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2012 Report Card

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"Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point," said Scrooge, "answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?"
Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood.
"Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," said Scrooge. "But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me."

Most everyone is familiar with the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. The above is a quote from the fourth Stave, where Scrooge stands before his own grave. As with many great social novelists, there are many layers of meaning in these immortal words, if one would but take the time to listen. Often, humanity is offered portents of its future, but all too often, we fail to head the words and warnings. With barely only two years left to 2012, let’s look at the stone to which the Ghost points.

We are all familiar with the prophecies of Nostradamus, the Mayan Calendar, the End Times scenario, the sage words of the Hopi, the I Ching, and warnings by other great seers and cultures regarding December 21st, 2012. Critics claim that this is all hype and that such prophecies are but myths that sell books, but which have no veracity. They point to the many doomsday predictions prior to the dawn of each millennium and the fact that each such event, was a non-event. So, is the 2012 phenomenon just hype? Is there anything different now which would warrant closer inspection?

Let’s create a little 2012 report card and see. The focus here is not on numbers and statistics, those can be found on thousands internet sites. Let’s just create an overview and determine if there is anything to worry about. Since the economy has been dominating the news for the past year, it would be a good starting point. There is little doubt the world economy is in recession. Even after spending trillions of dollars, governments have been unable to totally stabilize downward economic trends. Yes, Wall Street has had a few rebounds, but Wall Street is not the entire economy. There are still more layoffs and foreclosures, and consumer spending and confidence are down. This is not just in the U.S., but globally. Of importance is the fact that the apparent goal of government efforts is to try to return the economy to the old model of business. Companies produce, you spend, you throw away, and buy again. This is no longer a sustainable economic model. While there has been a lot of talk regarding "green" products, and there are fringe economists promoting more sustainable economic theories, the impact of this movement is so far, negligible. On a pass/fail basis, I give us a fail with respect to the economy.

Sustainable energy is another subject for consideration. There has been lots of chatter regarding alternative energy and environmentally friendly energy sources. Wind farms have been built, appliances are a bit more efficient, and there is serious research into expanding solar, tidal, geothermal, hydrogen, biofuel and other possible energy sources. However, there can be little doubt that we are still an oil-based society. Much research on these alternatives began during the Arab oil embargo in the early seventies, but it stopped when oil prices receded. It seems that just as alternatives become more economically viable, oil prices drop just enough to slow progress and investment. As a percentage of total energy output, alternatives are a very small factor. Actions and efforts here must be given a fail grade, largely due to the fact that time is not on our side.

Climate change is the next, and perhaps most overriding, of concerns; all else hinges upon this one danger. It matters not in this discourse who is responsible for climate change. It is happening now; it is out of control and it is happening at an accelerated rate. Temperatures are changing, waters are rising, glaciers are melting, storms are more severe, there are growing droughts and floods and lives are being lost and dramatically altered now. We receive a failing grade in this category for several fundamental reasons. World leaders are continuing to fail to address this issue. Summit after summit fails to produce results. There is still a blind perception that we have until 2020 or 2050 to deal with the issues, we do not. Governments are hiding and suppressing climate change data. Corporations are spending billions claiming that climate change is a hoax. Governments have failed to connect the dots from climate to the economy. Governments have failed, at least publicly, to create plans to deal with the growing concerns over environmental refugees. While there is concern regarding the security threats that climate change creates, little is being done to figure out where hundreds of millions will go as seas rise, drinking water sources dry up, and food production declines. Perhaps the lack of response is the response.

If we examine the issues of war, politics and peace, we once again receive a failing grade. There are hundreds of wars in progress, terrorism is alive and well, genocide has been ignored, the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, N. Korea and many African nations are a mess, and there appears to be little progress in establishing peace among nations. Government corruption is forever in the news, and nations just do not appear to be able to work in concert on any major global issue. Nationalism is on the rise, and clashes of cultures flare as people have increased their mobility. There is a rise in fringe and extremist groups and gaps between rich and poor continue to widen.

Religion and science are interesting topics in this grading system. On the one hand, religions are in turmoil, and there is growing strife within and between organized religions. On the other hand, there is a continued growth in spirituality that embraces humanity’s unity and oneness. With respect to science, it is still at odds with most religions, but the spirituality gap is closing. By science, I do not mean new gadgets or technologies, but rather the progress in quantum physics regarding the nature of the universe. The gap between the scientist and the mystic is narrowing, and a more unified theory of being is at hand. Unfortunately, because religions are still powerful and play a lead role in the politics of many nations, we have to assign a failing grade here as well.

Clearly, more topics could be covered. Education, the role of the family, equality among races and other social concerns have seen some progress, but again, the problems are still growing, and solutions are few and far between. Humanity, like Scrooge, stands before its grave. The ghost before us is all of the prophets who have pointed to this time of change. What is different now from times past is that every aspect of our existence on the planet is in turmoil. We have had economic problems in the past. We have seen many great wars. There has been religious strife. We have had mini ice ages, periods of drought and severe weather. The difference is that all of these things are happening at once, and not over scattered periods of time. Add to all of this the great unknown of our solar systems alignment with the galactic core, polarity shift (which appears to have started), and things like the solar maximum for sunspots, and the plot grows even thicker. So once again,

"Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," said Scrooge. "But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me."

There is a time factor to consider in Scrooge's plea. Even if we depart, and I have shown we have not, from our courses, certain ends will result. The seers of days past saw the path we were on. They took us to the stone and pointed the way to change. Truly, if we change our course, the ends will be altered. But is anyone listening? At this point, 2012 looks to be a raucous time.

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About Philip F. Harris

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Great piece, Philip. Your point about operating with, and keeping on returning to a no longer sustainable business model is especially well taken. The “produce, spend, throw away, and buy again” vicious circle is an economic dead-end. There’s no future in it.

    It’s time to revisit Robert L. Heilbroner’s visionary classic, An Inquiry into the Human Prospect.

    Heillbronner’s follow-up of twenty some years later was more optimistic, but I think he was getting senile by then. The original rendition hasn’t lost any of its potency and still rings as true as ever.

  • Baronius

    Philip, I think you could just as easily argue the opposite case on most of these issues. There are no major wars; research into clean fuels is unprecedentedly high; the planet is cooling; science continues to expand. I wouldn’t buy into perfect optimism, but to treat everything as an unqualified failure seems a bit grandiose.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Thanks Roger. You might also enjoy this History Of The “Entrepreneurial Revolution”.

    Baronius-tell the glaciers the planet is cooling. However, your point is well taken. However, in each area mentioned, while you might find some bright spots, my concern is that the confluence of all of these events occurring at once does not bode well. Just because there is not one big war, does not negate all of the many wars that are being waged. Yes, I said that science is expanding, but, time is not on our side-we need to get out of this notion that we can wait forever to address these issues. Cooling-well, sorry, just does not stack up. Arctic melt and glacial melt say otherwise-it is warming where it hurts the most. We can no longer support anything but complete success in dealing with these issues. Getting it almost right does not stop desertification, growing droughts, loss of water supplies for millions, crop destroying heat waves, wildfires, and the loss of millions of lives. Close only counts in, well, you know, nuclear war. The very foundation of western and modern society is crunbling.

