I have happily developed a familial tradition of taking my kids, one in high school, the other in junior high, to the local university libraries on the weekend for homework sessions.
It's a pretty good idea, since, lacking distractions, they focus on their work - which prevents those homework arguments that I'm sure many parents have. After a few hours of work, we go to the University Museum - a very good one with world class art ranging from Egyptian Classical, to Pre-Columbian North and South American art, to Van Gogh to Warhol. Then we talk about art and whatever...
Not all libraries on this campus are open access, but two that are the Lewis Science Library - designed by Frank Gehry - and the Engineering Library. My oldest boy, who is interested in art - and we may differ somewhat on Gehry's work here - prefers the Lewis Science Library, parts of which were closed last year after a pipe broke. (The most important parts of the library have re-opened, thankfully, but the event raises a question about the intersection of art and practical engineering.)
Today I convinced my boys to forgo the Lewis Library and to do our work in the Engineering Library, since the "new books" shelves at Engineering have to be one of the more exciting places in the universe, at least for a dork like me.
Among the books I perused today were Nanotribology and Nanomechanics, by Bharat Bhushan (Ed.), Computational Optimization and Applications in Engineering and Industry, and Bradley Fahlman's beautifully written and thoughtful textbook Materials Chemistry.
These are pretty typical of the types of titles one can find on the "new book" shelves in this wonderful library.
Less typical of the titles in the Engineering library was this book:
Oil in the Soil, by Pamela Martin, who is an Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at Carolina Coastal University.
So what's the book about?
It's about the political fight to block oil drilling in the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) block of Yasuní National Park in Eastern Ecuador, one of the most important protected areas of the Amazon River System, an international effort spearheaded by the indigenous population of the area, some of whom were unaware of the larger world until recently.
The area is said to have proved reserves of more than 850 million barrels of oil, but it also contains 1/5 of all Amazon bird species, and more species of trees than the entire North American continent.
The best part is that the Ecuadoran government has been trying to get oil companies to pay to protect the reserve and park.
Note that the carbon involved will remain, um "pre-sequestered" in the only practical way to actually sequester carbon, which is to leave it in the ground in the first place.
Now that's what I'm talking about!!!!!!
This is not some bull crap "by 2090" fantasy of the consumerist creeps from the Yacht Club Set that runs the anti-intellectual, anti-science squad at Greenpeace.
This is not about 2090, it's about now. It may be small change on the grand scale, but it's something and it's real.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend.