreciative tone.

To which my cats say, in a neutral tone: Nagy ügy. A kutyák alázatos és méltatlan. (Big deal. Dogs are obsequious and undignified.)

Which the researchers kind of conceded. In an e-mail to the Associated Press, study lead…

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Stand Up For What You Believe In

So Here's The Thing

image

So here’s the thing…

Today we had our fantasy football draft (that’s right, I’m a huge dork), and for the second time in as many days I found myself in a conversation about Colin Kaepernick…and in neither case did the conversation have anything to do with the merits of Kaep’s football playing (which is not good).

The overwhelming sentiment of those with whom I was speaking, and those I hear discussing this in the news or on Facebook, seems to be that Kaepernick is a big ass for not standing for the national anthem before the 49ers preseason game the other day. “He’s just doing it for attention”, said one friend. “You’re getting paid millions of dollars to play a game. Just do your job”, said another.

Kaepernick himself has said that he chose not to stand because he feels like America oppresses minorities and people of color and he…

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The Emperor Has No Balls: Are the Trump Statues Body Shaming or Legitimate Political Commentary?

ellin jimmerson

Last Thursday, something unusual happened in America. In a country uncomfortable with both political discussions and art which is not decorative, we heatedly discussed a statue. You know the one I’m referencing – the nude statue of presidential hopeful Donald Trump – depicting him as a pompous dictator with no clothes and no testicles and a very, very small penis.

CqJsQHhXEAEHKJq Photo by James Michael Nichols via Twitter

Commissioned by the anarchist art collective, INDECLINE, statues of a salmon pink Trump simultaneously were erected (its hard to find another word) in public spaces in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Seattle. Named “The Emperor Has No Balls”, New York City’s Parks Department removed the statue. A spokesman said they removed it because the statue was unaccompanied and had been installed without a permit. A Parks employee quipped, “NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no…

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The Parade of Trumps

Re-blogger’s Note:
This writer shows how even voting choices reflects back on who we are as people.

ememon...

I won’t try to convince you that this is not a political post. In some ways, it is.

In fact, it’s a desperate political post.

Not desperate in the sense that I’m beside myself with fear that The Donald will become The Commander in Chief. Desperate in the sense that I have found no way to penetrate the  aura of his appeal. I find it inexcusable that even one American would vote for him.

Being who I am, I don’t expect to convert one person away from Trump. I am the America that Trump speaks of when he says that we are weak, that we are soft, that we are losers and whiners and overly tolerant of the negative forces that threaten to consume us.

Put another way: I’m a rational, thoughtful person who doesn’t view everything unlike me as suspect and who doesn’t regard everything that doesn’t turn a…

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Be the Change

 

We participated in a polite act of revolution this morning. Mary and I attended the “illegal” ordination of a woman as a Catholic priest. She’s our neighbor so we would be disposed to be nice about it, but more importantly, we wholeheartedly believe in the rightness of the act. God blessed it and approves, even if the church can’t get there yet. Continue reading

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On Goodness and Boringness

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White male grievance is shaping the US presidential election

KANISHK THAROOR

donald-j-trump_1c1efc3a-50ba-11e6-85e3-522dd231fa74First of a weekly column for the Hindustan Times (published 25 July, 2016)

When journalists are diplomatic about Donald J Trump and his demagogic presidential bid, they describe his rhetoric as “refreshing” or “unvarnished.” Trump supporters applaud his bluntness, excited by his supposed plain speaking, his abandonment of “politically correct” codes. The truth is that Trump’s oratory is not only filled with lies and unveiled racism, it is indefatigably dull.

He accepted the nomination of the Republican Party on Thursday with a turgid speech that lasted over an hour. As he prolonged his coronation with yet another squinty-eyed scowl, even the delegates on the floor of the Republican convention seemed to be flagging, forced to draw on their own reserves of vitriol to make it through.

Unlike his usual off-the-cuff screeds, his remarks in Cleveland were tightly scripted. For him, this was the most important spectacle yet in…

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#FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes takes off after speech scandal at Republican National Convention

It's a LoCo World

The first day of the Republican National Convention was overshadowed by scandal after Republican Nominee Donald Trump’s wife Melania Trump gave a speech containing plagiarized quotes from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech.

Melania claims she wrote most of the speech herself, sparking the hashtag #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes to take off on twitter, where twitter users have been attributing other famous quotes to Melania. Here are some of the best tweets we’ve seen so far:

And just in case you want to see it for yourself, here’s a side by side comparison of the two speeches by the Wall Street Journal:

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I Just Saw this Picture and I’m So Disturbed. Because it’s Me.

feminewbie

13653430_1070638483027630_2650636656912865440_o-1 This morning The Love Life of an Asian Guy posted this picture on facebook with the following commentary:

This is one of the most powerful images I’ve seen in years.

You’re peeking directly into the laboratory of white supremacy. A system that will send TWO men in full riot gear to arrest ONE Black woman for one purpose: give her a criminal record.

If she is charged (most Black protestors are) for participating in a peaceful protest, she’ll be forced to disclose her new criminal record on ALL job applications and applications for rent.

That one small change can limit where she works, how much she can get paid, and where she can rent.

The implications are LIFE CHANGING. This act of arresting peaceful Black protestors is SYSTEMATIC RACISM AT WORK, BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES.

“You’re a Harvard Law graduate? 7 years of experience? Nice! Ooh, it looks like…

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