April 17, 2014
A Likely ExplanationFor weeks, our busy world has been diverted by the mystery of a missing airliner that simply disappeared. After repeated high tech evaluations of its known course and probable location traced it to a remote area of the Indian Ocean, the search went cold. I was reminded of an entry provoked by the two unfamiliar terms gyer and nurdle back in November 2007.
Sharp eyed readers may note that the link to activist Charles Moore is more recent than 2007. It was updated when the original link was found to be dead. The bonus is that the 2009 reference contains a lot more info on how gyers are produced. Unfortunately,it also confirms the continued lack of environmental concern.
The discovery of a "great Pacific garbage patch" of plastic detritus should have been an item oƒ immediate concern for the world media, but it's been largely overlooked. I was reminded of that seven year old gyer-nurdle entry a while back when film clips of shredded fish net suspended in the water began to accompany TV news reports of the Maylasia 720's puzzling disappearance.
Sure enough, an online query confirmed my 3 worst fears: first, that the floating plastic garbage in our oceans has been increasing since 2007, second that it's probably interfering with the search for Maylaysia 720, and third, that we have no coherent plans for dealing with the increasing pollution of our planet's oceans.
It isn't only nuclear waste that's "out of sight and out of mind."
April 06, 2014
Unwitting Suicide by PolicyBased on even rudimentary analysis of its 43 year history, America’s "war on drugs," which skated on non-existent intellectual and scientific ice from its very beginning has compiled an amazing record of failure: our steadily expanding prison population and the enormous cost of the "drug crime" it creates, not to mention the human and social damage it does to designated "addicts" and their families. Our drug policy is long overdue for an unbiased critical analysis.
However honest scrutiny of the drug war will be impossible until the lobbying power of the many US and foreign government agencies that have come to depend on it has been neutralized sufficiently to permit it.
Dwight Eisenhower's warning about the growing power of the "Military Industrial Complex" was too late to prevent a "Cold War," but was justified because the mutual hostility between Communism and ourselves was real, as indicated by the Soviet deployment of missiles in Cuba. Kennedy's impromptu negotiations with Krushchev clearly avoided a nuclear exchange in 1962. That the danger is still there is implicit in Putin's posturing in the Crimea and the Ukraine. Thankfully, the planet has been spared a third hostile nuclear detonation.
On the other hand, the fear of "addiction" hyped by the Nixon Administration in the late Sixties to justify the legislation that became a "war on drugs" was imaginary. Its cynical continuation in support of a destructive policy is more indicative of our human gullibility and the willingness of our political leaders to exploit fear to their advantage no matter what human or environmental damage may result; tendencies exemplified by Hitler and his modern imitators from Stalin to Saddam, also confirmed throughout human history. One way or another, slavery has been justified ever since since Aristotle.
In fact, if one were trying to create an almost foolproof method for inducing the unwitting suicide of Homo sapiens as a species, America's drug war would be an excellent model.
Needless to say, this analysis isn't likely to become popular overnight. However, the slowly increasing popularity of marijuana in the US and elsewhere is reason to hope that our slide into the insanity of drug prohibition may be reversible in time to preserve our planet for a more "natural" disaster– another Yellowstone eruption, for example.