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Related:  Frequency of Natural Disasters/Climate Change

The Climate Swerve Photo AMERICANS appear to be undergoing a significant psychological shift in our relation to global warming. I call this shift a climate “swerve,” borrowing the term used recently by the Harvard humanities professor Stephen Greenblatt to describe a major historical change in consciousness that is neither predictable nor orderly. The first thing to say about this swerve is that we are far from clear about just what it is and how it might work. The experiential part has to do with a drumbeat of climate-related disasters around the world, all actively reported by the news media: hurricanes and tornadoes, droughts and wildfires, extreme heat waves and equally extreme cold, rising sea levels and floods. This sense of the climate threat is represented in public opinion polls and attitude studies. Falsification and denial, while still all too extensive, have come to require more defensive psychic energy and political chicanery. This takes us to the swerve-related significance of ethics.

Clive Thompson on Why Kids Can’t Search | Magazine Illustration: Tymn Armstrong We’re often told that young people tend to be the most tech-savvy among us. But just how savvy are they? A group of researchers led by College of Charleston business professor Bing Pan tried to find out. Specifically, Pan wanted to know how skillful young folks are at online search. His team gathered a group of college students and asked them to look up the answers to a handful of questions. But Pan pulled a trick: He changed the order of the results for some students. Other studies have found the same thing: High school and college students may be “digital natives,” but they’re wretched at searching. Who’s to blame? Consider the efforts of Frances Harris, librarian at the magnet University Laboratory High School in Urbana, Illinois. But, crucially, she also trains students to assess the credibility of what they find online. “I see them start to get really paranoid,” Harris says. In other words, Google makes broad-based knowledge more important, not less.

How to Identify and Learn from Your Mistakes Until mankind realizes that by "Design" is made to "Fail" he will always have a problem realizing his or her mistakes. We are not all created equal?,some of us are Tall, short, fat, thin, smart and dumb! The NSA Is Building the Country's Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say) | Threat Level Photo: Name Withheld; Digital Manipulation: Jesse Lenz The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. Today Bluffdale is home to one of the nation’s largest sects of polygamists, the Apostolic United Brethren, with upwards of 9,000 members. But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Rather than Bibles, prophets, and worshippers, this temple will be filled with servers, computer intelligence experts, and armed guards. The NSA has become the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever. Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. Pages: 1 2345View All

The UN's New York climate summit is guilty of a major sin of omission | David Miliband | Environment On Tuesday, the UN headquarters in New York is hosting the largest gathering of world leaders ever to address climate change. It is an enormously important event, intended to catalyse action ahead of next year’s Paris conference – where leaders have pledged to reach a new global climate agreement, and a great credit to secretary general Ban Ki-moon and his team. But the summit is guilty of a major sin of omission: the ocean, over two-thirds of the planet, is completely absent from the programme. It is neither one of the eight “action areas” on which governments and other key players are invited to announce bold new commitments, nor one of the “thematic sessions” where states and stakeholders will share solutions. The Global Ocean Commission is dismayed that the ocean appears to have been relegated to the status of an afterthought, something to bring up occasionally in the context of other, apparently more essential, concerns.

How to learn to concentrate | Brainframe I wish I had a pound for every parent who said “If only he would just learn to concentrate.” It’s a comment that appears frequently and seems to be at the root of all learning. The fact that “my child can’t concentrate” is blamed for all the problems. There have been studies involving diet, exercise and a number of other factors. For most of us the major cause of lack of concentration can boil down to environment and expectation. It seems obvious to turn off the TV in order to aid concentration. There are few jobs that require absolute concentration. How can we then expect our children to concentrate? I’m not suggesting that every subject is contained in 10 minute blocks but the ability to concentrate is learned over a period of time. Sometimes it seems that “thoroughness” has been overtaken by “learning objectives.” That confidence leads to increased concentration. Small steps each day can lead to giant leaps. I’d much rather see a student who knows multiplication thoroughly.

The Four Paradoxes of Great Performance We each long for certainty – the security of simple answers. What, for example, are the specific qualities that make us more likely to be successful? Companies spend millions of dollars trying to define the key competencies for specific jobs. Researchers seek to pinpoint the qualities that distinguish top performers from everyone else. The more time I spend working with leaders at other companies, and leading a company of my own, the more convinced I’ve become that the paradoxical key to great performance – and leadership – is the capacity to embrace opposites.Stoic philosophers referred to this as the mutual entailment of the virtues. Honesty in the absence of compassion becomes cruelty. As Gregory Bateson put it: “There is always an optimal value beyond which anything is toxic, no matter what: oxygen, sleep, psychotherapy, philosophy.” Instead, operate best when we embrace our opposites in each of the four key dimensions of our lives: 1. Consider something as simple as breathing. 2. 3.

untitled Tuesday, Sep 22, 2009 James, Going through some old gear last month, I found my food supply lists and notes from 1976-79. I thought the old list might be of interest and the lessons I learned during the first three years in the remote Alaska bush may be helpful to a few of your readers. I do not recommend Alaska for a TEOTWAWKI retreat but the lessons I learned the hard way may be helpful to any one in a cold climate. I grew up in California listing to stories from my grandfather about Alaska and the Yukon. When I got to Alaska I met my Grandfather’s old trapping partner. My first winter was a disaster. Before this the longest I had been in the wilderness was a 23 day Outward Bound survival class that I attended the year before and I had never spent a winter in a cold environment. To get to the trapping cabin it was at least a two week walk from the end of closest dirt road or a 1:20 hour flight in a bush plane. First lesson learned! The first winter at the cabin. Third Lesson! Lesson #9!