Sunday, August 26, 2007

Guess what? The Iraq war is going swimmingly.

Two articles on Iraq that you must read, whatever your politics; free cup of coffee may await.

If you can read these and still continue to support this government and its war in Iraq, please let me know and I'll
a) report your name here (it should be made public)
and b) buy you a cup of coffee; it'll be more than worth the cost see just who you are.*

If you don't read anything else this month, read these 2 pieces.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Food for thought

Newspapers often bullied their way to centrality in a community. They were a kind of Mafia, a kind of protection racket--you don't play nice with me, you don't advertise with me, I mess with you. *

"The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious."
-- Dan Rather*

Sunday, August 19, 2007

More reading on global warming

NASA's Global Warming Questions and Answers

The recent Newsweek article on Global Warming Deniers

Grist compendium of presidential candidates' positions on climate change - on recognizing it, and on addressing it

RealClimate's 1934 and all that, giving the story behind NASA's recent adjustment of North American surface temperatures; on same topic, see Conservatives vs NASA on Global Warming ("This diary follows a rumor's spread through the conservative blogosphere....")
Also, from the 8/26 NY Times, Quarter-Degree Fix Fuels Climate Fight

Selling Ecocide, Monbiot on hypocrisy in the press ("The editorials urge us to cut our emissions. The adverts urge us to raise them.")

*From the trenches, "they're alarmist because it brings them funding" doesn't ring true:
It seems to me that scientists downplaying the dangers of climate change fare better when it comes to getting funding. Drawing attention to the dangers of global warming may or may not have helped increase funding for the relevant scientific areas, but it surely did not help individuals like Mercer who stuck their heads out.*

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's now

and unfortunately the forwarding for is progressing s - l - o - w - l - y so for now that URL won't work. So -

Monday, August 13, 2007

List of deficient or obsolete major bridges in Nevada County

Just a table, not very informative as-is; will provide more info if I run across it. How many (what %) of our bridges are major? Deficient/obsolete minor bridges won't appear on this list.

(Related: County to ID bridge repairs ("Official says local structures generally 'safe'"), Aug 3 in The Union.)

Status: presumably D=deficient,O=obsolete.

MSNBC provided the following information:
Bridges that carry at least 10,000 vehicles a day and have been rated as either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete by inspectors:

(please scroll down; lots of whitespace between here and the table, for some reason)


(I'd originally published this yesterday as a Nevada County Voices piece, but felt it didn't merit the space and attention, so have moved it to my personal blog.)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

NCVoice is down; it's temporary

It will return as Nevada County Voices (since it certainly doesn't speak with a single voice...)

The Psychology of Cleaning (and the importance of framing)

The reason people hate to clean house is that they're looking at the job wrong.

Those of you who know me in real life will find it hard to believe that you could learn anything about cleaning (beyond cautionary tales) from this space, but bear with me.

With the advent of Nevada County Voice(s) I've been reading Shawn's streamlining/organizing/efficiency blog Project Simplify regularly. So when on top of her indoctrinations I read in Paul Graham's excellent essay on Stuff his belaboring of the obvious (to everyone but me) fact that:
One reason [a cluttered room saps one's spirits], obviously, is that there's less room for people in a room full of stuff... triggered an insight - namely, that I've been looking at household entropy reduction the wrong way.

Cleaning is not serving and caring for your home. When you clean, you are not your house's servant.

Cleaning is defiantly reclaiming space that the vile (but spineless! so easily beaten back!) god Entropy thought it could slyly claim via adverse possession, while you were otherwise occupied.

It seems to be working, so far...
(and Shawn, if you already made this point and it's only now springing back out from my subconscious...thank you!)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A failure to communicate: Scientists, journalists, reality

A very nice explanation of why journalists - and scientists - have failed for so long to inform the public about global warming*, in Pants On Fire, part 1 over at Little Blog in the Big Woods - it's the very forseeable, and very unfortunate, outcome of their different cultural strictures and conventions, regarding communicating about reality:
...we [in our society] rely on scientific opinion, as reported; by reporters.
...[It is remarkably common] for humans to speak to each other, hold what passes for a conversation, and leave the conversation reasonably satisfied; but with no information having changed hands.
Scientists, journalists, "policy makers", and the general public, are doing this now, big time...[They] do not, in fact, speak the same languages; and they do not know it. We need interpreters, and have none...
[Consequence, re global warming:]
...The real equation, in 1988, was that 85% of the scientists who studied the problem were 85% sure we were heading for horrifyingly serious problems, and the majority of their opposition were known fools.
...[But] what [journalists] reported was: no one is sure, and Dr. Billy, a colorful contrarian, says "BULL!".

Not unrelated: xarker on Science and Media, and their practioners' respective failures to communicate and to adapt.
...a New Yorker cartoon of two aging scientists in a quiet, darkened lab office. One says to the other, "Well, at least we never stooped to popularizing science." There's a lot of dark humor implied in that subject, and it's not related solely to scientists.

And (Wed update) The Truth About Denial - Newsweek on the deniers' funding machine