Friday, March 30, 2007

Minneapolis Libraries - Best in America

The Minneapolis Library System is more than a center for research and academia. It is a cultural asset to the diverse residents of Minneapolis. The depth of its catalog appealing to young manga fans and those of classic literature. And music from the Dixie Chicks to Chicks on Speed.

The library enhances culture here by its the willingness to purchase materials requested by patrons. Rather than questioning the merit of each purchase intensely ( as outstate systems do) they prefer to obtain them. Instead of buying 100 copies of Harry Potter, they buy 50 and purchase 5 copies of 10 additional books/cds/dvds that are much less "mainstream."

And yes, I ended up buying the Harry Potter books because I couldn't wait months to get one at the library. I have lent it to friends, so it has gotten use. But I would rather have it this way than deprive the library of its inclusiveness.

A prime example of a fringe item the library purchased that few suburban counterparts would is Doctor Who:The Complete First Season. I requested this through my local library on Franklin Avenue. Doctor Who is my favorite TV Show: a British, science fiction, drama. Only shown on cable and not mainstream Americana. The single copy was requested so many times they ordered 5 additional copies ( one criticism is that all copies will go through the one branch on Franklin Avenue). This type of situation can be multiplied many times throughout this amazing library system.

The Minneapolis Library System embraced the concept of the Long Tail long before it was coined. Many conservatives claim that government should be run more likes businesss. While government is not a business, it can learn from their effieciencies. And the Minneapolis Library System has shown innovation long before businesses took on its concepts. A merger with the Hennepin County Library System will diminish this priceless institution.

I challenge anyone out there to check out their website at and search for things they consider "fringe." Search an author/musician/actor you love but few know of , I bet they have nearly every copy of their published works . You can request items online and have them delivered to a local branch - similiar to Netflix. One can easily see this is all proof that the Minneapolis Libraries are the best in the entire United States.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Global Warming - more facts needed?

What more do the skeptics need to hear?

Why do some claim that we should use whatever resources we want abundantly? But we must borrow endlessly to do so, and ignore the consequences of such actions.

Global Warming is a direct consequence of such affluenza. The First chart was taken from An Inconvenient Truth, and depicts a much larger graph than the smaller one published prior. Notice how we are trending much higher in temperatures right now.

Now there are the Antartic ice cores to cover. The second graph quite clearly shows that temperatures there have a relationship to global CO2 levels. Since CO2 levels are exceeding 300ppm, we will experience warmer Earthly temperatures than the last 400,000+ years! That doesn't seem to bother the skeptics.

It's hard enough to get thousands of scientists to reach concensus on anything - and yet they have.

RELOCALIZATION - a wiser reaction

What should appear blatantly obvious to Global Warming adherents, is that humanity will not give up this collision course with reality. Perhaps it would be wiser to focus on relocalization and preparation for this time? Mitigating it appears a nonstarter with the 3 most populated nations on Earth not participating. These nations alone represent nearly half of humanity and half of its material wealth.

It isn't meaningless to work to curb your carbon footprint. Nor is it pointless to reduce our societal impact. But the fact is, even if we curb Co2 emmissions drastically, we still have a rising temperature to deal with. It is possible to do both, as the two can overlap in many areas. But as ecosystems change, preparation will take a more urgent precedent - especially by the most ardent conservative skeptics of today!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Global Warming challenger?

I have recently heard of the The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary by Martin Durkin. Only through a website of a friend, who I know questions the issues thoroughly. ( but our own perspectives exceedingly differ )

The graph at the left depicts world temperatures for the last 120 years, as opposed to Al Gore's of a much greater stretch of time. What I find most disturbing about it is that humans have been using hydrocarbons longer than 1940 - they were called coal and oil. The first billion humans would have not have existed by the 20th century if hydrocarbons not been used until 1940.

Next, temperature changes that are ascribed to Global Warming are long-term. 20 years is not long-term. If we go back to the original usage of coal, we have been adding carbon to the atmosphere for hundreds of years longer than the Model-T ever existed. In 1748, America first delved into coal-mining. 50 tons were extracted from our Earth that year alone. When we look at the long-term effects of carbon in our atmosphere, they do not appear for about 100 years. So temperatures in 1940 to 1960 were affected by carbon put in our atmosphere around. It just so happens this is a time when the world and America went into an economic depression.

The primary argument in the documentary appears to be that the sun is more of a factor in Earth's temperature fluctuations. While the sun does affect us, here is a response from a scientist working for Britain.

Peak Oil - the markets vain attempt to ignore it

I am also concerned about this very charged statment: "Global warming is natural and will occur no matter how much we destroy our economy in a vain attempt to stop it."

The Global Warming argument is a good for those who believe in it to reduce hydrocarbon consumption. But others needs to hear about Peak Oil and its economic ramifications.

20% of American wages are spent on cars. That comes to around $700 a month per person. If we cut our vehicular consumption, where would that savings go? Back into the economy, and not to the Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela who sell us oil. Not as much to Japan, China, and Korea who make our cars. Why not conserve for these reasons alone?

