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Chillin' Out

By: Bogon, 5:12 PM GMT on May 11, 2010

This week started with a shot of cool air, which was a most welcome change. The HVAC system in our house is on its last legs. It's time to replace it. We put the job up for bids, and the guys we picked just rang the doorbell. Hopefully they can hook up a new air conditioner before simmering summering heat cranks up again. For now it's comfortable enough with the windows open.

A brief rain shower freshened the lawn this morning. It wasn't enough to soak the dry ground, yet it may portend wetter days to come. Slight rain chances (20-30 percent) persist for another day or two. More scattered showers and thunderstorms are forecast for the weekend. The main storm track lies to our north, but this series of disturbances may be capable of making headway against the Atlantic high that has dominated our weather for the last month. I only wish we could get a little rain here without first causing severe weather upstream in places like Oklahoma.

There's no major theme for this blog entry, no rant, no bad news. I'm taking a break from all that. Spring has come, the grass is growing, and it's a good time to sit on the porch and enjoy the flowers.

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Updated: 8:59 AM GMT on May 17, 2010


Game Theory

By: Bogon, 6:36 PM GMT on May 03, 2010

The other day, as I sat meditatively in the reading room, I ran across a book review in one of my wife's magazines. My spouse has thoughtfully situated a very small table (capable of holding, say, a cup of coffee) next to the throne, and under the table there is a box of assorted periodicals. It was in one of those that I found the article.

It was a brief review, but as I scanned it I became aware that it made a lot of sense. I resolved to go a-googling to see whether I might find the publication on-line. My aim was to share this information with you, gentle reader. Alas, though I found the website of the magazine in question, they had not yet (as of what must be, by now, at least a month ago) published the article on the internet. The book in question, The End of the Long Summer, was written by Dianne Dumanoski. (Ah! This morning I checked again. The review is now available for your inspection.)

What Google revealed instead was an essay Ms. Dumanoski authored more than a decade ago in support of a book called Our Stolen Future. This is a more lengthy piece. In my opinion it's well worth a perusal, if you can spare the time. Here's a taste.

The globalization of human destiny became a reality decades before technology fostered the globalization of the economy and the communication revolution. The challenges of this new historical epoch center on somehow managing our pervasive global presence, of coming to terms with finitude--inescapable planetary limits-- of understanding ourselves not as individual, or tribes, or nations, but as a single, global species. We need a vision that matches the reality of our situation--a now global humanity linked irrevocably to the rest of our kind.

In some of my previous posts it has been my wont to refer to Nature, capitalized and personified. It's not that I believe in Mother Nature or Gaia as some kind of deity who watches over the earth. Rather this term gives me a convenient handle for all those processes and productions that occur naturally on earth, that have been going on since its creation, and that would continue in the absence of humankind. In short, I use 'Nature' to denote everything that traditionally lies beyond the scope of human activities and inventions. Ms. Dumanoski points out that this sort of usage is a relic of 18th century Romanticism. As such, it seems inappropriate in the face of our modern dilemma. I believe I shall have to reconsider my habits of thinking and speaking. Today there is little on the planet that lies beyond the reach of Man's influence.

Speaking of the modern dilemma...

Some of you have suffered patiently while I ranted about such topics as global warming, environmental degradation and overpopulation. You'll be happy to hear that I have a short list of these button-pushing themes, and that this blog has already provided me an opportunity to vent about most of them. In the future I hope to find time and inspiration to treat more congenial subjects. Today, however, I invite you to consider a simple graphic that, to me, sums up the world situation better than any other.

Population Bomb

Those of you who possess an iota of mathematical savvy will recognize a hyperbolic trajectory when you see one. It is in the fundamental nature of things that such a trend cannot continue. Something's got to give.

We've got a global problem here, which calls for a global solution. I invite you to take part in that solution. My advocacy does not constitute a political position. Nor does it represent a religious affiliation, a communist plot or a business proposition. It's not a game I'm playing to pick winners and losers. I want us all to be winners. In order for that to happen, we're all going to have to step up and make a smart play. Political partisanship, religious zeal and predatory business schemes are unlikely to help, for these are things that divide us. We need to team up to survive the coming storm. I'm talking about survival strategy.

And when I say 'we', I mean everybody, everywhere, all 6.8 billion of us. I realize that cooperation on such a scale is absolutely unprecedented in history. It's the only move that makes sense. We each contribute to this problem simply by being alive; perhaps by acting collectively we can solve it — before it solves us.

"We must hang together, gentlemen...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately."

-- Benjamin Franklin

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Updated: 4:51 AM GMT on May 05, 2010


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Retired software engineer. "What is that?", you may ask. It's someone who has time to blog about the weather...

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