“None of the Above” Ballot Idea


Proposes “None of the Above” Be Added to Ballot

Thirty Percent of the Votes Would Trigger New Election



Excellent idea.  from Jack McDevitt’s The Long Sunset


James White’s Sector General series

James White’s Sector General series should be required reading for ANYONE assigned to first contact missions.  Note in the first paragraph below (from Alien Emergencies), the inclusion of specialists in communications, philosophy, and psychology.  Note the exclusion of specialists in any of the hard sciences.  And the military.  (Note also, the more effective way.)

“The Cultural contact people were the elite of the Monitor Corps, a small group of specialists in e-t communications, philosophy and psychology. Although small, the group was not, regrettably, overworked …

“… During the past twenty years,” O’Mara went on, “they have initiated First Contact procedure on three occasions, all of which resulted in the species concerned joining the Federation.  I will not bore you with the details of the number of survey operations mounted and the ships, personnel and materiel involved, or shock you with the cost of it all.  I mention the Cultural Contact group’s three successes simply to make the point that within the same time period this hospital became fully operational and also initiated First contacts, which resulted in seven new species joining the Federation.  This was accomplished not by a slow, patient buildup and widening of communications until the exchange of complex philosophical and sociological concepts became possible, but by giving medical assistance to a sick alien.”

I can’t recommend White’s work enough.  Finally, an intelligent approach to alien life.  (Because yes, pretty much every novel I’ve read, and every movie I’ve seen, to date, has been embarrassing for its UNintelligent approach to alien.  Why haven’t we discovered intelligent life out there?  Because we’re too stupid to visit.)


Everything turned into entertainment

“Look at the world around you, David.  What do you see?  An endless theme part, with everything turned into entertainment.  Science, politics, education–they’re so many fairground rides.  Sadly, people are happy to buy their tickets and climb aboard.”  The Millennium People, J. G. Ballard



Read mention in a Lionel Shriver novel (The Motion of the Body through Space) about “white readers [the main, white, character read for audiobooks] pretending to talk like [members of] marginalized communities is ‘mimicry’ and … cultural appropriation” (p31).

But I can’t help thinking that if she were not to use an accent other than her own for those characters (members of marginalized communities), she’d be accused of ignoring said members’ reality, denying/ignoring the way they speak, accused of colonializing, homogenizing …


The Sexual Politics of Meat – Carol J. Adams

Highly recommended.  The title says it all.

Among a whole lot of ‘worth mentioning’ bits, I’ll mention the reference to Irving Fisher’s study (p.43) involving meat-eating athletes, vegetarian athletes, and vegetarian non-athletes. Vegetarians, whether athletes or not, had the greatest endurance (as measured by three strength tests). “Even the maximum record of the flesh-eaters was barely more than have the average for the flesh-abstainers.”

And the book got me thinking again about why men suddenly do the cooking when it involves a barbecue. I’d thought simply it was because one barbecues outdoors: women=indoors; men=outdoors. But now, I’m seeing too it’s fire. Danger! And, of course, meat. Status. A perfect trinity.


Invisible Women, Caroline Criado Perez

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men is a must-read.

(And although she soft-pedals this, surely the persistent failure to consider women is evidence of what they think of us: we’re unimportant, we’re not worth consideration. Or perhaps it’s simply evidence of their persistent failure to consider anyone but themselves. Either way …)


The No. 1 Cause of Climate Change the Media Don’t Mention

The No. 1 Cause of Climate Change the Media Don’t Mention

another great piece by Lee Camp here.


from We are the Weather, Jonathan Safran Foer

Reason to stop eating meat (well, would’ve been that back in the 70s … now, well, it’s reason to accept the blame, to feel the guilt for our demise … ):

“Globally, humans use 59 percent of all the land capable of growing crops to grow food for livestock.” (p79)

“One-third of all the fresh water that humans use goes to livestock, while only about one-thirtieth is used in homes.” (p79)

“Seventy percent of the antibiotics produced globally are used for livestock, weakening the effectiveness of antibiotics to treat human diseases.” (p79)

“Trees are 50 percent carbon.  Like coal, they release their stores of CO2 when burned.” (p92)

“Forests contain more carbon than do all exploitable fossil-fuel reserves.” (p92)

“The cutting and burning of forests is responsible for at least 15 percent of global GHGs per year.  According to Scientific American, ‘By most accounts, deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads.'” (p92) 

“About 80 percent of deforestation occurs to clear land for corps for livestock and grazing.” (p92)

“in 2018, Brazil elected Jair Bolsonaro as president.” (p93)

“Bolsonaro campaigned on a plan to develop previously protected swaths of the Amazon (i.e., deforestation).”  (p93)

“It has been estimated that Bolsonaro’s policy would release 13.2 gigatons of carbon—more than two times the annual emissions o the entire United States.” (p.93)

“Animal agriculture is responsible for 91 percent of Amazonian deforestation.” (p93) 



Another interesting bit: 

“Every day, 360,000 people—roughly equal to the population of Florence, Italy—are born.”




And another:

“Just one hundred companies are responsible for 71 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.” (p150)





Our gods

from https://deadwildroses.com/2021/01/03/the-dwr-sunday-religious-disservice-half-a-chromosome/



Trump’s Military Drops a Bomb Every 12 Minutes, and No One Is Talking About It

Trump’s Military Drops a Bomb Every 12 Minutes, and No One Is Talking About It

by Lee Camp – read the whole article here.