home on the range,famous journalist catches up to the curve, green rocket fuel

home on the range – africa

There is some truth to the complaint by mainstream media that some bloggers ride on the work produced by traditional journalism – the truth is a little more complicated. Blogs that are personal journals or family endeavors aside, blogs are like retail stores. We do not all sell milk. Our product, motivations and standards vary. Even the ones that rely heavily on breaking news, the “parasitic” blogs, frequently offer up some eye opening insights into how the report missed some basic facts, played games with semantics, i.e. torture and enhanced interrogation or committed the sin of omission – its frequently what NBC or The Washington Post do not say in reporting a story that is infuriating. One of the not so great aspects of blogtopia is the slightly desperate blogger. Those that want to be a player and constantly try to be the first to break a story or more often spin a story in a certain way. Its the blogging equivalent of trying too hard to be popular in high school. That in mind its interesting to read Thomas L. Friedman’s latest column at the NYT looking a lot like a desperate blogger. He talks a good game and will no doubt get a subject that needs attention a brighter spotlight, but he’s behind the curve as far as breaking crises, Connecting Nature’s Dots

Unfortunately, he added, “the speed at which humans have improved technology since the Industrial Revolution has attracted so many people to towns and cities and provided them with ‘processed’ natural resources” that our innate ability to make all these connections “may be disappearing as fast as biodiversity.”

Which leads to the point of this column. We’re trying to deal with a whole array of integrated problems — climate change, energy, biodiversity loss, poverty alleviation and the need to grow enough food to feed the planet — separately. The poverty fighters resent the climate-change folks; climate folks hold summits without reference to biodiversity; the food advocates resist the biodiversity protectors.

They all need to go on safari together.

“We need to stop thinking about these issues in isolation — each with its own champion, constituency and agenda — and deal with them in an integrated way, the way they actually occur on the ground,” argued Glenn Prickett, senior vice president with Conservation International.

Conservation International was founded in 1987. I’m glad that were finally able to get Tom’s attention. Friedman, known for the semi-famous Friedman unit is or was a neoliberal who thought occupying Iraq was a keen idea, but he takes a lot of flak from the far Right for various issues such as acknowledging the environment is in dire straights and the U.S. needs to break its oil addiction. He’s the mildly obnoxious guy at the meeting that you find, unfortunately, is on your side about two thirds of the time.

I’m not the sustainable food/slow food blogger I swear. Time just happens to have a story up about the issues that Tom has discovered and untold bloggers have written about, Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food

But we don’t have the luxury of philosophizing about food. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil — which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills — our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy — demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 — but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs — and bland taste. Sustainable food has an élitist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants — and as every farmer knows, if you don’t take care of your land, it can’t take care of you.

going for water

AFOSR and NASA Launch First-Ever Test Rocket Fueled by Environmentally-Friendly, Safe Aluminum-Ice Propellant

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and NASA recently announced the launch of an environmentally-friendly, safe propellant comprised of aluminum powder and water ice (ALICE).

For better or worse we’re not going to Mars for a while, but if and when we do they think astronauts might be able to manufacture this fuel when they get there.