  • Baronius

    Some glaciers are getting bigger; some are getting smaller. Antarctica seems to be holding steady.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    the following info is somewhat out of date-the situation is many time worse.

    The largest implication of this loss of glaciers is not the change in scenery, but the fact that the seasonal meltwater from glaciers, especially in Asia and South America, is the life support for billions of people.
    The disintegrating face of the Mller Ice Shelf, Lallemand Fjord, Antarctic Peninsula
    Alaska permafrost temperature has increased 0.5 to 1.5 C since 1980
    Glaciers everywhere in the world (with a very few exceptions) have been shrinking throughout the 20th Century
    Perhaps the most dramatic glacier withdrawal has been in the Alps, where it has occured in full view of residents, tourists and scientists
    Glaciers in the Northwest United States have also been shrinking. Studies by the Climate Impacts Group at University of Washington show regional temperature has been 1.5 F warmer in the 20th century
    Greenland’s huge icecap, second only to Antarctica, is also showing signs of change
    Around the globe, sea level is more than 6 inches higher than it was 100 years ago, due primarily to warmer sea water and runoff from melting glaciers

    Source

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Also

    U.S. scientists monitoring shrinking glaciers in Washington and Alaska reported this week that a major meltdown is under way. A 50-year government study found that the world’s glaciers are melting at a rapid and alarming rate. The ongoing study is the latest in a series of reports that found glaciers worldwide are melting faster than anyone had predicted they would just a few years ago. It offers a clear indication of an accelerating climate change and warming earth, according to the authors

  • Baronius

    Philip, theoretically let’s take climate change off the table for a moment. That would probably ameliorate your concerns about science, energy, global cooperation, and sustainable economies as well. Would it be safe to say that confirmation of a stable ecology would be enough to put passing grades on your report card?

  • Doug Hunter

    “Around the globe, sea level is more than 6 inches higher than it was 100 years ago, due primarily to warmer sea water and runoff from melting glaciers”

    It’s also around 400ft higher than it was only 10,000 years ago. That’s a 4’/100 year average as compared to the most recent 6″/100 year and the estimated 9″ in the next hundred.

    Global warming is another in the long series of boogeymen dreamed up by power hungry politician’s and the bureacratic stooges (no offense) to further increase their power over the private citizen.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    It’s also around 400ft higher than it was only 10,000 years ago.

    There also weren’t four billion humans living within spitting distance of a sea-coast only 10,000 years ago.

  • Clavos

    There also weren’t four billion humans living within spitting distance of a sea-coast only 10,000 years ago.

    Not 4B, no, but then as now, most did live near the coasts, for food and transportation.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    ZOMG! Climate change!

    The Earth hasn’t gotten warmer in 11 years, and we are still technically in an Ice Age, but hey, let’s engage is some more scare-mongering.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “There are no major wars; research into clean fuels is unprecedentedly high; the planet is cooling; science continues to expand.”

    Bingo. Facts hurt the feelings of “progressive” alarmists, though. Better not bring that pesky “reality” up.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    The alarmist worst-case scenario is a 58 cm rise in sea level 91 years from now, in 2100.

    58 cm is less than 2 feet.

    Anyone ever heard of dikes? Or moving inland a few hundred feet?

    I mean, we only have 91 years to accomplish it. We better get started right away!

    Remember kids: The only thing predictable about the climate is that it is constantly changing. And we are still technically in an Ice Age.

  • Jordan Richardson

    hey, let’s engage is some more scare-mongering.

    Seems to be working for health care.

    Why is it such a bad thing when it’s actually based on fact and science? And nevermind that most of us in the world don’t actually see “change” as frightening.

    The alarmist worst-case scenario is a 58 cm rise in sea level 91 years from now, in 2100.

    Yes, that’s a problem. You say it’s “less than 2 feet,” but do you have any idea how many industries that impacts and how much of a difference two feet of water can actually make to ecological systems, etc.?

    Of course you don’t. It only matters what happens to you.

    It’s all well and good to retreat to an American right-wing condition every once and a while, but this is a larger issue than your lame politics and the continued denial of it is just flat-out silly.

    Anyone ever heard of dikes? Or moving inland a few hundred feet?

    Really? How are you going to move all of the coastal communities on the planet inland “a few hundred feet?” Next I bet you’ll say something like “oh, it’s not big deal…we still have 91 years.”

    Shall we also build a big moat around America?

    I mean, we only have 91 years to accomplish it. We better get started right away!

    There it is.

    91 years to apparently build dikes around the entire planet and move the entire planet’s coastal communities “inland a few hundred feet.” Nevermind how ridiculous the plan sounds, nevermind the trillions of dollars it costs internationally and nevermind the job losses and the loss of entire coastal industries people have depended on for ages, but when does that end?

    The 2 feet turns to 3 feet and to 4 feet…

    Is the proposal then to just have us nicely pile up in the middle of our landmasses while we continue to say “oh well, we’ve got another 100 years?” Does that sound reasonable to you? Does it sound reasonable to you that the sea level rise (91 years from now?) takes place and that’s all that happens? Everything’s back to normal?

    Why is it such a struggle to suggest we change our way of life on this planet, that we live sustainably and with respect to the ecosystems and the environment? Why is the alternative to “move everyone inland a few hundred feet and build dikes?”

    Jesus Christ.

    And who cares if we’re “technically still in an Ice Age?” Do you even know what that means? We’re melting out of it, RJ. That’s not a good thing, that doesn’t mean the world just renders itself back to “normal.” That’s not how this shit works, dude.

    Honestly. This isn’t political. It’s real and we need to start doing something about it. Humanity made an error when it thought it could simply live on the planet with an infinite amount of resources. We have to adapt. We can’t afford to say “we’ve still got 91 years and I’ll be fucking dead by then anyway so who cares?” The time for being selfish, arrogant and foolish has to come to an end sooner or later, but I fear it’s going to last longer than any Ice Age.

    The fact is that we fucked it up. We won’t be scared into protecting our planet because we’re too “smart.” We know it all, like RJ here, and we’re too busy reclining and watching Hannity to do anything about it.

    Such a shame.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Not 4B, no, but then as now, most did live near the coasts, for food and transportation.

    How much polluting did they do on an hourly basis in contrast to the massive amounts of shit we pump into the sea now? And how much fishing did they do in contrast to the massive amounts done now?

    C’mon. Do you really think there’s a comparison?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Well, I for one am glad that RJ is here to give us the worst case scenario. I mean even the climate scientists don’t know what all the implications are. So, I’m sure glad someone has made a careful evaluation. RJ, maybe you should write to them and tell them what the worst case scenario is. They will probably all be very relieved and grateful.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Global warming is another in the long series of boogeymen dreamed up by power hungry politician’s and the bureacratic stooges (no offense) to further increase their power over the private citizen.