Obviously cars have negative environmental consequences. One can greenwash this fact by stating that 95% of a car is recycled. But also 90% of the time it remains idle in a parking spot or stop light. If 10,000 people got together and pitched in $3000 each, they could build a light-rail line. They could support it for far less than $700 a month. But this economic model does not exist, because individuals cannot build light-rail lines anymore than interstates. ( individuals seldom have the right to take land as government does - looking out for one's self interest are not public-oriented )

America is so dependent on oil, we are heading for an economic dowturn. 100 years from now, we may end up selling all of our own coal to China, while stuck without oil in our engines. That would be the real tragedy of an addiction - having to quite cold turkey due to economic circumstances than choice.

Overpopulation is an issue, intertwined with immigration,family planning, and geopolitics. When you add that many people to the world over a short period of time, hydrocarbon usage whill increase exponentially. That is why it is so hard NOT to believe that Global Warming will not come about. We cry about 40,000 "overpopulated" wolves when a city of 40,000 humans is called a "large town."

What the Global Warming and Peak Oil skeptics appear to lack is perspective. It is smart to question when and to what extent these events will create. But it is utterly ridiculous to write them off completely because your political ideology does not accept it. Nature and Earth doesn't give a damn about your political beliefs, the truth cannot hide forever. Though when we all know for certain, it is probably too late to mitigate it.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Why this blog?

I changed the description of this blog:

1)Envisioning a society that values compassion and wisdom.

The global society has lost its moral compass long ago.The pursuit of money appears to trump all other issues. If you have money, you are expected to spend it as lavishly as you can afford. Yet marriages falter primarily due to economic stress. When we do things to help others without reward, we are called fools. Compassion must be valued and not ridiculed for being altruistic or utopian.

The American people have long been ignorant. We may be able to read, but we don't read much. American Idol and 24-hour cable news have dulled the senses of the public. We can do whatever we want and think that the outside world does not affect us. To assume that politicians and scientists will solve all our problems is blind faith. We must question their intentions and ideas before having faith in them. We need to be a society that values wisdom, and also cultivates it on an individual basis.

2)Supporting peace and justice for all beings.

All beings deserve a peaceful life, with basic freedoms. The world's people need more rights. American should support this wholeheartedly, along with the United Nations. Implementing The Universal Declaration of Human Rights globally is a good place to start.

All beings deserve a decent future and life - including animals, plants, and the planet. While it is difficult to do no harm to any being, it is ignorant to not value them. We should value all beings and thank them for the sacrifices they make for us. If we feel the sacrifice is too much, we work to change things starting with ourselves (i.e. chickens who live caged and de-beaked their entire lives )

How can one support war or lethal acts towards other beings? It is not possible to prove that they are skillful acts. It is equally ridiculous to think that they improve our collective karma. We must cultivate a society that values life and practices nonviolence.

3) Preparing for a post-oil world.

While oil has not peaked yet, the fact it will is inevitable. We must conserve what oil we have and build a society that can outlast it. The post-oil infrastructure must be built and supported now. If we procrastinate, this may be mankind's last century.

Mankind was not the first beings of its kind on Earth. We were just the most successful thus far. If we die off, there will be other beings to inhabit this Earth. May we use these bodies we currently inhabit wisely, and pursuade others to do so as well.

If anyone wants to blog on this post, I invite them to join me. There are no other pre-requisites than the above listed. No one is barred from joining, apart from those who feel incompatible with the above listed values.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Downloading Music for free is spelled T-H-E-F-T

I have been "online" since 1996. Got a copy of Doom 2 for "free." Purchased my first cd online from and books from Amazon in 1997.

In 1998 I downloaded my first MP3 - and fell in love with digital music, though broadband was nowhere in sight. Also bought my first cd-writer and began making and trading music.

In 2000, living in Saint Cloud I installed my cable internet myself, and never paid for it because they never did come to install it. I first downloaded Napster and Gnutella. I loved "free" stuff - and found not just music but videos and software.

Kazaa in 2001.

But I slowly got sick of the poor quality and reliability of "free" stuff. Some were the wrong files. Many files were cumbersome to install, and when installed didn't work perfectly. Some didn't work at all. Some even contained viruses.

But the PC world is morally corrupt. It is the culture created around it. PC Owners from America in 1990 to China in 2006 all have enjoyed pirating and copying files of all types. Though many do pay for these programs, many more enjoy using them for "free."

Not that buying an Imac changed my opinion. Purchasing most of my music used, I didn't really think I was supporting artists much anyways. The library doesn't mind assisting either.

But not all music is easily accessible. Itunes makes it easy to find music I like. It isn't that expensive and money still goes to the artists. I can find what music tracks are popular - buy those ones and forget the rest of the disc (unless I get it).

But I cannot find myself downloading a filesharing program on my Imac. I have no worry about viruses. But from an ethical standpoint, if I don't purchase what I appreciate who will? Who will pay for the next season of Doctor Who? Okay, yeah British taxpayers - but still. What you like should be supported when you can. Otherwise no one will.

So that is my stance. If you can support your favorite artists, please do. Even if you got an album online for free, buy it and give as a gift. Whoever you give it to will appreciate it, in addition to the artist being supported.

I love independent music in addition to a select few popular artists. The American Assn. of Independent Music in addition to others support paying for music. I used to hate the RIAA, but it is true that the industry is facing hard times. Support the music you love, with more than a click of the mouse but a few quarters from your piggy bank.

Visit Music United for more details on the issue.