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Showing posts from September 30, 2011

A viable local economy

Our present society disperses people so that there are less than 100 per square mile. A viable local economy exists when there are 5-10,000 people within walking distance.

A viable commerce cannot be built by a warehouse highway culture that assumes everyone will want to invest everything in home and automobiles.

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Houses and cars cannot drive our economy.

The reason houses will continue to lose value is the same reason expensive cars will fade away in our society. Both houses and cars are part of a market that is itself fading. It is the market of a misguided affluent society that thought life could be aced by financial games, corporate posturing and the creation of a deceptive financial enterprise that came back and bit them.
Houses and cars, the way we have them now, will not wash. They cannot drive our economy.
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Jacques Barzun on the decline of public education (1983)

Jacques Barzun, 1983 preface to Teacher in America:

"The once proud and efficient public-school system of the United States, especially its unique free high school for all—has turned into a wasteland where violence and vice share the time with ignorance and idleness, besides serving as battleground for vested interests, social, political, and economic. The new product of that debased system, the functional illiterate, is numbered in millions, while various forms of deceit have become accented as inevitable—”social promotion” or for those who fail the “minimum competency” test; and most lately, “bilingual education,” by which the rudiments are supposedly taught in over ninety languages other than English. The old plan and purpose of teaching the young what they truly need to know survives only in the private sector, itself hard-pressed and shrinking in size." - Jacques Barzun (1983)

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Jacques Barzun is 104

Jacques Barzun, an essay by Rafe Champion noting his wide-ranging scholarship.: "
Barzun wrote in 1963:
”If science students leave college thinking, as they usually do, that science offers a full, accurate, and literal description of man and Nature; if they think theories spring from facts and that scientific authority at any time is infallible, and if they think that science steadily and automatically makes for a better world – then they have wasted their time in the science lecture room and they are a plain menace to the society they live in”. "

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The last man standing was Consul Newtonius Gingrichius

Sometime before the birth of Christ A secret group in Rome appointed a super-secret Brotherhood of The Drone To locate and assassinate the enemies of the empire They did not publicize these successful efforts And for centuries there were effective kills Droning on But as the empire began to totter following the birth of Christ The Brotherhood of the Drone stepped up its activities And could not avoid being outed The pundits of the time were vociferous in support of the Empire It was the last best hope of the world, said they Finally of course barbarians overran the empire The last man standing was Consul Newtonius Gingrichius Surveying the wreckage he had nothing but praise for The policy of assassination with impunity

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There is no longer any academic leadership

"There is no longer any academic leadership. There is leadership, but it is business leadership and there is a difference. In fact, many might argue that business leadership is what will save academe, but the reality is that academic leadership could have if there had been any. Also, the academy as we now know it, or knew it, will hardly survive the rescue.

"I could go on, but I wonder if others agree." - Harley Myler
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How universities became subservient to corporate influence

"Academic capitalism is defined as “institutional and professorial market or market-like efforts to secure externalmoneys” (Slaughter and Leslie, 1997, p. 8). In the 1980s and1990s academic capitalism flourished as government supportfor education declined, corporate interest in new productsand processes coincided with the university’s search for increased funding, and as the government sought to enhancenational competitiveness by linking postsecondary educationto business innovation. Many within higher education did not recognize the ways in which higher education fundinghad been impacted by world events and believed the situa-34tion to be temporary. However, States saw an absolute decline in funding for postsecondary education for the firsttime in 1993–94 and there has been a steady decline in revenues as a share of collected tax since 1988. As unrestricted resources became scarce, universities began to compete with each other for partnerships with business and industry andfor t…

Imagining the enemies of Jesus today (Film Script)

Markman: A Film About Jesus:
"TIGER: We're gonna make waves like this town has never seen, And when it's all over all the assholes and bleeding heart agitators are gonna be twisting in the wind. And all the coupon clipping fags with their fat bottom lines will be twisting in the wind, gonzo. What do you think I'm about, fucking penny ante?

MAYOR: Calm down, Tiger.

TIGER: They think you're a goddam puppet, Mr. Mayor, their little tool. (beat) You tell 'em Tiger Ward cleans up the loose ends.