    No, it isn’t.

    The politicians did not pay off the scientists researching this for years and the scientists, worldwide, did not cook up a global conspiracy just to remove the idiotic rights you think you have.

    Do you really think that we can, as human beings, continue to live on the planet while we waste its LIMITED resources and dump chemicals into the air and sea?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh, come on now, Jordan. Why don’t you be more reasonable. Forget the rising seas and things. Let’s look on the bright side. Let’s look at pictures of the glaciers that are getting bigger! You know I can tell you are a glass half empty sorta guy. Hey, the planet is always doing weird stuff. First it’s all covered with water, then with ice…it’s probably all just natural. We are in an ice age right now! See? That proves everything is fine.

    And anyway, I’m sure that if anything really is wrong the invisible hand of the free market will take care of it just like it takes care of everything. So relax.

    (Cue music from the Perfect Storm.)

  • STM

    I must admit, I am a climate-change sceptic in so much as we are having this stuff rammed down our throats by the climate-change obsessed, who are using emotive words like “heretics” and “deniers” to describe those who don’t subscribe entirely (note that word) their point of view.

    Because I live in the Pacific, and the other side of this continent borders the Indian Ocean, where island communities such as the Maldives are losing their homes and land (Maldivians are nopw talking about moving en masse to Australia at a certain point), I can categorically state that rising sea levels are no joke when you live a few feet above sea level.

    However, I object to the those in this country who want to ram through emissions trading schemes without taking into account that Australia produces about 1 per cent of the world’s harmful emissions and without the US, China, India and the Sth American countries all on board, what we do here has virtually no impact except on local jobs and grocery prices that are already among the highest in the world.

    Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it, but going it alone is madness until we see what is happening in at the Copenhagen conference later this year.

    I know the US is passing new legislation, but it’s nowhere near as radical as that proposed here and to be honest, I wish the green movement hadn’t turned it into a preachy, near religion.

    Most of us know it’s an issue but having the greenies rushing about like little bolsheviks isn’t helping the cause in any way shape or form.

    One example of the madness is currently happening in the heart of Sydney.

    Sydney City Council, the local government authority for Australia’s largest city, has recently introduced small worm farms for waste at Town Hall and banned consumption of the iconic Aussie chocolate biscuit (cookie), the Tim Tam, after its council meetings because they say the chocolate used – wait for it – isn’t produced fairly or sustainably.

    What’s next: council expeditions/junkets to India and Ceylon to research sustaible tea to be served with sustainable biscuits.

    There’s a limit to how much of this nonsense the average Joe or Joanne can take. Let’s focus on the real issues at hand: emissions, and not just here, but right across the globe, before we start going mad on the other stuff and turning everyone off completely.

  • Ruvy

    Wake me up on 1 Tishri 5773 (around Sept 2013).

    If you guys are still whining about this garbage, you will have all passed the test….

    I’m going back to sleep.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Stan,

    Sydney City Council, the local government authority for Australia’s largest city, has recently introduced small worm farms for waste at Town Hall and banned consumption of the iconic Aussie chocolate biscuit (cookie), the Tim Tam, after its council meetings because they say the chocolate used – wait for it – isn’t produced fairly or sustainably.

    The average Joe or whomever better start getting used to it. Since not being sustainable or fair means someone is working their life away as a slave so you can have a cookie!

    Do you hear yourself? It’s okay that some child is working at age 5 to help support a family because no adults are paid enough to keep the family alive and you don’t want to be inconvenienced?

  • STM

    Cindy: Tim Tams are an innocuous choccy biscuit of iconic status. These are like the Aussie equivalent of Oreos. Their big crime in the council’s eyes is the chocolate coating.

    The biscuit company that produces them is adamant that it works on a fair-trade basis when it buys its cacao and does not buy from producers that use child labour.

    The issue for the council is that there are child-labour problems in the Ivory Coast (generally, I’d assume), although Arnotts says its purchases are made on a fair-trade basis.

    The council has gone completely mad and also banned eggs and red meat under its “cruelty-free food policy”. Most products now eaten at council events have to be grown in the Sydney area and the fish can only be catch regarded as sustainable. Fair enough on the fish, as I’m a believer in sustainable fish stocks, but the rest of it’s a crock.

    There are plenty of free-range eggs available locally, and lots of organic red meat. I mean, this country even in the face of great climate adversity is one the world’s largest producers of fresh food – meat especially – and there’s very little grain feeding except in drought-affected areas … they’re all out there in the nice green paddock having fun until the time comes.

    What I object to is the council making decisions most of us don’t agree with and deciding that a large company must be lying even when it’s adamant it’s not.

    It’s just getting completely ridiculous here. It’s almost become a quasi religion.

    And like the story says, it’s political correctness gone mad.

    Plus, Cindy, I don’t need lectures.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    All very interesting comments.
    I have discovered that to get at the heart of the matter, it is necessary to get past the headlines and the sensationalism. It is helpful to subscribe to many science sites and not just CNN. Having said that, my conclusions still stand.
    With proper research, some very scary things are happening. The lessening of salt concentration in the ocean, massive loss of marine species, loss of plankton, proven migration changes, animals getting smaller due to heat, new invasive species, loss of bees, bat killing fungus, forest destroying bugs, and tons more. These types of things do not make major headlines–but when you look at the individual stories and put them all together-ouch!

    WE do not have 91 years. Every time a new forecast comes out, they say things are happening faster than predicted. The rate of cgange is becoming exponential. Actually look at the climate stories, not just the headlines and you inevitably see-glacier melting faster that predicted, sea rising faster than previously thought, migrations changing quicker, sea life dying faster, etc. The ‘we have plenty of time’ is the myth. And you know what, if there was 91 years, when will these projects start? Who will pay for them? Should we have a coastal evacuation stimulus plan. Who will pay? With coal companies openly funding dis-information, people won’t believe they need to act. As a matter of fact, polls show people are getting less concerned about climate because of economy. “How can we sleep while our beds are burning?” Because there are those who are making you look the other.
    Yes, will need culture change. My God, our world runs on dead plants-only so many plants died. The sad thing is-and this is another reason for a failing grade-is that almost all that we have today can be produced in a sustainable manner. Companies and we have chosen not to care. We fail, we lose. My friends, you will see and experiences the changes in your lifetime-sooner than later.

  • Clavos

    How much polluting did they do on an hourly basis in contrast to the massive amounts of shit we pump into the sea now? And how much fishing did they do in contrast to the massive amounts done now?

    Go back and read Doc’s original comment. That wasn’t his point and not the point of my response to him.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    IN HOT WATER: Worldwide ocean surface temperatures in June were the warmest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Do you hear yourself? It’s okay that some child is working at age 5 to help support a family because no adults are paid enough to keep the family alive and you don’t want to be inconvenienced?”

    The only thing worse for those people than having to work at a sweatshop is not having work at a sweatshop in which case you simply starve to death. Although it seems horrid by our standards it’s actually an improvement to the condition of the people who work there (or they wouldn’t). How dare the heartless embeciles take away those people’s opportunity to work.

