(I’m going to try – and let me emphasize the word “try” to repost some of my facebook posts. Here are my FB posts from the last 2 weeks.)
For working adults in Texas, only 62% had Employer-Sponsored health Insurance (ESI). For all people under 65 (working & nonworking), 52% were covered by an ESI plan. Nationally, 68% of working Americans had ESI, and 58.5% of all Americans under 65 had ESI.
Here are the same stats for 2000: 68.5% of working Texans had ESI, 60.6% of all Texans under 65 were covered by ESI. Nationally for 2000, 75.4 of working Americans had ESI; 68.5% of all Americans under 65 were covered by ESI. For those without insurance (nationally), 17% had full time work and 27% had part time work. (I wrote about this issue 2 years ago here). See also my guide to purchasing individual health insurance.
KARL KRAUS: “How is the world ruled and how do wars start? Diplomats tell lies to journalists and then believe what they read.”
Tiny Revolution compares Colin Powell’s UN speech about WMD and what his intelligence operatives were telling him prior to the speech. After reading this, it’s hard to maintain that Powell was simply receiving bad intelligence; he HAD received decent intelligence, but chose to hide or ignore it.
Arguments about the Keystone/XL Pipeline are moot because Canadian Tar Sands producers are simply rerouting through the Seaway Pipeline. A few months ago Enbridge reversed the flow of oil from Galveston to Cushing, OK so that the Cushing oil could transfer Canadian tar sands oil from one pipeline back to Galveston. (CP Comment) XL Keystone is bad enough, but Enbridge recently doubled the flow of Seaway, and is expected to double it again in a year. I find this both shocking and depressing. On the bright side, this will mean higher prices for gas because the oil companies can sell more sell internationally. Wait, is that a bright side?
The physics of climate change is implacable, absolutely implacable. We do not do ‘implacable’ very well, especially when it comes to a progressive political/legislative process unless we are perceived to be on a wartime footing. THIS is the real problem- though Obama may turn out to be more progressive on the climate then he has so far demonstrated, I would be EXTREMELY surprised if he proposes action that is commensurate with the urgency of the physics. I hear all who have comments that we must bring public pressure to bear to make this happen (and I agree)…but to be congruent with the physics, we are talking about 1) A full out, no holds barred deployment of non-carbon infrastructure AND a full out scale down of carbon output and 2)A likewise process in China and India and, etc. We are learning beings, but if we come close to accomplishing this I will be astonished (and astonishingly glad!). As I move forward with activism, I also move forward the grieving process that I have personally begun
(My response to Mr. David Golstein): The question boils down to how much of a difference that individual efforts to decarbonize one’s life can make and how quickly that can proceed. I was able to reduce my carbon footprint fairly quickly, and I think lots of like-minded individuals are trying to do the same for purely altruistic reasons. There is the tendency to think that government intervention is the ONLY way to fight this problem. I think that government intervention can do a lot of good, but so can the choices we make as consumers and employees. It’s clear that federal and international intervention is lagging far behind grassroots initiatives. Is that really surprising? I see the problem as more attitudinal than legislative.
“Every day we use fossil fuels for energy, we steal $9 billion from future people who will need those fossil fuels for non-substitutable industrial uses.” (source)
3 minute Greenpeace video explaining about how US coal mining companies are using tax dollars and cheap public land to export coal.
Here’s another reason why you should switch to renewable power for your electric provider: you kill fewer people! The data looks stale (from 2008?) but it should illustrate general trends. i.e., Using coal/natural gas in the USA will kill 8-30 x more people than using solar/wind…..
In this cool video, a 13 year old launches a high altitude weather balloon and videotapes its trip. From the highaltitudescience.com website, I see that $500 is enough for a small group of students to buy a kit to build a balloon which is capable of going up 100,000 feet.
Comment seen on a blog post: “How many SEO experts does it take to change a lightbulb lightbulbs buy light bulbs neon lights sex porn.”
Vi Hart has produced some incredible and fun videos on math. Number games, Triangle Party, Fibonacci Numbers and Fruit, etc. The Gauss Christmas special is clever on so many levels. It’s also beautiful in many dimensions. Here’s a video about how she produces videos.
The funniest article I have ever read in a long time. Man receives angry threats from people who wrongly use GPS to trace their stolen cell phone to him.
April Hamilton on Joss Whedon and JJ Adams:
Whedon doesn’t throw in a plot twist merely to shock or surprise the audience. He always knows exactly how he intends each subplot to develop and, most importantly, end. Where Abrams offers a bait-and-switch, Whedon offers a bait-and-fish. Abrams is the guy who trades the cow for magic beans; Whedon brings a steak dinner.
My response: The key to understanding JJ Abrams in Lost is that it’s like a video game with competing teams. You kill some, you turn some, you chase some. (Time travel and escaping the island were other aspects of the game). I think Joss Whedon in Buffy at least doesn’t think in terms of games or winning but in producing a climax and understanding the nature of evil/passion/etc. Both shows manipulated the audience mercilessly and engaged in lots of broadcast cruelty, but at least with Buffy there’s a lot of social satire thrown in. I enjoy Whedon’s TV shows, but I often feel cheated of genuine drama — only the vampirey, dollhouse kind. I actually thought the Lost ending worked, but the last 2 seasons were stretched out ridiculously with flashbacks, flash sideways and flashforwards that the actual final shows seemed anticlimactic.