Angle on Mayor taking this in.

Angle on Tiger, tight.

TIGER: (Cont) That's what keeps this old world going.

MAYOR: Jesus.

TIGER: No. Me. Just me and my buddies, Mr. Mayor."

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Spaces (rooms) in the cyber-community

Beyond Pattern Language: I have been waiting for some hot venture capitalist sorts to really gamble.: "7. Will it have houses? Not so much. It will have spaces into which one may place modular elements that can be both residential and commercial. The matrix or skeleton of the community will contain the conduits needed to power everything, supply water and remove waste for recycling."

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New Tao Posts: The Tao gives everyone the right to choose

New Tao Posts: The Tao gives everyone the right to choose:

To speak of the Tao giving rights is a presumption which requires explanation. We are we and we know from common sense that we have a precious internal freedom which consists of being able to choose by which values we shall live. We make these choices individually thousands of times, every sign that comes up elicits this choice. To say we are idolatrous is to say that our sights and actions are directed to ignoble ends. The sight that infers the Tao in everything is inevitably guided to a free choice of values which respect the universal reality which is, ontologically speaking, the evolutionary sweep of non-idolatry, democracy, helpfulness and tolerance.

A damaged system of liberty

The 2005 Hayek Lecture | The Road to Serfdom Revisited: "This brings me back to Hayek and The Road to Serfdom. The particular threats to liberty that he identified may be on the wane—his book has done its work well—but there are other threats, and the victory of liberty is never secure. Hayek's key message for us today is surely this: every new restriction or regulation should be judged by its effect not just on the problem that it is designed to solve or the danger that it is designed to avert but by its effect on the system of liberty as a whole. If we are blind to this, we will be left with a damaged system of liberty long after the particular problem or danger has passed away."

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The Orwellian Slope

The 2005 Hayek Lecture | The Road to Serfdom Revisited: "What about the Orwellian slope? The issue here is the extent to which the instability of Western frontiers manned mainly by the United States with help from Great Britain threatens to subvert the rule of law. A noted British lawyer, Helena Kennedy, remarked in a recent lecture in London that the war on terrorism offers opportunities not otherwise available to prime ministers and presidents for repressive legislation. She points out that the police and security agencies now have an incredible array of surveillance technology at their disposal, just as Orwell foresaw that they would in the 1940s. In a conscious, or an unconscious, echo of Hayek, Lady Kennedy notes that any concern about the "thin end of wedges" is brushed aside as intemperate, because our officials are all "good chaps."

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Auto-totalitarianism creepeth apace

The 2005 Hayek Lecture | The Road to Serfdom Revisited: "Orwell set up a world of three giant powers with unstable frontiers that he called Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia, each rendered immune to conquest by its possession of nuclear weapons, but each needing, for purposes of domestic control, to create the illusion that they were permanently at war with one another. In his notes for the book, Orwell refers to "the system of organized lying on which society is founded" and "the nightmare feeling caused by the disappearance of objectivity."

Thus for Orwell, the danger of totalitarianism arose from the new technologies of manipulation, control, and surveillance and their being pressed into the service of national security. He painted a world in which the structure of the economy and the tastes of the people were adapted to the requirements of power."

But oddly enough the battle ground in the US is precisely the control and direction of the government itself. …

Hitchens on Orwell (Video)

Orwell's continuing relevance

The 2005 Hayek Lecture | The Road to Serfdom Revisited:

"Orwell thought that the advent of television would make it comparatively easy for a self-perpetuating elite to manipulate, condition, and monitor the masses without much explicit use of terror. "Every citizen, or at least every citizen important enough to be worth watching, could be kept for twenty-four hours a day under the eyes of the police and in the sound of official propaganda.... The possibility of enforcing ... complete uniformity of opinion on all subjects now existed for the first time." Orwell was always alert to the connection between totalitarian habits of thought and the corruption of language, and he coined the expression "doublespeak" to denote the manipulation of truth by words. He envisaged a Ministry of Truth turning out pornography to distract and debase the "proles.""

