Friday, May 16, 2014

Various Links
First of all, a shout out to my sister has set up a website for her new company here.  Go over, say hi, and perhaps even perchance sample some of the wares.

The good folks at continue to churn out must read articles:
5 Ways US Medical Billing Is Way More F#@ked Than You Think  (An article that makes me terrified about ever getting sick).

And 6 Bizarre Realities of How Movies Get Their Ratings (A follow up to the documentary: This Film is Not Yet Rated)

Also, the recent - news - about - the Arctic Ice Shelf Melting--and how basically we're all pretty much screwed now--is pretty depressing, isn't it?

The huge gap between how serious this is, and how little our generation seems to care, is aptly summed up in the introduction to this article on Gen X (via Whisky)
Hey, did you hear about the western Antarctic ice sheet? The melting there has reached the point of no return, which means we’re getting an extra ten feet added to our sea levels in the near future. A clear and direct threat to human life as we know it—we should be rioting in the streets, or at least posting more ice memes than net neutrality memes, right? Instead, as everyone knows, the scourge of the postmodern world, the Millennial generation, is too busy updating Snapchat on the iPhones they bought with their parents’ credit cards. 

And then there was a recent Washington Post editorial that really got under my skin.
Climate change: We have no solution yet by Robert J. Samuelson
On a superficial level, there's a lot in here I agree with.
The author takes a pessimistic view of whether we humans will get our act together to avoid catastrophe, and I've also expressed such a view.
The author believes that, despite all the hype about new technology and alternative energy, the actual hard numbers show that the new technology is not in a position to magically solve the problems, and that without drastically cutting back and changing our lifestyle, we're still headed for disaster.  And I've read several similar pieces.
But where I part company with the author is here: Given the circumstances, I believe that the only sane thing for us to do is to take drastic action to cut back on our lifestyle.  I'm just pessimistic about whether it will happen in time.
The author, instead, seems to believe that it would be completely unreasonable to expect any drastic government policy to curb Global Warming.  

At present, we have no practical replacement for this energy. No sane government will sacrifice its economy today — by dramatically curtailing fossil-fuel use — for the uncertain benefits of less global warming sometime in the foggy future. (The focus of the U.S. global warming report on the present seems aimed at bridging this gap.)

Worse, almost all the projected increases in global emissions come from poorer countries, half from China alone. By contrast, U.S. emissions (and those of most rich nations) are projected to stay stable over the three decades. Economic growth is slowing; energy efficiency is increasing; and, in Japan and some European countries, populations are declining. Because poor countries understandably won’t abandon their efforts to relieve poverty, any further U.S. emissions cuts would probably be offset by gains in China and elsewhere. This dims their political and environmental appeal.

The only real hope of disarming these well-known conflicts is new technology. As yet, no magical fix has emerged. Though increasing, solar and wind power still represent a tiny share of global energy. “Carbon capture and storage” — pumping carbon dioxide emissions from power plants underground — has been discussed for years. So far, it’s not commercially viable.

So basically, we all know where this is going, but because it is completely unreasonable to expect the government to dramatically curtail fossil-fuel use, there's no help for it.  We just have to head straight into an environmental disaster.  There's no other thing we can do.
Although this is just one editorial in one newspaper, I'm a little bit frightened that this kind of thing might represent the majority view.
Future generations are going to look back on our generation with a lot of puzzlement, and no doubt contempt.

And if you want to watch something more depressing, then there's this youtube video of Politicians Using the Bible to Resist Climate Action: A Supercut

The Phnom Penh Post has an article on how Climate Change has been effecting Cambodia
Droughts, flooding, disease: the reality of a Cambodia that has been hit by climate change

Moving on to lighter topics:
Some of my colleagues have been using this wonderful website with their young learner classes.  Great fun for any teacher of English who has younger students, and access to a computer lab.

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