Blog 44. Big consequences of singular events.

As suggested in the previous two blogs, the magnitude of a social calamity (or good fortune) that arises from a single event depends on how we react to the event,  more than on the event itself.  Now really, do I assert that the outcome of hurricane Sandy depended on our reactions more than the blast of wind and deluge of water? Continue reading

Blog 31. Book review: Little Black Lies

In 2012, a little—almost pocket-size—book appeared, entitled “Little Black Lies,” by Jeff Gailus, published in Canada by Rocky Mountain Books with support from several Canadian arts-related associations. Jeff Gailus is a writer, based in Missoula Montana, self-described as one “who has been writing about the collision of science, nature and politics for 15 years.”  The book appears to be a diatribe against the manipulation of law and social rules by the industrial organizations behind development of the Athabasca tar sands in Alberta, the source of whatever might flow across the US through the politically famous (or infamous) Keystone pipeline.  Continue reading

Blog 6. The RCRA exemption, an emergent phenomenon?

 The RCRA exemption: an example.

RCRA (reckra) exemption? Sounds like the Shawshank Redemption. But this is no movie. It’s a story with few evil villains and handsome heroes, but plenty of villainy and heroic struggle. It’s an illustration of how a self-destructive behavior emerges in our supposedly-free society. Continue reading

Blog 5. Fracking

What’s fracking?

With the expansion of drilling for natural gas in New York through Ohio, the Dakotas, Wyoming, and the southwest, the term “fracking” (or fracing) appears repeatedly—but incompletely—in the news. Fracking means hydraulic fracturing of an oil or natural gas well, but it seems the news media is fractured, delivering incomplete stories. Continue reading