• we watched [2013-09-24] the final episode of ‘the story of maths–to infinity and beyond’ with marcus de sautoy (pictured). what caught me is that some of the great mathematicians of the 20th and 21st centuries danced with madness. gödel, for example. or became recluses, even largely stopped doing mathematics, like grothendieck. although i am not a mathematician nor a genius, might i go mad or become recluse, too? we noted that famous mathematicians, like rock stars, are mostly men.
• tonight [2013-09-25] we watched first attenborough’s ark,(see above for some of the animals on the ark) then in the family (pictured–about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer) and finally the secret life of primates–orangutans
Referring to a 1977 failed private member’s bill concerning the use of Canada Council money to support certain poets who use four-letter words (pictured is one such poet, bill bisset), Don Precosky writes that ‘it does raise a matter of deepest concern for those who care about the arts. Are aesthetic principles a matter for legislation? Can Parliament debate and rule on what is or what is not art? In matters of the arts is an MP’s opinion superior to that of an expert in the field serving on a Canada Council jury?’ [More bissett stuff….]
• today [2013-09-26] sue worked and harvested cucumbers, basil, and cherry tomatoes in the community gardens, made pesto with the basil and with garlic from d’arcy’s garden, and used the other vegetables along with roma tomatoes from d’arcy’s garden in a wonderful pasta supper. afterwards, we watched the beaver whisperers on the nature of things. the director, jari osborne, writes that ‘a compelling and provocative argument could be made that beavers are the custodians of the world’s water resources–nothing less than ecological superheroes.’
In Drill, Comrade, Drill, Vladmir Chuprov, head of energy programs for Greenpeace-Russia says, ‘We hope the Russian people will understand who’s right in this story [CBC, Greenpeace]…. The dependence on oil and gas contradicts the longterm national interests of Russia. Investing so much into Arctic oil and gas exploitation is like pouring kerosene onto the fire.’ But Viktor Boyarsky, an Arctic explorer and director of the State Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic in St. Petersburg, says he favors rational, long-term Arctic economic development, such as Putin outlined, and thinks Russian border guards acted correctly in arresting the Greenpeace activists. ‘The Arctic does not tolerate heroism. This was just a PR stunt (by Greenpeace), and they have to be punished.’
Today [2013-09-27] is GNU’s 30th birthday. What is GNU? Let Stephen Fry explain.
David Suzuki observes that the upcoming UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s Fifth Assessment Report already has been attacked. The report has four parts, each handled by a Working Group [WG]—here is a timeline:
- WG I: The Physical Science Basis – Summary for Policymakers, published 27 September
- WG II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability – mid March 2014
- WG III: Mitigation of Climate Change – early April 2014
- Synthesis Report – October 2014
Suzuki writes that ‘attacks cover five stages of climate denial:
- deny the problem exists
- deny we’re the cause
- deny it’s a problem
- deny we can solve it
- claim it’s too late to do anything.’
I fully, undeniably accept the first three as a matter of science, whereas finding solutions such as renewable energy is a matter of social justice. (It is also an economic and environmental matter–all three make the ‘triple bottom line’.) An article in the Guardian explains that critics attack ‘renewable energy like wind power (pictured) as being too expensive. In reality, wind power is already cheaper than coal, even without considering the added climate damage costs from coal carbon emissions. When including those very real costs, solar power is also already cheaper than coal. (Pictured is Kiribati, a low-lying Pacific Ocean state, one of the first to be disastrously affected by rising sea levels.) Additionally, the poorest countries are generally the most vulnerable to climate change. Listening to Spencer [a critic] and continuing to cause rapid climate change is what will really hurt the poor.’ (Pictured is New York, a low-lying Atlantic Ocean city, one of the first to be disastrously affected by rising sea levels.) Nor is it too late, though ‘if we wait too long to address the problem, we may end up committing ourselves to catastrophic climate change. The good news is that we still have time to avoid a catastrophic outcome. The more emissions reductions we can achieve, the less the impacts of climate change will be.’ However, the summary report (see above) makes it clear that human-caused effects will be with us for years to come. But that’s no reason to stand on the sidelines. There are no sidelines.
• we had coffees at grounded coffee (pictured–we sat at the table to the lower left of the probat coffee roaster–2013-09-28), talked with jm about human population and then sc about paddleboard racing in rough weather, and harvested chard and tomatoes at the gardens.
Yosul Lateef plays jazz oboe (he also plays the flute, tenor sax, bassoon, and many more), then of The Cannonball Adderley Sextet.
Only So Much Oil In The Ground by Tower Of Power (pictured is their horn section in 2013). Here’s the PB Underground version. Great title, great groove.
What does Harry Manx with friends sound like? Like this.