I’m a believer in the power of small actions, collectively done.
I work in a small software company (30 people) in a red state and a distinctly crimson part of that state. As the resident “liberal” this means a certain amount of ridicule, but nothing odious.
In the trash in the break room I saw any number of recyclable items but, I have to admit, was reluctant to try to have it recycled for fear of enduring a period of “Oh, he’s a tree hugging liberal trying to prevent non-existent climate change.”
So months went by when I would furtively take a few of the clean cans (predominantly Red Bulls and diet cokes…this is a software house, after all) and bring them home to our recycling bin.
Two months ago I took the leap and bought a separate trash can, labeled it for recyclables and put it in the break room. WOW! Not only did no one say a ridiculing word but everyone immediately starting putting in their recyclable materials. I take the bags home (2 full bags/week) and have noticed that the 2 regular trash cans, that were routinely full by the end of the week, are now half empty at the end of the week. That much less to go to the landfill.
Two lessons are learned from this experience: first, the general public has embraced the utility of recycling and are willing to make it a part of their routine even if they still question the validity of human effects on global warming; second, there must be many more opportunities to take meaningful, small and collective actions to save energy and protect our world. It gives me a measure of hope.
What stories do you have of a similar nature that others can adopt to keep alive these collective actions?
A really interesting TED talk given by Luis von Ahn von Ahn Massive Collaboration piqued my interest while watching it the other day. He talked about some exciting projects that can be done through massive collaboration on the net. I recommend that you watch but even so I'll say that he talked specifically about two such projects: helping to digitize older manuscripts through those jumbled words we have to input to establish on-line security and using free on-line language instruction to translate, for example, all of Wikipedia into Spanish. Very cool stuff!
The thing about those projects that left me wanting something more was that they are simply recasting the past--in a cool and useful way, but it's all still the past. What can be done for free on a massive collaboration basis that benefits our future? BOINC.
More after the fleur de Kos
Scanning newspapers around the world I came on an article in the Toronto Star reporting on a recent GAO study of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) development. That report , though recommending continued funding of the JSF development was highly critical of the current state of that development.
Two things: First, The Star was the only newspaper that I could find (surveyed NYT, LAT and, hometown newspaper, AJC) that carried anything about this report. Why is this. I'm not thinking anything sinister here, but in the midst of a budget dispute in DC, why not focus on a program that is developing a questionably useful aircraft that will cost approximately $100MM/copy with an additional $100MM of lifetime maintenance costs, all together for hundreds of billions of dollars.
Second, it appears that the only aircraft in the world that is being developed for air superiority is the Chinese J20, which, if the reports are close to true already has a superior capability to the F35 JSF and one which can't be re-engineered into the F35. [yes, I know the last link was to a Fox News article and therefore likely to be inaccurate and alarmist].
So, fellow Kossacks, why no coverage and why the continued development?
CNN. com is running a story right now about an FBI agent in Philadephia injured and traumatized by a defective stun grenade manufactured by a Georgia corporation, PSI. CNN.com
The management of PSI, notably, David Karlson its COO, are under indictment for fraud and other charges relating to their manufacture of these defective grenades. PSI originally tried to peddle these things to the military which rejected them--only to have them end up in the hands of the unsuspecting FBI.
Here's the Chambliss link--the Federal Election Commission--showing David Karlson as a significant contributor to Saxby Chambliss with the last reported donation being $1300 made in March 2008.
Chambliss should be eager to return all monies received from Karlson and any others at PSI. After all, it's money earned by injuring FBI agents. This is truly "blood money.
If you’ll forgive me for touching on a subject unrelated to cabinet post appointments, Sarah Palin or anything else currently on the political stage, it bears mentioning that Saturday is America Recycles Day. A visit to their site is recommended, even for the faithful as a refresher.
However, the "Reduce" imperative of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" is the best way to go from an environmental/energy saving point of view. We’re all better off if unneeded things are never created, rather than if they’re recycled.
A short list of easily accessible means of reducing the unwanted:
At a a recent meeting of my local democratic organization, the Democratic member of the Georgia Board of Elections talked about the operations of that Board and, most especially, about the voter ID laws passed in the legislature and approved by the courts.
The first thing to know is that there have been no instances of voter fraud in Georgia. Okay. That's clear enough. No instances. But the Republican controlled legislature passed a contentious photo ID law nevertheless.
The second thing to know is that Georgia is experiencing a drought. One of the states largest nursery companies recently declared bankruptcy due to a fall in sales.
The state legislature and state agencies have done, effectively, nothing to prevent or abate the drought and its impacts. Except that the Governor has held a prayer meeting to ask God to make it rain.
We have no rain and no voter fraud.
I think the Governor got the order of actions wrong in dealing with these two issues: we ought to be taking legislative and agency actions to alleviate the drought and we ought to be praying that nobody commits voter fraud.
Government action will be helpful in dealing with the drought and the prayer will be self-fulfilling prophesy.