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Tax Stock Transactions to Curb Volatility

Occupy Wall Street - Finally A Tax Proposal Warren Buffett Should Love - Forbes: "They could call for a 50-cent Wall Street stock-trade surcharge, which it said would boost the U.S. economy at least $350 billion a year, Light Party founder Da Vic Raphael told United Press International Thursday night. I kind of like that one. Maybe it would put a dent in market volatility. One more proposal that won’t cost Warren Buffett that much since he thinks the ideal holding period is forever."

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Thanks to our Supreme Court 2012 will cost $6 billion

Why the 2012 Election Will Cost $6 Billion - BusinessWeek: "The 2012 election is shaping up to be the most expensive ever, by a lot. Between congressional contests and the Presidential campaign, the 2008 race came in at about $5 billion. This go-round is on track to exceed $6 billion, thanks in large part to recent court decisions that relaxed limits on corporate and union spending. "

And you think they won't also kill Health Care? We are in a protracted century-long struggle and don't forget it.

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The incomes of the middle class, you mean

Stocks Fall on Fresh Economic Data - "The Commerce Department said consumer spending in August rose 0.2 percent, while incomes actually fell for the first time in two years."

The rich get richer, as Jesus said of the fallen world he came to right. A world conformed to the Lord's prayer where earth and heaven are less far apart than now would reverse things and make abundance an equal spread. That might also create a bit more consumer spending. But the short term niceties of wealth do not allow for such reflections. It's on to the next party.

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Pay-for-Failure Thrives on Wall Street

Outsize Severance Continues for Executives, Even After Failed Tenures - "Critics have long complained about outsize compensation packages that dwarf ordinary workers’ paychecks, but they voice particular ire over pay-for-failure. Much of Wall Street and corporate America has shifted a bigger portion of pay into longer-term stock awards and established policies to claw back bonuses. And while fuller disclosure of exit packages several years ago has helped ratchet down the size of the biggest severance deals, efforts by shareholders and regulators to further restrict payouts have had less success."

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Like the rest of us, Lady Gaga is a spectrum not a binary

Lady Gaga Has Three Heads In New Fashion Film - Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV: "The video, which mixes Mugler runway show footage with clips from the new Gaga film, offers another take on Mother Monster's ever-evolving persona. It opens on a close-up of Gaga's face, her teeth diamond-encrusted, as she says, "Sometimes, my heart sometimes feels so black ... and other days my heart feels like rainbows.""

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Collapsing Benches A Fashion Allegory

Spring 2012: Carven, Balenciaga | The Fix | Daily Front Row: "Standing room only? Mais non! One bench after another collapsed this morning at the Rue Cassette venue housing the Balenciaga show. Tip-top chicsters from Elle's Kate Lanphear to Mario Testino landed on their derrières before being asked by the profusely apologetic Balenciaga exec, Isabelle Guichot, to relinquish their front row perches. Safety first! "

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Corruption of Science

"Peirce himself was often vociferous about the immense gap between the ideal of genuine science and the professional (profitable) practice which he called “Art”, which in our current vernacular is called “technology” and usually conflated with “science” (as in your own term “sci-tech”). The ascendancy (and destructiveness) of corporate “science” has vastly escalated in our time, but i don't see how Peirce can be blamed for that – or for using the term “science” to denote the ideal (self-correcting) form of inquiry, especially when he pointed out so clearly that this ideal was rarely actualized even in his own time, and that its place in society was commonly usurped by a corrupted practice for which he expressed a profound contempt. (Especially in the Cambridge lectures of 1898, but elsewhere too.)"  Cap tip Gary F.

Maybe we should call it science got mad. Or steps on the way to the monetization of everything.

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These shoes aren't made for walking

The Daily Shoe | Balenciaga - "Mirroring the steep V’s, pleats and triangular shapes that dominated the collection that Nicolas Ghesquière showed this morning were sharp-winged shoes as angular and outstanding as the clothes they carried."

Fashion is part of the effort to create an alternate universe and woo people from the world of real walking. It provides a basis for massive expenditures which have nothing to do with much at all save this alternate universe. In the real universe, the best things in life remain simple and free. And the best art is the unmediated mind-processed sight of the eye.