  • Zozobra

    “The only thing worse for those people than having to work at a sweatshop is not having work at a sweatshop in which case you simply starve to death.”

    With this choice facing the masses, doom is assured.

    Free to Choose? Free to starve.

    Z

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Yes, another failing grade. I wonder what people would say if were our children in those sweat shops? It is so easier to trivialize (sorry, an exaggeration) the plight of millions when those millions are in distant corners. But you see, as these events unfold, these happenings may not be so distant. We are still reeling from Katrina. Add another disaster or two on top of our stretched economy and, well…it will not be pretty.
    BTW, we can still make positive choices now-not ten years from now, that can soften the blow of the poor crops we have sown.

  • Doug Hunter

    Another failing grade, another condescending, freedom hating, hypocritical leftist [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor] who hasn’t ever actually done anything of value for the planet but bleats on endlessly about how everyone else hasn’t done enough for the planet. Your willingness to sacrifice other’s freedoms and resources for whatever cause you perceive worthy is indeed laudable, your ego should sleep soundly in it’s moral superiority.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Actually Doug, I am a registered Republican. I am also a friend of Andrew Card, former Bush Chief of staff and I ran his campaign for governor in MA. But you see, a real republican is a conservationist-da-conservative. Republican wannabe’s do not really know what a Republican really is. Further, I totally believe in freedom. However, the price of freedom is RESPONSIBILITY. Total freedom is taking total responsibility for your life. Giving power to large, uncaring corporations means you gave your freedom up to them, not government.
    It seems like you are doing a lot of bleating about nothing. One preserves their freedom by having intelligent conversation and not repeating right wing babble. Further, you have no idea what I may have done to preserve our freedom. I want my grand kids to be free and to have a planet to live on. I want them to have real information upon which to make intelligent decisions. They say knowledge is power, actually, the use of knowledge is power-but I can see that you would not know that. Have fun with your fiddle!

  • Baronius

    Philip, I’d be curious to hear your answer to my question. Climate change aside, what’s our grade?

    Cindy, did you really think that the big problem with this thread was that we didn’t have enough subjects to discuss?

  • Zozobra

    Baronius – we are still here…A+…begrudgingly

    Z

  • Bliffle

    What you have to understand, Phil, is that guys such as Doug LIKE sweatshops!

    To them the sweatshop is proof that a deserving corporate chieftain is not being deprived of a few dollars by some undeserving wretch who has not fought to conquer his neighbors and to subjugate his associates and claw his way up the ladder.

    For you see, clawing his way up the ladder is what that chieftain has spent his whole life doing, and in order not to feel that he has wasted his time he has to elevate that activity to the highest moral standing.

    You can hear the ring of morality in Dougs statements, the strident trumpeting of the moral superiority of power accumulation.

    And why does that Chieftain have a suspicion that he may have wasted his time? For that suspicion animates his NEED to pronounce the course he took as morally superior.

    Because he’s unhappy.

    Because he feels insecure. He knows exactly how he got what he got. He knows that it was no special ability or virtue of his own that brought him riches. Anyone could do it, and maybe someone will, and in so doing will take away his toys.

    So he cherishes the sweatshops. Of course, he announces that sweatshops are necessary because they punish under-achievers and thus promote higher achievement. But what he really likes is that it imprisons potential challengers.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Giving power to large, uncaring corporations means you gave your freedom up to them, not government.”

    Talk to your bosses on this one. Corporations, with all their wealth, can’t directly force me to do anything. The only ones with the authority to take away freedom and force me into anything are the government stooges. (admittedly often paid to do so by those same rich corporations)

    Perhaps you don’t support government intervention in all these areas, I just read the complaints, the supporting comments that scoffed at the idea of freedom (a logical neccessity if you’re a fan of government intervention) saw you worked for the government, and made an assumption.

    Anyway, I just get frustrated at times with the general trend towards statism and away from liberty. In my somewhat libertarian (it’s a continuous spectrum of course) worldview you are free to do whatever and support whatever causes you choose, it pains me that most political activists would not extend me the same courtesy.

  • Doug Hunter

    Blif, I do like sweatshops. People work in sweatshops becuase it’s better than not working in the sweatshop. Next thing you know some other rich asshole wants to make money like the first one did with his shop. Now you have two sweatshops, then three, four. Pretty soon the pool of desperate starving people dwindles (a good thing) and you must raise wages a bit to find new ones when the old ones lose their fingers in the machine. (another good thing, at least the raising wages bit) Raises move a bit more then the adults in the families figure they can work triple special overtime and let younger kids stay home(another good thing). Pretty soon the entire local economy is transformed an what was formerly starving, disease ridden subsistence farmers are now in the age of technology. The children of the sweatshop workers are now manufacturing computer chips and the evil dirty capitalists have moved on with their sweatshops to rescue another corner of the globe.

  • doug m

    I love how DH gets schooled by Philip when he calls him a leftist, and then doesn’t acknowledge his error.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Go back and read Doc’s original comment. That wasn’t his point and not the point of my response to him.

    No, it wasn’t, but Jordan’s is a good one. My point, which you also didn’t address, is that although the percentage of the world population which lives near the ocean now may well be similar to that which did so 10,000 years ago, they are FAR less mobile and able to adapt to sea level and other climate-influenced changes.

    Moving New York City a few miles inland vs. moving a small collection of reed huts a few miles inland… I know who my money’s on.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Climate change aside, what’s our grade?
    oKAY, THE PROBLEM IS, i CANNOT PUT CLIMATE CHANGE ASIDE BECAUSE ALL OF THE ELEMENTS-oooops, had the cap button on-sorry-are holistic-one cannot be separated from the other. This has been humanity’s problem-we do not understand interrelationships. The web of life is something we are not immune from. Life is holistic. That being said–
    We still fail if climate is extracted. We simply cannot do business as usual. We consume but do not replenish-this cannot last. Yes, great strides are being made in science-I love science-the problem is that of time-we are running out of it. If all of this-current events and scientific breakthroughs occurred 20 years ago-we may have had a chance. But, what is happening in science will not see the light of day for years-the military will use things first. Keep in mind-it is the climate change that has motivated our search for alternative energy. But, many knew this many years ago and nothing was done. We are on the right track but we are also too late.
    I think Doug is pulling our leg. No one can still believe that way. That is like the theory of colonialism. A slave with a home is better than a slave in the jungle-and-of course everyone should be just like us.
    Government does very little unless it meets the need of business. If you do not think that Bilderberg, Jason, Tri-lateral, etc. do not call the shots-then yes, we are doomed and deserve it!
    You think your life is free. Look at your life. What do you own, what are your values-many of your choices have been made for you-you simply bought the corporate party line. You only lose freedom if you give it away.
    Blif! You surprise me-I’m impressed.
    [Edited]

  • Doug Hunter

    “I think Doug is pulling our leg. No one can still believe that way.”