April Hamilton is an accomplished author who writes frequently about publishing. On her website Digital Media Mom, she publishes regular columns about pop culture, technology and whatever strikes her fancy.
Alistair Cooke is a British radio commentator whose “letters from America” was the longest running radio broadcast. BBC has put online a large number of previously unavailable radio shows. Here’s an amazing broadcast about how 2 Hungarian refugees in 1939 had to deliver an extremely important message to the president. (Here’s a copy of this message which FDR received – and acted upon – and here’s another letter also written by Szilard with loftier aims) . Here’s his review of watching American TV (after having watched it for only a short time – less than a year?) In addition to making the audio available, the transcripts are starting to be available.
Jef Rouner on the Top 10 Funniest Novels ever Written. Strangely, I don’t find many novels to be hilarious (except for Voltaire’s Candide and maybe Nabokov’s Lolita). But for nonfiction, Bill Bryson’s travel books (esp. “A Walk in the Woods”) are delightful. Also, big fan of Andrei Codrescu’s short essays and his Cuba book ( Ay, Cuba! A Socio-Erotic Journey.). I do want to agree with the listing of Mil Millington’s famous website is hilarious on many levels. A commenter mentions Rabelais’ Pantegruel and Gargantua, and yes, I suppose that ought to be on the list (along with Good Soldier Schweik, Don Quixote, and Kafka’s The Trial). Goes without saying.
Wicked Witch of the West appears on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood to explain why pretending to be a witch is fun.
Sonics: Psyche a Go Go. (Dance Dance Revolution for hippies!)
2 years ago Rocky Erickson produced an outstanding dark country album called True Love Cast Out all Evil. Here’s one song. Erickson was a founding member of the 13th floor elevators, a psychedelic 60s music group (here is their most famous song)
Patti Smith does a stirring, slow and expressive rendition of Smells like Teen Spirit. This comes from Patti Smith’s excellent 2007 album “Twelve” which basically gives a similar treatment to iconic songs from previous decades….. See also: Popdose Top 100 Cover Songs.
Patty Andrews, the last surviving Andrew Sisters died a week or two ago. The great thing about the Andrew Sisters (my fave group) is that you are constantly discovering new songs. Examples: Gimme some skin my friend and One Meatball. Besides Bei Mir Bist Du Schon (which I already blogged about), my fave song is Hold Tight.
I just bought a used Sony CD walkman off ebay. I just realized why I absolutely needed one: to preview CDs inside shops which sell used CDs. (Most do not have have equipment to help you listen to CDs inside the store anymore…..)
There is a shop down the street (Movie Exchange on Voss and Westheimer) which has a wall of a few thousand CDs — all at clearance prices for 99 cents each. Happily, I can report that about 95% of the CDs are by musicians I had never heard of. For a while I would just pick up random 2 or 3 CDs every time I stop, and keep my fingers crossed that the CD was any good. Today, for example, I lucked out with a classic CD by Brazilian Jorge Ben and with Howling Maggie and the Candyskins. Observation: it really is amazing how many alternative bands Geffen signed up in the 90s….
On the clearance CD racks, you will find TONS of 90s bands, some bands after 2000, and maybe a handful from the 1980s. Basically, used DVD/CD shops are wise to the fact that REALLY old stuff or recent releases have good resale value, while the 90s is that sweet spot where there was 1)overproduction and 2)tremendous variety of recordings and 3)lots of smaller and private labels and local bands putting out delicious stuff (but also lots of crap). Obscure stuff from 60s, 70s and 80s are now fairly rare and pricey (and pricey as mp3s) while the Top 40 (and their Greatest Hits) stay cheap. But for CDs produced in the 90s, you can find practically everything for practically peanuts (peanuts being defined as 30-40% of the cost of buying the mp3 from emusic or Amazon or itunes).
Amazed & Delighted to hear that Amazon has a mp3 cloud player app for IOS and Android. I’m now in the process of uploading my mp3s & m4a files into Amazon… For $25 a year, you can upload up to 200,000 songs, and stream on 10 devices (concurrently? I’ll check). You can also download songs you previously uploaded in batches (up to 100 at once?) to your PC or device. I recommend uploading only m4a and mp3 files because Cloud Player won’t accept uploads of oggs/flacs/etc EXCEPT if it matches the upload to something in their mp3 store.
Ever wished there was a way to be notified when a musician is performing in your town? Try Songkick.
STUDY: Users of p2p (file sharing software) purchase 30% more music than people who do not. A person who uses p2p has a music library of 2000 songs (38% of which were legitimately purchased). A person who collects music but does not use p2p has a music library of about 1500 songs (45% of which were legitimately purchased).
There are methodological problems with any study of this sort, so the results could legitimately be questioned. Also, the specific survey question, ““What percentage of your [music files, movie/TV files] are downloaded for free from a website or file-sharing service?” allows for the possibility that someone may have downloaded something for free legally. (For me, creative commons music files are easily about 50% of my music collection. I would have to answer 50% to that question even though it would NOT be true that 50+% of my music files are pirated.