A Rose By Any Other Name . . .

Once again, my thoughts are triggered by a David Brooks oped [column](http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/27/opinion/brooks-is-our-adults-learning.html?hp). He writes in today’s NYTimes (4/27/12) about learning in a big way. The headline, “Is Our Adults Learning?” is strange. I can’t figure out if it means something important or is simply the output of a headline writer that didn’t learn enough in school. I think it is the latter. Irony at work in the real world. Brooks is laying down a case for what some call small-scale social experiments or, maybe in this context, large-scale experiments. Arguing that the models that experts use to predict the future under various scenarios are not up to the job, he… Read More

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Lost in Transmission

Sherry Turkle wrote the front page cover story in the NYTimes Sunday review on April 22. The title, “The Flight from Conversation,” is about the negative effects of all the digital devices and programs that have come to dominate our lives everywhere. Turkle, an MIT scholar, has studied the impacts of technology on the workplace and other familiar arenas of life. Her latest book, *Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other*, spawned the Times article. The gist of the story and her book is that recent developments in social media and the devices that support it are denuding the richness from our major means… Read More

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Earth Day 2012

I’m watching the rain replenish the Earth today. It needs it in Massachusetts which is many inches below normal at this time of the year. I don’t keep weather records of my own, but there is little normal about what I have been observing locally and on the national news. Anyway, the rain which may present us also with flash floods later today is most welcome. I began this day at our Cinema Club, which presents an about-to-be-released indie film, but unannounced until we show up. We have seen some winners lately, including *Separation* and *Monsieur Lazhar*, both of which were terrific. But today, probably in honor of Earth Day,… Read More

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It’s A Puzzlement

When I was a boy World was better spot. What was so was so, What was not was not. Now I am a man; World have changed a lot. Some things nearly so, Others nearly not. There are times I almost think I am not sure of what I absolutely know. Very often find confusion In conclusion I concluded long ago In my head are many factsThat, as a student, I have studied to procure, In my head are many facts.. Of which I wish I was more certain I was sure! …There are times I almost think Nobody sure of what he absolutely know. Everybody find confusion In conclusion… Read More

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Share/Rent or Own?

I have just finished reading the final essays from my classes at the Marlboro College Graduate School MBA in Managing for Sustainability. One about providing services instead of products, per se, struck a chord. I have been studying, for a while, this alternative to the more common direct purchasing offers made by companies catering to consumer market. The subject of the potential eco-efficiency of services compared to product markets has been around for a couple of decades, at least. For a time, it was a serious topic in my old field of industrial ecology. The provision of automobile sharing, as in Zipcars, is one of the few cases where this… Read More

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Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

*We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.* Albert Schweitzer Schweitzer’s aphorism came decades earlier than Facebook, Twitter and all the social media that have become a constant of our high-tech society. If what he said was true then, it is much more so today. My copy of *The Atlantic* arrived today. (I still get my magazines via snail mail.) This is supposed to be “The Culture Issue,” but I failed to see much of what I would call culture inside. One of the main feature did hit on a theme I have often written about in this blog: the negative side of social media… Read More

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Don’t Take That Bet

The Yale-based Environment 360, an excellent, careful and well edited on-line magazine, ran a [story](http://e360.yale.edu/feature/betting_on_technology_to_help_turn_consumers_green/2513/) recently on [GoodGuide](http://www.goodguide.com/) and related efforts to guide consumer behavior by providing information of every item in the stores. Written by Marc Gunther and headlined, “Betting on Technology to Help Turn Consumers Green,” the article tells this story: > U.S. consumers tell researchers they want to buy environmentally friendly products, but so far they haven’t been doing that on a large scale. Now a host of companies and nonprofits are trying to use new technology — from smartphones to social networking — to make it easier for buyers to make the green choice. The theory… Read More

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