purple flower, persistence makes progress, evan in black and white

purple orchid

purple orchid

Lessons in Progress From the Sufferin’ Suffragettes. If you’re on Twitter you know there is perhaps an over tendency to twit quotes. Though occasionally one comes along that doesn’t need much other context. While I did not save it, it said that one should not be discouraged by what seems like either no progress or progress so slow that it hardly seems worth the effort to try. The suffragettes are a great example of persistence. American women started campaigning for voting rights, in an organized manner around 1850 ( Frederick Douglas attended one of the first meetings, he saw a bond between their movement and abolition). They did not get the vote until 1920.

The adult belief in fairies is not problematic. It is a kind of torture through the means of economics, Austerity For Some…

The reason for all those austerity policies in Europe, here in the US and now in Egypt is usually given as the fervently hoped-for return of the confidence fairy.  But as Paul Krugman has stated:

Consider how things were supposed to be working at this point. When Europe began its infatuation with austerity, top officials dismissed concerns that slashing spending and raising taxes in depressed economies might deepen their depressions. On the contrary, they insisted, such policies would actually boost economies by inspiring confidence.

But the confidence fairy was a no-show. Nations imposing harsh austerity suffered deep economic downturns; the harsher the austerity, the deeper the downturn. Indeed, this relationship has been so strong that the International Monetary Fund, in a striking mea culpa, admitted that it had underestimated the damage austerity would inflict.

Never mind about that.  Something so painful must be good for us!  I think that belief, especially when only applied to the masses, is what is so very appealing about the era of austerity.

There is something akin to a sadistic flu that runs through some people. They believe that in addition to the pain that automatically comes with life – illness, the loss of loved ones, that we must pile on more pain for our own good.

black and white evan rachel wood

black and white evan rachel wood. just experimenting with some sharpening and toning tools in photoshop.

A couple interesting links,   Jumping Queues, Eating Carp – What Brits Really Think Of Polish Invasion – a both funny and insightful look at the sociological adjustments of immigration.

Noted architect and photographer Balthazar Korab, 1926-2013. Just a couple of pictures, but still worth a look and read.


its all blue

its all blue

its all blue

When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars? This is a very small excerpt from an essay that is a futurist take on some possibilities for the future of humanity by Ross Andersen.

Nuclear weapons were the first technology to threaten us with extinction, but they will not be the last, nor even the most dangerous. A species-destroying exchange of fissile weapons looks less likely now that the Cold War has ended, and arsenals have shrunk. There are still tens of thousands of nukes, enough to incinerate all of Earth’s dense population centers, but not enough to target every human being. The only way nuclear war will wipe out humanity is by triggering nuclear winter, a crop-killing climate shift that occurs when smoldering cities send Sun-blocking soot into the stratosphere. But it’s not clear that nuke-levelled cities would burn long or strong enough to lift soot that high. The Kuwait oil field fires blazed for ten months straight, roaring through 6 million barrels of oil a day, but little smoke reached the stratosphere. A global nuclear war would likely leave some decimated version of humanity in its wake; perhaps one with deeply rooted cultural taboos concerning war and weaponry.

Such taboos would be useful, for there is another, more ancient technology of war that menaces humanity. Humans have a long history of using biology’s deadlier innovations for ill ends; we have proved especially adept at the weaponisation of microbes. In antiquity, we sent plagues into cities by catapulting corpses over fortified walls. Now we have more cunning Trojan horses. We have even stashed smallpox in blankets, disguising disease as a gift of good will. Still, these are crude techniques, primitive attempts to loose lethal organisms on our fellow man. In 1993, the death cult that gassed Tokyo’s subways flew to the African rainforest in order to acquire the Ebola virus, a tool it hoped to use to usher in Armageddon. In the future, even small, unsophisticated groups will be able to enhance pathogens, or invent them wholesale. Even something like corporate sabotage, could generate catastrophes that unfold in unpredictable ways. Imagine an Australian logging company sending synthetic bacteria into Brazil’s forests to gain an edge in the global timber market. The bacteria might mutate into a dominant strain, a strain that could ruin Earth’s entire soil ecology in a single stroke, forcing 7 billion humans to the oceans for food.

Griffiths Cycles and Accessories

old bicycle poster for Griffiths Cycles and Accessories