The Immorality of Geoengineering

James Carroll almost never writes a [column](http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2012/11/26/hands-off-mother-earth/iZQKJkGcDg8CY3x3wVBfHN/story.html) that I disagree with. but today he did. He strayed a bit from his usual subjects into the murky world of geoengineering. > Even if carbon emissions were dramatically reduced all over the planet (including in China, India, and Africa, where fossil fuel engines are just firing up), the biosphere is already facing catastrophe. The greenhouse effect is self-compounding, and scientists tell us that atmospheric temperatures will continue to rise even without more pollution. However difficult it has been to launch a real discussion of the causes of global warming, an even-larger controversy looms now, as problematic attempts to mitigate warming through “geoengineering”… Read More

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Gobble Gobble NO, Slow Down

Thanksgiving is one of those stopping points in a year–or at least it should be. But I don’t see signs around that it really is. The mad pace of life carries us from store to store, from precipice to cliff, from megabits/sec to gigabits/sec, from war to war… Tom Friedman wrote a [column](http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/21/opinion/friedman-obamas-moment.html?hp) today extolling the new high speed Internet access network built, in part, with our stimulus money in Chattanooga, Tennessee. > How fast is that Chattanooga choo-choo? The majority of Chattanooga homes and businesses get 50 megabits per second, some 100 megabits, a few 250 and those with big needs opt for a full gigabit per second, explained… Read More

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Lincoln

I just returned from the movies, watching “Lincoln.” It measures up to all the buzz about it. After writing about gifts and moral responsibility only a few hours earlier, I was deeply moved by the film. The moral impossibility of condoning slavery drove Lincoln against the possibility of prolonging the murderous civil War. I would not begin to compare the degree and consequences of today’s inequality to that borne by slaves, but the moral issue seem to be much the same.

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Simple Gifts

Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight. When true simplicity is gain’d, To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d, To turn, turn will be our delight, Till by turning, turning we come ’round right. Written by Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett (pictured) in 1848, this lyric places “gift” exactly where it says is “just right.” I thought that with the election now in place, I could get back to my thinking and writing about… Read More

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Gobble Gobble

The title of this post is the conventional sound made by turkeys before they are processed and served up on Thanksgiving tables. But this odd sound seems to be drowned out by the metaphorical gobbling up of merchandise taking place on and immediately after Thanksgiving Day. It has been serious enough in recent times but promises to get even louder this year, [says](http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SVwXA7sHUlE) the NYTimes. > There was an outcry last year when some retailers opened at midnight on Thanksgiving, with workers and shoppers saying the holiday should be reserved for family, not spent lining up for the start of the Christmas shopping season. > This year, retailers are responding… Read More

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Post-election Blues

It didn’t take long to get over my relief following the results of Tuesday’s election. Great outcomes nationally, here at home in Massachusetts, and in Maine where I spend the summer. It turns out, the votes seem to indicate that we are a bluer nation, according to the networks color schemes. Blue is the wrong metaphor because there surely were more happy people than sad. A redder nation would signify an angrier nation, and, except for the discredited and mostly wrong Republican pundits, happiness outweighed anger. My observations, during an election cycle, are always badly distorted both by my own biases and by my home location in Massachusetts. Not only… Read More

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Inequality and More Plain Talk

Last evening, I went to listen to Robert Putnam speak on inequality and its horrific consequences. Putnam, whose work is, perhaps, the most revealing about the state of society in the US of any current American political scientist, was giving a lecture in Lexington’s public lecture series. His earlier book, *Bowling Alone*, revealed the drastic loss of social capital, the resources that hold any society together. His talk, last evening, focused on his current project, measuring inequality in American culture today. He began with a couple of caveats, he was not talking about income or wealth inequality; he was talking about inequality in opportunity to move upwards in the social… Read More

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