Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Big List #1

Here’s the first installment of what I’m going to try to make a weekly thing - a brief rundown of things I have run across in the course of a week and found interesting. You might agree - probably not - and you might disagree - much more likely - and either one is fine. I find that lots of times I’ll hear something on the radio - usually NPR - or see something while Amy and I are out and about, and think to myself, Hey, I should blog about that...and then I never do. I have tons of unposted blogs that I started writing and never finished, either because I lost interest or they got too long-winded, or whatever. This won’t be a substitute for my usual ramblings but will instead, hopefully, be a way for me to write about things that might not merit a more standard, essay-length discussion. We’ll see how it goes. And now, without further ado...

The Big List - Week Of February 17, 2008

Al Gore To The Rescue?

From Newsweek’s Stumper blog, this is an article by Eleanor Clift that talks about how maybe - just maybe - the delegates at the Democratic National Convention could nominate Al Gore from the floor, if the primaries fail to produce a front-runner and the so-called “superdelegates” fail to cement the nomination for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It’s far-fetched, of course, and DNC chairman Howard Dean is against the idea...but it’s interesting. And, of course, I’m wholly in favor of a tree-hugging enviro-hippie in the White House, if for no other reason than to shake some of the conservative stupid out of this fading republic.

Recycling Is A Waste

I ran across this while perusing Gore-related articles the other day and was sort of stunned. The commentary makes a number of claims about how costly recycling can be (though there are no links to sources and the sources referenced in the commentary are vague at best), but the best part, I thought, was this: “Indeed, the U.S. currently has 18 years worth of landfill even if no new landfills are built. And at current rates of disposal, a single landfill just 100 yards deep and 35 miles square could contain all the garbage generated in the U.S. for the next 1,000 years.” So...we should go ahead and keep making garbage and dumping it into the earth? worries. We have enough landfills for another 1000 years! How is it even conceivable that someone could be so short-sighted and stupid? I’d kill myself. The commentary comes from the National Center For Policy Analysis, a conservative thinktank. Its Wikipedia entry includes this link as a source showing that the NCPA gets quite a lot of funding from ExxonMobil. Gee...

Chin National Day Celebration

This actually happened this past Saturday (2/16), but I wanted to note it anyway. Many of the kids to whom Amy is teaching English are Chin, an ethnic minority from Myanmar. They celebrated Chin National Day Saturday at Perry Meridian 6th Grade Academy. I had to work, or else would have gone with Amy and Jackson. She told me about it today - food and dancing and music, and even some wrestling! - and it sounds like it would have been fun. I don’t know if the print coverage was any better or not, but the Star’s online story was astonishingly awful, even for a bush league quasi-newspaper like the Star. Click here for a photo gallery from Chin National Day - the captions have more informational content than the online story, if you can believe it. A web site called Provocate has a brief blog post that provides more information than the lousy journalism in the Star.

My First Literary Crush

Helena and I were working on ideas for a gift card promotion the other day, and one of the ideas involved finding a head shot of Mark Cuban online, and that led me to a few Cuban-centric sites looking for pictures. (For the record, we did not find any that we thought would fit in with what we were trying to do.) Eventually, I got to his Wikipeida entry and there discovered that he very much admires Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead. The source for this information was some goofy sports information site called Deadspin, although it would have been more accurate to use this article from Slate magazine as the source, since it’s used as a source in the Deadspin thing and is, in fact, the original material. I wish that this were not the case, but it never fails to surprise me when I find that people admire the work of Ayn Rand - but it’s always a nice surprise, because it restores, if only briefly, my faith in humanity.

And finally,

Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight

The last time this happened was back at the end of August, and I posted some photos that weren’t very good - but tonight should afford a better opportunity. There will be a total lunar eclipse starting at around ten o’clock tonight and lasting - with the moon completely obscured by the earth’s shadow - for about 50 minutes. Now, if the clouds can just clear off and I can find some place dark enough, I might be able to get some decent photos up.

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