    Lots of economists and people with their eyes open do. The evil Nike corp used to make it’s shoes in South Korea and Taiwan in the 1970’s, look what the sweatshops did to those countries. The invisible hand of capitalism does all the work, the the mouths come out and take credit for it. After prosperity has created a situation where children don’t need to work 16 hours to help the family stave off starvation, then the government passes regulations after the fact and the do-gooders pat themselves on the back.

    Regulation didn’t fix child labor, improving economic conditions did. In fact, as you alluded, if economic conditions go back far enough those old necessities will rear their ugly heads again.

  • Clavos

    If you do not think that Bilderberg, Jason, Tri-lateral, etc. do not call the shots-then yes, we are doomed and deserve it!

    Oh boy…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    doug m,

    Unfortunately, that’s the level of our discussions most of the times – resorting to labels, innuendos, etc., all shortcuts to thinking. And so, we have to keep on reminding the culprits that it won’t carry the day.

    Thank you for your comment.

  • Clavos

    Moving New York City a few miles inland vs. moving a small collection of reed huts a few miles inland… I know who my money’s on.

    The odds of our ever having to do so are slim to none, IMO.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “A slave with a home is better than a slave in the jungle-and-of course everyone should be just like us.”

    Great line. There might have been some excuses in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, but today . . .

    Is that the face of capitalism progressing, bringing hope and prosperity to all?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Doug still hasn’t answered the responsibility component of “freedom” – not only for your own life but that of all those who make up the society.

    But I suppose he can’t, because once he allows that notion, his fictional idea of freedom would evaporate.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The odds of our ever having to do so are slim to none, IMO.

    We’ll see. Without the ingenious but hugely expensive Thames Barrier (which is having to be raised with increasing frequency these days and will probably need to be replaced around 2030), London would already be thinking about it.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Although I must say this little tidbit from the article is a bit of a jaw-drooper:

    “Add to all of this the great unknown of our solar systems alignment with the galactic core”

    Aligned in relation to what? Our solar system orbits the galactic core. It’s impossible for us not to be aligned with it…!

  • Baronius

    Philip, I think the way Doug H does. At least I’d agree with his comment #35. If you look at the scenario he describes, without presuppositions, it’s valid.

    To be honest, I felt like you were pulling my leg in parts of this article, but thinking that way will prevent the discussion from advancing.

    Next topic (for me at least) is religion. You assume that a) religion is a bad influence, b) religion is opposed to science, and c) a spirituality of openness is a good influence. You didn’t back up those ideas. I’d argue the opposite: that the best things of Western culture, including the study of science, were founded on the Western religious tradition.

  • Clavos

    @#46:

    We’ll see.

    Probably not. You’re a lot younger than I, but even you won’t live long enough to see NYC under water, even at street level, if it ever is.

    I have a pretty good measure. My house in St. Petersburg (Florida, not Russia) is waterfront and my seawall is 25 feet from the back wall of the house. The house had an elevation of 4.5 feet above MHW (mean high water), when I bought it a little more than twenty years ago, in February 1989.

    It still does. I know this because, in order to get the permits to have some remodeling done, I had to have its elevation surveyed again a couple of months ago.

    The house is three blocks from the Gulf of Mexico, on a salt water bay. The barrier island on which it is built is about 300 yards wide from gulf to bay.

    I’m not worried. Neither are my tenants.

  • Baronius

    But Clavos, if NYC goes under, think of all the boat purchases!

  • Doug Hunter

    “But I suppose he can’t, because once he allows that notion, his fictional idea of freedom would evaporate.” Roger

    I didn’t know you were in the bash freedom camp, Roger. I make a serious distinction between being a responsible citizen and using the power of the government to force your idea of responsibility on everyone else. I voluntarily do many things I would never suggest the government make mandatory that I believe would make many world a better place if everyone did them.

    My primary interest in politics is to maintain at least the level of freedom I currently have against the assaults of those who know how I should live my life better than I do. Must I now count you in that camp?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I have no idea, Douglas, about the assaults you’re talking about. I don’t see any from Philip nor from me. Don’t forget the context, sweat shops in this day and age. We should have better ways by now of bringing Third World countries to a standard of living comparable to our own – isn’t that, after all, the noble aim of the West and the capitalist system. So your defending the methods and practices of raw capitalism, at the time of its very inception and necessary as they may have been – and in the name of freedom – does come across as very archaic if not unenlightened to say the least.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Not to mention the fact you deplore Americans for having become Wall-Mart consumers and subsidizing cheaply made, sweat-shop products. So let’s get consistent here and call a spade a spade.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    The ancient Mayan astronomers accurately predicted, over 1500 years ago, the exact alignment of the Earth, the Sun, the star cluster Pleiades and of the center of our Galaxy that will take place at the end of the present long cycle on the Gregorian year 2012. On the Mayan Long Calendar the day designated as 4 Ahau 3 Kankin (13.0.0.0.0) falls on December 21, 2012

    The Earth revolves once around the Milky Way galaxy approximately every 228 million years. This could be called the Galactic Cycle.

    The completion of one pass of the precession through all 12 signs of your zodiac represents one Grand Cycle of approximately 25,920 years.

    Once every Grand Cycle, the elliptical pattern traced by the toroidal core returns to its “starting point.” The number of ellipses traced during a Galactic Cycle will approximately equal 228 million divided by 25,920, or a little over 9000 Grand Cycles. Just in case you still haven’t been able to visualize this, think of one of those drawing tools you have that creates spirals and doodles, and imagine a series of small circles orbiting about a large circle (or actually spiral).

    Now suppose you wanted to know how often the core of the Earth will line up with the exact center of the galaxy. This exact lineup might only happen once every 228 million years times 25,920 years (a very large number between five and six trillion), because the smaller cycle (precession) does not divide evenly into 228 million (the galactic cycle).

    Hopefully you get the drift-there really is a lot of science regarding the position of our solar system and the core and the cycle we are entering-Many will think this whacked so i did not want to get into it too much here-Just like Polarity shift-which is beginning according to NASA-but that is another topic.

    Can’t buy into “my house is not sinking” so not a problem argument. There are places in the world where this is a real problem and people are having to move. I am sure Louisiana thought it was safe, too-yes, that was a storm but the changing sea levels added to the problem.

    Yes, I assume religion is the bane of human existence. It is divisive, responsible for the deaths of untold millions (just Google deaths caused by religious wars) and has kept humanity in a form of mental slavery. You didn’t back up your assertion either. There is little historical proof that religion ever supported advances in science that in any way conflicted with prevailing dogma. Inquisition anyone? If anything, most science was rooted in the Muslim tradition, certainly not Christianity. perhaps that will be another post.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    That is the thing-we always have choices. We did not HAVE TO exploit third world nations. It was the choice of greedy people who pulled the strings of government. Our notion of free enterprise has meant that we are free to do whatever we want to make more money. Free for us, but not those whose lives we destroy. Everyone may not want a Big Mac. our new form of imperialism has been cultural-we are the best so everyone must want to be just like us-whether they realize it or not. But nations have caught on and that is why the backlash and distrust and even outright hatred. besides, by what standard are we the best?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Now suppose you wanted to know how often the core of the Earth will line up with the exact center of the galaxy.