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How boring must be night life in NYC

Mary J. Blige, Estelle, Andre Balazs, and More at Paper Magazine's Nightlife Awards: "The crowd roared for the memorial "moment of noise" (no silence with this group) that Paper's David Hershkovits invoked for the late Don Hill and kept it going for cover girl Mary J. Blige's performance at the end of the night. Which was, conveniently enough, before 11 p.m. Perfect time for partygoers to venture to their favorite nightlife spots—even if it was only Tuesday."

If I had to endure this and actually pay for it, I would not be a very happy camper. I live NY and was born raised and now live here. Minus moments of noise. I get enough promo junk in my email to realize there really is a tinsel world out there that must account for the continuing plethora of drugs consumed - and the "moments of noise". We began to see the advanced decline of culture during the Reagan era. It continues on its own apparent momentum. I think it may fade away next summer.


That Explains It. Thanks.

Biofuel breakthrough made from microbes | Green Tech - CNET News: ""This is the first report of bisabolane as a biosynthetic alternative to D2 diesel, and the first microbial overproduction of bisabolene in Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae," Taek Soon Lee, director of JBEI's metabolic engineering program and a project scientist at Lawrence Berkeley."

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The High Risk Project No One Will Touch

$1 Billion in U.S. Loan Guarantees to 2 Solar Projects - "As the federal fiscal year ends, and with it the part of the stimulus program that finances some energy loans, the Energy Department issued $1.07 billion in loan guarantees on Wednesday afternoon, for two solar energy production plants, and on Thursday it plans to announce $156 million in grants for high-risk but potentially high-reward research projects."

The high risk project no one will touch is the creation of a model of a cyber-community as defined in this blog. 10K population. Unzoned. Weather resistant. Eco-sufficient. Car free. Etc.. Retrofitting is not enough.

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Public penitence knows no bounds

Fresh Kills, Once a Landfill, Is Environmentally Transformed - "There will be composting toilets and “rain gardens” to capture water for use in irrigation. Hundreds of acres of meadows will be sown with native grass and wildflower seeds. Goats will graze on invasive plant species like phragmites. And educational and cultural programs will emphasize sustainability. Four enormous waste mounds, built up over 53 years, will be transformed."

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In spite of everything the Dead See lives

New Life-Forms Found at Bottom of Dead Sea: "In general, the "study really changes how we see the Dead Sea, from a biological perspective," said Kelly Bidle, an environmental microbiologist at Rider University in New Jersey who studies bacteria that live in salty habitats.

That's because "seeing this diversity in a place we had never thought was there before" is very exciting, she said."

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Do you know what terminal buzz is?

Bats Have Superfast Muscles—A Mammal First: "Found in some songbirds and snakes, superfast muscles in bats occur in the throat and enable a crucial hunting behavior: echolocation, in which the bat sends out sound waves and listens for echoes bouncing off prey.

As a bat closes in on an insect, the mammal emits more than 160 calls a second, a phenomenon called terminal buzz."

Maybe some human beings are trying to evolve into bats.

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Man Made Climate Change Endangers Many Species

Fluctuating Climate May Impede Fleeing Animals ( | Yahoo! Green: "Climate change is expected to send many species on one-way migrations in search of new homes as their old ranges become inhospitable. Whether or not they can survive this century depends a great deal on what happens along the route, a new study has shown."

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Alaskans say no to Shell offshore drilling

Groups sue to block Arctic offshore drilling (AP) | Yahoo! Green: "ANCHORAGE, Alaska - More than a dozen Alaska Native and environmental organizations sued Thursday to block offshore oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska's north coast.

The 13 groups filed the legal challenge to federal approval in August of Shell Oil's exploration drilling plan with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Earthjustice attorney Holly Harris said in a news teleconference that allowing Shell to drill when it has no credible plan to clean up an Arctic Ocean oil spill is insulting and irresponsible."

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Let's Make China-America Money Game A Tie

As a service economy we could triple our global marketAs a goods economy we could do much better with a weaker dollarAnd with some trade agreements that need to get doneChina does well taking advantage of our strong dollarAnd by artificially weakening its currencyChina should be taken to task for thisIllegal maneuver  US money and China money should have Equal. valueThe China-America money game should be a tieGlobal Online Privacy