Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bits and Pieces, Helmut Edition

Photo by John Dominis
I'll do a round-up today....

Stephen Webster reveals his letters to his right-wing mom. Same experience here. So, I respond.

In a little-noticed but hugely significant development, China has idled 40% of its wind turbine factories. They've been racing ahead with the production of renewable energy technologies, but they have one main infrastructural hitch domestically: no power grid. And this likely won't change soon as it involves conflicts between provinces and disincentives on the part of those provinces that are more immune from blackouts.

China and Japan responsible for killing an agreement on hammerhead and whitetip shark protections at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meetings in Doha. Demand for shark fin soup has risen in China. So have finless shark carcasses.

At CITES, Japan and others are responsible for a failed agreement that would have regulated trade in red and pink corals. Buty delegates have decided to try save Kaiser's spotted newt, of which there an estimated 1000 left in existence. Some tree frog and iguana protections too.

A nice WRI piece here on Brazil's climate change approach. Plus (don't know if this ever got posted), a political history of cap and trade.

Chemicals: CIA might have experimented with LSD in 1951 using a French village as guinea pig. And India tests hot peppers for their terrorism-fighting properties. That last link sent by an Irish friend who I gassed years ago in his small Paris apartment by grilling habanero peppers before mixing them into a salsa.

For your listening pleasure, two great Jamaican soul-reggae tunes at Soul Sides - by Carlton and the Shoes and by the Heptones - and an R&B burner by Willie Smith and Cliff Driver's Infernal Machine at Funky16Corners.

Finally, newly unveiled Life Magazine photos by John Dominis of ultra-cool Steve McQueen playing with guns and records (glad he liked jazz albums; not so happy with his treatment of them). See above for one of them.


MT said...

"...tests hot peppers for their terrorism-fighting properties. That last link sent by an Irish friend..."

Sounds like it might have been your salsa that brought the IRA to the table for talks.

MT said...

I had dialogues like Stephen Webster's with my dad. Mine went on longer and degenerated further, so I mostly admire that his exchange--at least as represented--was brief and didn't degenerate so far as mine. Still, I think a dialogue with a parent is a bad model for discussing practically anything--because the guiding emotions are especially likely to have nothing to do with the topic at hand, and hard for anyone outside the relationship to infer. But mostly the way I think Webster's conversation is a bad model is all but universal these days. He doesn't argue any point with reference to a mutually trusted or authoritative source on what the facts are. What options does this leave open besides rhetoric and people talking past each other? Why bother even teaching reason or critical thinking? Really something like "the scholarly method" of argument ought to be taught alongside (if not over and above) "the (alleged) scientific method" to everybody in grade school. Not even newspapers model this standard, because we're supposed to trust them to a very large extent.