    There. Right there’s where it’s nonsense. The core of the Earth is ALWAYS lined up with the exact center of the galaxy. All you have to do is draw a straight line between them.

    You might as well say that my left ear is exactly aligned with your big toe.

    And the argument that Earth, or the Solar System or whatever, is completing a Galactic Cycle or a Grand Cycle only works by picking an arbitrary starting point. You could just as easily pick 428 million years ago as your starting point and have the last one end 200 million years ago.

  • Baronius

    Philip, there is so much to disagree with in your comment #53 that I don’t want to leave anything out. The biggie for me is that you condemn religion, but sign on to the beliefs of the Mayans. I would have thought that the human sacrifice would be a deal-breaker.

    FWIW, the Catholic Church and medieval philosophers pretty much created science. I don’t know what you’re referring to about the Inquisition, but it had nothing to do with science either way.

    The Muslims did promote and preserve learning. You’ll find that the three monotheistic cultures developed most of the world’s big thinking. Polytheistic religions tended to do a good job with calendars, to keep track of the crops and ritual killings and stuff.

  • Clavos

    I am sure Louisiana thought it was safe, too-yes

    If they did, they are moronic beyond belief — NOLA has never been safe, it’s built below sea level.

    It’s not rocket surgery to know that inevitably it would be destroyed; it will, in fact, happen again.

    It has nothing to do with GW and everything to do with the idiocy of putting a city in that location in the first place.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Last first-yup, there are lots of morons and lots of cities, villages, towns and people at or near sea level-wonder where they will go?

    Science progressed despite catholic persecution. It was done by catholics because you had to be a catholic-The trials of Galileo, Copernicus-the recants so they would not be burned at the stake for heresy-do these ring a bell-the creation of new secret societies to hide science from the church lest they burn at the stake-sorry, science was anathema to the church-that is straight history. All modern math was created by the Muslims.

    “You’ll find that the three monotheistic cultures developed most of the world’s big thinking.” That is a very pompous and arrogant statement. To the Buddhist or Hindu our way of thinking is primitive. Actually, quantum physics has found that ancient Hindu cosmology is perhaps more accurate and closer to reality. I love how you relegate polytheism to calendars and crops. This is why the west is crumbling-our superior way of thinking will save the world. Almost all great truths have emerged from the East, not the materialistic West. Again, you must define ‘big’ for who.
    My views on religion can be surmised at my Waking God or by reading the first 2 of my WAKING GOD TRILOGY. Like I said-another topic.
    As for the Mayans-yup, there was an outer form of their religion that degenerated into sacrifice-Christians were more civilized-we burnt people and pulled them apart and tried to see if they would float with weights attached…
    Anyway, I am not signing onto the beliefs of the , but rather the knowledge of the Dayan-just as I have no problems with the teachings of Jesus (I wrote a book about them)-but rather with the self-serving institution that sprang up after him.

    Yes, you can always draw a straight line to the core-not was not really their point-and yes you can start a 25k cycle today. They were a bit more methodical than that. It deals with the alignments of the planets, sun, constellations which, they claim, bring major changes to the planet-not the end of the world-major changes.

  • Clavos

    Last first-yup, there are lots of morons and lots of cities, villages, towns and people at or near sea level

    But most aren’t built below historical sea level and aren’t sitting in the middle of Hurricane Alley. That’s what makes the placement (and especially the rebuilding after Katrina) of NOLA so moronic.

    As for the Mayans-yup, there was an outer form of their religion that degenerated into sacrifice

    Not an “outer form.” It was central to their ceremonial lives, as it was throughout the Pre-Columbian Americas — from the Aymara and Quechua, and from the Inca Empire all the way north to the Mesoamerican peoples: Mexica (Aztecs), Toltecs, Olmecs, Nahuas and others, including the Mayan Empire, which bridged the Incas and Mexica.

    From Wikipedia: (This information can also be found in Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Guns, Germs, and Steel):

    The practice of human sacrifice was widespread in the Mesoamerican and in the South American cultures during the Inca Empire.

    Also from Wikipedia:

    The practice of child sacrifice in Pre-Columbian cultures, in particular Mesoamerican and South American cultures, is well documented both in the archaeological records and in written sources…

    And even in North America:

    The Pawnee practiced an annual Morning Star ceremony, which included the sacrifice of a young girl. Though the ritual continued, the sacrifice was discontinued in the 19th Century.[14] The Iroquois are said to have occasionally sent a maiden to the Great Spirit.[15]

    Wikipedia again:

    The Maya practiced human sacrifice. In some Maya rituals people were killed by having their arms and legs held while a priest cut the person’s chest open and tore out his heart as an offering. This is depicted on ancient objects such as pictorial texts, known as codices. It is believed that children were often offered as sacrificial victims because they were believed to be pure.[24]

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    I understand that there were many practices of sacrifice-I still contend it was the outer form, the institution, that created and perpetuated these acts.

    There is also:

    Death tolls are given by historians such as Will Durant, who, in The Reformation (1957), cites Juan Antonio Llorente, General Secretary of the Inquisition from 1789 to 1801, as estimating that 31,912 people were executed from 1480-1808. He also cites Hernando de Pulgar, a secretary to Queen Isabella, as estimating 2,000 people were burned before 1490. Philip Schaff in his History of the Christian Church gave a number of 8,800 people burned in the 18 years of Torquemada. Matthew White, in reviewing these and other figures, gives a median number of deaths at 32,000, with around 9,000 under Torquemada [1]. R. J. Rummel describes similar figures as realistic, though he cites some historians who give figures of up to 135,000 people killed under Torquemada. This number includes 125,000 asserted to have died in prison due to poor conditions, leaving 10,000 sentenced to death. (Death rates in medieval and early modern prisons were generally very high, thanks in part to inadequate sanitary conditions and a poor diet.) There are no death toll figures available for the massacres of 1391, 1468 or 1473. These numbers will likely never be known.

