A Puff of Absurdity: Moving Your Money

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead (maybe) Here’s a little video by comedian Sarah Silverman that suggests you can do your part to oppose Trump’s gains in the DAPL mess by, in part, switching to a ...

A Puff of Absurdity: What Happens in the Arctic, Doesn’t Stay in the Arctic

There are more and more signs of climate change about to pull a number on us, but we still won’t listen. We’ve got ammonia in our atmosphere and a spike in methane concentrations: “CO2 is still the dominant target for mitigation, for good reason. But we run the risk if we lose sight of methane offsetting ...

A Puff of Absurdity: What Happens in the Arctic, Doesn’t Stay in the Arctic

There are more and more signs of climate change about to pull a number on us, but we still won’t listen. We’ve got ammonia in our atmosphere and a spike in methane concentrations: “CO2 is still the dominant target for mitigation, for good reason. But we run the risk if we lose sight of methane offsetting ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Is This the Sixth Estate?

The “Fourth Estate” is an antiquated term for unofficial social and political forces, primarily the media. Use of the term recognized, over two centuries ago, that the media affect social change. But once that became clear, it became a tool of the establishment. The church, politicians, and corporations started using the media to sway the ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Before the Flood

First of all, I love that this Leo DiCaprio film, directed by Fisher Stevens, is free to watch everywhere on the National Geographic Channel. (Or was free – I’m not sure how long it will last. I can’t seem to embed the film at all.) Without ads, it’s 90 minutes, jampacked with information. The pacing ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Idiocracy

Lorne’s post on Harrelson’s naive solution to world problems (from Ethos, but he said it in Go Further years earlier too), in which he suggests we should just stop buying bad stuff and companies will change, works in tandem with this quote making the rounds: We do need to change our buying habits and show ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Idiocracy

Lorne’s post on Harrelson’s naive solution to world problems (from Ethos, but he said it in Go Further years earlier too), in which he suggests we should just stop buying bad stuff and companies will change, works in tandem with this quote making the rounds: We do need to change our buying habits and show ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On That Time I Fell and Hurt My Head

I fell on ice a few days ago. My feet were swept clear out from under me, and apparently I injured my brain. At the hospital, they said it’s either a migraine or a concussion, and since I don’t have a history of migraines, and since I wiped out earlier that day, it’s probably a ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Measuring Well

In Plato’s Protagoras, Socrates and Protagoras argue over the language Protagoras uses to explain what happens when, as he describes it, pleasure overtakes reason and people make horrible choices.  Socrates insists that it’s not pleasure that overtakes reason, but ignorance.  Here’s some key bits of the passage: They maintain that there are many who recognize ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Cassandra’s Curse

Climate scientists are reporting higher incidents of depression.  It could be from living like the mythological Cassandra, who had the gift of prophecy but was cursed by Apollo for refusing his advances.  Her curse was never being believed or listened to. Imagine studying one topic for decades, figuring out the problems and solutions, and being ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Helping People Get Outraged

John Oliver’s show about surveillance is a must see: Amazing, right!?! But what sticks with me most, as a teacher and an environmentalist, is this line:  “Is this a conversation we [American citizens] have a capacity to have?” Bingo. When intelligent people speak passionately about what they think is most important for the world to ...

A Puff of Absurdity: This Changes Nothing

The US Senate voted that climate change is real, and many of my Facebook friends are celebrating.  But I don’t think they actually read beyond the headlines on this one.  “Finally!”  “This is great!” and “Today’s a great day!”  are inappropriate responses to this vote. The vote was specifically on whether or not climate change ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Diamond’s Collapse

A while back, Mound suggested I read Collapse by Jared Diamond, and I finally got to it. It’s a fascinating read particularly for anyone interested in ancient civilizations. Diamond explores what caused the destruction of various civilizations over the past couple millennia. What interested me, of course, is his final few chapters that clarify what ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Driving Into a Wall

Have you seen Inside Job? It’s a great film about the ins and outs of the mortgage crisis all in layman’s terms so even I could get my head around it all. The interesting thing about it to me is the film footage and books and articles that show the number of people who predicted ...

A Puff of Absurdity: A Little Hope is Effective…

A lot of hope is dangerous. – President Snow This may be a little hokey, but I think Catching Fire is an important film to see right now. And it’s awesome! I read the books ages ago, but even though I know how they each end, it didn’t stop me from being on the edge ...

A Puff of Absurdity: It Doesn’t Matter

It doesn’t matter why they’re dressed as a tiger, have they got my leg? Just one more thing about educational reform.  Well, for the weekend at least.  It relates to the video above because we’ve spent years talking about why we need to make these changes, why these new ideas make up the best way ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Celebrating Talent

Convalescing from a wicked cold that’s beating the crap out of me, I watched a trio of movies about amazing musicians: Joe Strummer, Ginger Baker, and Sixto Rodriguez.  In the films, other musical geniuses were highlighted along the way.  What a delight!  But as Ginger, Jack and Eric talked about people with the gift of ...

A Puff of Absurdity: The Benevolent Dictator isn’t a Fascist

In a post a while back I advocate the best of our worst options for saving our species:  a government that forces us be less wasteful.  It’s an idea that James Lovelock proposed, and some called it fascist. But there’s a world of difference between enforcing legislation that actually protects the citizens in the long ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Hedges’ Empire of Illusion

“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”  – James Baldwin  Thus begins Chris Hedges‘ Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, a collection ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Smoking

I took the kids to the beach on Sunday, and there’s new signage everywhere about the problems with using the sand as an ashtray.  In hopes for a “butt-free beach,” they included information on wildlife concerns, toxins, costs to taxpayers, and the level of pollution:  cigarette butts are the most common type of litter found ...