Archive for the 'Climate Change' Category

Shakespeare Anagram: Troilus and Cressida

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

This week, President Trump announced that he is withdrawing us from the Paris Climate Accord.

Now, in all likelihood, Trump is using this as a starting position for a renegotiation. That doesn’t mean we won’t actually pull out of the accord, as it seems unlikely such a renegotiation will be possible.

What this is really about is President Trump trying to show up President Obama. In his mind, he’s the greatest negotiator who ever lived. In reality, how good is he? He couldn’t even talk Republicans into repealing Obamacare.

What’s really scary about this is that, despite the unprecedented international coordination that went into making the deal, experts agree that it didn’t go nearly far enough to slow down the warming of the planet. Further action will still be needed, and that is going to be extremely difficult politically.

But what we definitely don’t want to do is move in the opposite direction, which is what this president is threatening to do. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to undo the damage that is done, and future generations may just look that this as the moment when we passed the point of no return.

Anyway, enjoy the anagram.

From Troilus and Cressida:

Paris is dirt to him.

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

Idiot rips; it harms.

Shakespeare Anagram: King Lear

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

From King Lear:

Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O! I have ta’en
Too little care of this. Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

Hurricane Sandy was a tragedy of the steepest stuff: power loss, floods, treks, homes lost, and death.

How should we justify exactly who we are?

The next test, this election ahead, is to choose among two discussed philosophies.

Romney sulks “Every man for himself.” Shut up!

Obama defends “We’re all in this together,” as he had heeded.

Help us keep up the push to stay there for one another.


Heat the Poor

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

There’s a really good article on “The Economics of Global Warming” in Newsweek:

The most likely consequences of climate change will be severe impacts on food production in the developing world. We can worry about urban heat waves, polar bears, and forest fires, but the worst effects are almost certainly going to be on food production in the poor countries, where half or more of the population depends on growing its own food.

Estimates of lost world product due to climate change are moderate because the poor have so little to lose. More than a billion people, maybe 2 billion, are estimated to live on less than the equivalent of $2 per day. If a billion of those poorest people lost half their income, it would be an overwhelming tragedy, a true catastrophe, worse than all the earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, landslides, and fires of the past decade happening every year. But those billion people together would lose only $365 billion per year. That is less than 1 percent of world income! They have so little to begin with that what they can lose doesn’t amount to much of a statistic. But they can lose tragically.

It’s not a long article, so click here to read the whole thing.

Question of the Week

Monday, May 11th, 2009

With headlines dominated by the financial crisis, porcine influenza pandemic, and international terrorism, it’s not hard to find things to be afraid of today.

Other problems like unchecked nuclear proliferation, global oil depletion, and the destruction of the environment seem to be ever present.

Which of these are real threats and which are distractions? What threats lurk under the radar?

What should we really be panicking about?

Shakespeare Anagram: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

From A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

And thorough this distemperature we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
And on old Hiems’ thin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set. The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which.
And this same progeny of evil comes
From our debate, from our dissension:
We are their parents and original.

Shift around the letters, and it becomes:

A sharp column in the Washington Post this month, wherein faded global warming is reframed in some depth as a hidden security issue, hit home.

In this column, he described three harsh ways that these few overwhelming horrors can render war: rampant scarcity from hotter, drier lands; renewed open-handed abundance; and fresh issues of common sovereignty, making two geopolitical zones of tension.

We should take this solemn threat to our security seriously, or we’re finished.

Question of the Week

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Global warming? Nuclear war? Environmental pollution? Social chaos? Biological weapons?

What is the greatest threat to human survival today, and what must we do to survive it?

Question of the Week

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Barack Obama campaigned on some pretty progressive issues: health care as a right of citizenship, a measured withdrawal from Iraq, a tax increase for Americans making over $250,000/yr., fighting global warming, increased spending on education, and more. But he also campaigned on changing the tone and ushering in a new era of post-partisan cooperation.

It seems unlikely that he will be able to keep both promises. Republicans will resist the Obama agenda fiercely, but Obama will have the clout and the Congressional support to fight back if he chooses to. This week’s question asks whether or not he should, and I’m curious to know what you think.

Do you think Obama should strive for bipartisan compromise and national unity, or should he use all of the powers and support at his disposal to advance a progressive agenda regardless of the opposition?

More Gore

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Al Gore has written a new book. Go buy it.

What do you mean, “What’s it about”? Go buy it.

Okay, if you insist. He describes it himself on his blog:

When George Bush launched his preemptive war in Iraq, more than 70% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was linked to the terrorists who caused 9-11. After the 2004 election, when asked what stuck in their minds about the campaign, voters in Ohio named two ads playing to the fears of terrorism paid for by the Bush Campaign. One pattern that has held true since 2001 is that this White House is less interested in openness and truth than any previous administration.

We are facing so many long-term challenges, from the climate crisis and the war in Iraq to health care and social welfare. To solve these problems and move forward we need to reverse the damage done to our democracy. We have little time to waste.

My goal in The Assault on Reason is to explore why our public forum now welcomes the enemies of reason. More importantly, the book focuses on what we can do together, individually and collectively, to restore the rule of reason to our democracy.

Is that enough? Okay, now go buy it.

By the way, how cool is it that Al Gore has a blog? From all appearances, it’s really his blog, and not written by staff members.

While we’re here, I’m going to throw in a prediction: Al Gore will eventually throw his hat in the ring for President in the 2008 election. I still think he’d have a good chance of winning, and he’d almost certainly have the endorsement of I think he’ll do it.

If he really wants to fight for the causes that are so important to him, how can he possibly walk away from a chance at the position where he’d have the most power to enact the changes he wants to see in the world?

Question of the Week

Monday, May 7th, 2007

At the recent Republican debate, the candidates were asked to raise their hands if they did not believe in evolution. Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, and Tom Tancredo all raised their hands.

And this is America, where people are free to believe anything they like. But these are people who are running to be the president of the most powerful nation on earth. The next president must be able to lead the world in dealing with the crisis of global climate change. The next president will probably have to revisit stem cell research. The next president will possibly have to deal with another epidemic. All of these things are difficult to do when you don’t believe in science. Just ask President Bush.

But these three guys raise their hands, and it’s buried in the middle of the story, after we finish talking about the legacy of Ronald Reagan. Why is this not the top story? If they had said they were athiests, it would be the top story. If they had said they were atheists, that would be the end of their careers in American politics. If they had said they were agnostic, that would be the end of their careers in American politics.

So many of our most celebrated figures are openly athiest, from scientists to artists, from business leaders to Karl Rove. But not one of the candidates running for president.

Why is disbelief in evolution more acceptable in American politics today than disbelief in God?