    And This site gives brief dscriptions of deaths caused by all major conflicts of the 20th century, and includes a category of religious conflicts in both the 20th century and earlier:

    Religious Conflicts (selected)
    Generally speaking, in most of the following cases, religion is both
    the stated cause of the killing and the only substantive difference
    between the two opposing groups. Obviously, there would be many
    additional conflicts where religion is just one of several divisions.
    Albigensian Crusade, 1208-49
    Algeria, 1992-
    Baha’is, 1848-54
    Bosnia, 1992-95
    Boxer Rebellion, 1899-1901
    Christian Romans, 30-313 CE
    Croatia, 1991-92
    Early Christian doctrinal disputes
    English Civil War, 1642-46
    Holocaust, 1938-45
    Huguenot Wars, 1562-1598
    India, 1992-2002
    India: Suttee & Thugs
    Indo-Pakistani Partition, 1947
    Iran, Islamic Republic, 1979-
    Iraq, Shiites, 1991-92
    Jews, 1348
    Jonestown, 1978
    Lebanon
    1860
    1975-92
    Martyrs, generally
    Molucca Is., 1999-
    Mongolia, 1937-39
    Northern Ireland, 1974-98
    Responsibility generally (Is religion responsible for more deaths than …?)
    Christian culpabiltiy
    Russian pogroms:
    1905-06
    1917-22
    St. Bartholemew Massacre, 1572
    Shang China, ca. 1300-1050 BCE
    Shimabara Revolt, Japan 1637-38
    Sikh uprising, India, 1984-91
    Spanish Inquisition, 1478-1834
    Taiping Rebellion, 1850-64
    Thirty Years War, 1618-48
    Tudor England
    Vietnam, 1800s
    Witch Hunts, 1400-1800
    Xhosa, 1857
    In addition, here are a few noteworthy conflicts where dissimilar
    ethnic groups fought for primarily religious reasons:
    Arab Outbreak, 7th Century CE
    Arab-Israeli Wars, 1948-
    Al Qaeda, 1993-
    Crusades, 1095-1291
    Dutch Revolt, 1566-1609
    Nigeria, 1990s, 2000s

    All religions kill, not just “primitive natives” who are not a part of the Big Thinkers.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Philip, much as I am enjoying both your writing and your comments, please don’t post raw urls.

    It is Blogcritics house style to have all links properly structured with anchor text, so Blogcritics, not http://blogcritics.org. If you don’t yet know how, here is a very simple explanation of how to format a link properly.

    Thanks.

    Christopher Rose
    Blogcritics Comments Editor

  • Baronius

    Philip, I’ve never heard of the trial of Copernicus. The guy was a priest who published a popular book on astronomy. It was Galileo’s supposed forays into theology that caused the later problems.

    As I said earlier, the Muslims did preserve and promote learning, but let’s not overstate their contributions to mathematics. They were largely based on the ancient Greek works they had preserved, and on the algebra that they picked up in India.

    I’ve looked into the claim that religion was responsible for more deaths than anything else. You might be able to make that claim up through 1789, but after that it’s been secular or atheistic states dominating the numbers. I notice that in your numbers, you count the Holocaust as a religious conflict, which requires a pretty strained reading of history.

    On each of these points, it seems like you’ve only done cursory reading.

  • Clavos

    All religions kill, not just “primitive natives” who are not a part of the Big Thinkers.

    I never said otherwise, merely corrected your assertion that human sacrifice was not central to the Mayan civilation.

    In fact, I would venture that killing each other (for any number of reasons) is an historically ingrained (and IMO, immutable) part of human nature, for all that modern liberals wish it weren’t so.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    You’re just a tiny bit cynical and pessimistic though, Clav…

  • Clavos

    You’re just a tiny bit cynical and pessimistic though, Clav…

    Moi???

    Seriously, I don’t deny it, but has there ever been a period of more than a few years in all of recorded history when people weren’t killing each other in some part of (or all over) the globe?

  • Baronius

    Clavos, have you ever seen the movie Serenity?

    “I’ll kill a man in a fair fight…or if I think he’s gonna start a fair fight…or if he bothers me…or if there’s a girl…or for money…definitely for money…”

  • Clavos

    Haven’t seen it, Bar, but I like the line; I’ll look for the movie…

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I love the show Firefly – inexplicably cancelled midway through its first season – but have yet to see the movie version, Serenity. I plan to address that omission very soon.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Sorry about the link thing.
    My only point in the list was to counter the list of hearts being torn out-not to debate numbers-really just showing that the west has more than its fair share of religious killings-I do not at all dispute the sacrifices-but again-that is from the religious institutional side of native culture-thus, my point-religion sucks-no matter where you find it.

    Yup, sorry, Copernicus was just condemned but no trial-except his mother for heresy.

    Numbers of dead-yes, they can be debated-I contend that the 6M Jews killed was religious persecution and then we have the slaughter by Stalin-but, no-the war was not started for religious reasons. Of course there is Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan. The 2 major causes of war in my opinion are greed and religion-Religion often the tool of the greedy-you know, white man’s burden.

  • Bliffle

    Communism was a religion, Naziism was a religion. They each had their High Holymen, Stalin and Hitler, shibboleths, commandments, and most of all: demands for blind loyalty.

    Otherwise no one would have participated in their massacres.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Depending on how you define it-you are right! Bliffle-hmmm, we agree once more.

    The global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the warmest on record

  • Baronius

    I can’t find any mention of Barbara Watzenrode being tried for heresy, or any sign that Copernicus was condemned (trial or no). Her brother had a few run-ins with the Teutonic Knights, but that’s all I can find. Are you sure about this?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I believe Copernicus had to recant on his deathbed.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Get information, facts, and pictures about Copernican system at Encyclopedia.com. … Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The following is a more correct account.

  • Baronius

    Philip, you’re talking about Kepler, not Copernicus. I don’t know much about Kepler. I’ll have to read up.

  • Clavos

    The global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the warmest on record

    Doesn’t mean much since records only go back to 1880, barely a blink in the history of the world, and the combined land and sea surface temp for July 2009 is only the fifth warmest since then; there are no temperature records of previous warmings (though there is ice core and other evidence they did occur), so there is no meaningful historical basis for comparison.

    More from the NOAA report:

    Cooler-than-average conditions prevailed across southern South America, central Canada, the eastern United States, and parts of western and eastern Asia. The most notably cool conditions occurred across the eastern U.S., central Canada, and southern South America where region-wide temperatures were nearly 4-7 degrees F (2-4 degrees C) below average.

    Arctic sea ice covered an average of 3.4 million square miles during July. This is 12.7 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent and the third lowest July sea ice extent on record, behind 2007 and 2006. Antarctic sea ice extent in July was 1.5 percent above the 1979-2000 average. July Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by 6.1 percent per decade since 1979, while July Antarctic sea ice extent has increased by 0.8 percent per decade over the same period.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Isn’t it winter in Antarctica in July?

    At any rate, all us non-scientists throwing ‘definitive’ data at each other doesn’t accomplish a great deal.

    All, or nearly all, the prescriptions for decreasing carbon dioxide emissions will also decrease other kinds of pollution. Even Clavos and RJ will not, I assume, argue that pollution is good or that taking care of the environment is bad. It’s just a matter of emphasis and degree [no pun intended].

    Yet it always comes down to a nasty ideological fight. Nature knows nothing about ideology, and I refuse to believe that this dispute could be anything other than man-made. In other words, the truth has to lie somewhere in between the two extreme positions.

  • Clavos

    All, or nearly all, the prescriptions for decreasing carbon dioxide emissions will also decrease other kinds of pollution.

    The problem is that all the prescriptions we come up with here in the US or the Euros come up with across the pond, will be very expensive and damaging to our economies in the short term, and won’t amount to a hill of beans on a global basis if the Chinese and Indians continue to grow and ignore their pollution, as the Chinese have literally announced they will do.

    And I disagree with you, handy regarding us non-scientists discussing the problem. I don’t have the confidence you do in the scientists to leave them alone to make all the decisions and conclusions on the issue without input from all of us, including (especially) those of us who will have to pay for the “prescriptions.”

  • Clavos

    Nearly forgot, handy. You ask,

    Isn’t it winter in Antarctica in July?

    Yes, of course it is, which is why NOAA compares (as they state in the quote above), July to July.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    I would think that cleaning up the environment and making solar panels, new distribution systems, big and small wind turbines, building more energy efficient everything would be good for the economy and create jobs. It may not be for the companies in power-but TS.
    Sometimes, the truth is not in the middle-that is a myth perpetuated by wimpy politicians.
    I saw Copernicus and mother on trial-but did not follow the link-it could have been about Kepler.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    BTW-like I would rely on the catholic Digest for information about persecution. That’s like relying on Exxon to report about the status of the environment.

  • Baronius

    That’s a bit snippy for someone who just got called on a factual error, Philip. In fact, maybe you should have relied on Catholic Encyclopedia (which Roger linked to, not the Digest). But the thing about Kepler’s mom wasn’t the fault of organized religion; Germany in the early Reformation was the furthest thing from organized. Human nature gets out of hand in chaotic times, precisely because it slips away from the governance of sound religion.

    From a quick read, it looks like Kepler never faced a trial either, which is pretty interesting, considering he was a Calvinist-leaning Lutheran working in Catholic cities (and doing horoscopes on the side).

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    There is no such thing as ‘the governance of sound religion.’ I make mistakes-and admit it-too bad religions didn’t do the same thing.
    I do not think the conversation is really about a couple scientists that at a minimum-greatly displeased the Church by questioning their cosmology. The idea is that the Church is not pro rock the cosmic boat-I do not even want to think about evolution. If things fit their views, they accept science-if not-they take centuries to later their beliefs and keep people locked into their self-serving dogma.
    I an never snippy-wrong maybe-but not snippy. It is kind of like accepting an old communist history book as gospel.
    What’s wrong with horoscopes? If, as quantum physics says, everything is connected-that means everything-stars, planets, people. All energies interact.

  • Baronius

    Philip, the conversation isn’t about a couple of scientists? You brought them up as evidence of religion’s error. Now that I’ve pointed out your mistake, you want to drop them. Fine. If you don’t want to think about evolution, which would probably have been our next topic, fine. Where do you want to go next?

    Do you believe in the possibility of revealed truth? Do you believe in non-replicable events? Why?

    Or, do you accept the possibility of religious truth, but don’t believe that any of the religions you know of are true?

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    The comment was made that the Church supported scientific advancement-the point was not to focus on one or two people but rather overall antipathy between dogma and science.

    I was being snippy about evolution-BTW-I believe in Intelligent Design.

    Yes, I believe in revealed truth. I believe in spiritual truth and I believe that people like Buddha, Jesus, etc revealed truth. Is there a true religion, NO! They have perverted teachings for self-perpetuating ends. To think that one is right, and all the rest are wrong is what has caused much suffering and despair.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Oh, maybe all were not tried, but the works of Kepler, Copernicus and Galileo were condemned.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Doug,

    Blif, I do like sweatshops. People work in sweatshops becuase it’s better than not working in the sweatshop.

    Very politely, I wish to say you are wrong.

    Stan,

    I apologize for the lecture. That’s true you don’t need a lecture. I get like that. Sorry.

    What this calls for is an article.

    And thanks Stan for leading me to research the subject–now my husband can’t look at a Twizzler (something he liked–god knows why) without wanting to vomit. Who knew Hershey’s, Cadbury, Nestle and friends were associated with (Oh, including your Australian Tim Tam maker though they proclaim their innocence) so much unbelievable, really unbelievable horror, that any sane person reading what they have been doing would choke on their chocolate bar, would call for the resignation of every decision maker. Since no one really cares about poor people, we don’t have laws that would make what they’ve been up to crimes against humanity, but they should be. Pure evil.

    Tim Tams are an innocuous choccy biscuit of iconic status. These are like the Aussie equivalent of Oreos. Their big crime in the council’s eyes is the chocolate coating.

    Yes, that little innocuous chocolate coating that has been responsible for destroying lives in ways that genocide seems kinder.

    We have cute little Hershey kisses here. Everything about them seems so innocent. They even come in Christmas colors for the holiday.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Cindy-what’s the deal with all the chocolate-I am not up on that-would like to know-does it mean no Snickers?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Philip,

    My own decision is not to buy any products from Hershey, M&M Mars, Nestle (and probably a bunch of of others), whether chocolate or not. I’ll also be regularly leafleting supermarkets and distributing flyers throughout my community.

    I am writing an article over the weekend on it. Stay tuned.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Thanks-look forward to it!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Stan,

    This video is for you as an Australian.

  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    Philip, this is a great article and I agree with your assessments and compliment you on a cogent and thorough description of our present circumstances. I, too, have read and written about 2012 on my blog, but more from a philosophical perspective (you’ve done a much better job of detailing the facts). I find it so interesting that so many people seem to believe that life as we know it will go on forever, despite the enormous changes (and threats) you described. In addition, many people think that the mystics have said 2012 will be the end of the world. That’s not the message. The message is that 2012 will mark the climax of a period of upheaval that will result in enormous changes in life as we know it. About 20 years ago, a survey of respected psychics (I know that to many this is an oxymoron) foresaw life in the mid-21st century and beyond as resembling life in many centuries past: much smaller global population, very low-tech, very communal and agrarian in its lifestyle. Like a “Star Trek” episode about a distant future that looks like the distant past. I find this totally believable and indeed likely — just as I believe we are, right now, at the mere beginning of the upheaval that will culminate in the phenomenon we call 2012. People can nitpick about particular aspects of all this, but I question the judgment of those who fail to see the obvious beginnings of a very different future.

  • Clavos

    Oy…

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Thanks Jeanne-What is your blog url-love to take a look. I get the feeling that some here like to bark a bit and debate for pure pleasure-I can be like that, too. The only difference in my view and yours is that I actually see it as a high/simple society that have found its inner spiritual nature. A society where we have truly mastered conscious creation.

    I can hear it no-“OY!” But when we hold to the vision, form will follow. That’s the Law.

    Cindy, have you posted about chocolate yet?

  • Oy!

    …when we hold to the vision, form will follow.

    form follows fashion

    That’s the Law.

    OY! another shyster

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I second Philip’s comments, Jackie – it is an important topic – despite all the oys and oy weys. Sorry, Clavos.

    What’s the title of your blog entry on the topic, Jackie?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Cindy, have you posted about chocolate yet?

    Not yet Philp. I am just sitting down now to get started on verifying information before I write it. Probably tomorrow late or Monday.

    I’ll put a link here.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Thanks Cindy.
    The ‘greatest lie’ is that the ‘greatest lie’ is a lie, when in fact, it is not.
    Oy