Thursday, April 23, 2009

Interview with Professor Andrew Bacevich (author of "The Limits of Power")

In today's sea of media fed mucho blah blah
sober, truly insightful, accomplished voices are hard to come by.

Andrew Bacevich is such a voice.

I came across the following interview recently and feel it belongs among my collection of educational links.

So far, I've only read his Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (2008) ~~ the man makes more sense than any politician I've heard lately. This interview is a good introduction to that book.

Other books by Bacevich:
American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of US Diplomacy (2002),
The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War (2005)


The Bill Moyers Journal
interview with Andrew J. Bacevich
August 15, 2008

"Is an imperial presidency destroying what America stands for? Bill Moyers sits down with history and international relations expert and former US Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich who identifies three major problems facing our democracy: the crises of economy, government and militarism, and calls for a redefinition of the American way of life."

part one

part two


Bacevich is the author of "The Limits of Power"
For a text of the full introduction ~ click

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Awesome Website Links

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Awesome Website
~~~ with links ~~~

... but first a digression ...

Faith-based thinking demands that we accept some groups
subjective interpretation of reality, creation, humanity and god.
Faith-based thinking demands that we focus upon their one-percent
to the exclusion of the rest of the story.

For all the truth faith-based systems may possess,
they can never contain all the truth.

No mortal can "know" god, or our universe, with certainty!

But, we can learn and understand aspects of it ~ if we want.

Every member of humanity ought to learn about our Earth and its life sustaining biosphere. There are many excellent websites put together by honest sincere and educated people, backed up by the research of untold others and tens of thousands of valid instruments along with their publicly available data.

Here is an awesome example of what is available for those who seek.


The following is basically a cut and paste from NOAA’s office of oceanic and atmospheric research / education web site, along with their links.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Education resources
General Information

* Science with NOAA Research online resources --provides research and investigation experiences for middle school science students and teachers.
* NOAA 200th Anniversary Web Site -- provides an in-depth history of NOAA's first 200 years of research on tornadoes and hurricanes, climate and climate change, and coastal ecosystems
* NOAA Education Resources -- provides access to educational activities, publications, and booklets
* NOAA's Educational Opportunities for Students -- opportunities for students pursuing educational interests or considering careers in NOAA areas of expertise.
* NOAA Photo Library -- collection contains albums and catalogs with over 20,000 images.
* NOAA Research Spotlight and Spotlight Archives -- contain short feature articles on diverse scientific projects and collaborations within the organization
* WINDandSEA -- The Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences Internet Locator provides links to science, policy and educational sites, includeing a Teachers and Students Corner
* Science on the Web -- Web Activities Using Scientific Data
* GLOBE Program -- Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment


Climate Information

* Questions and Answers About Antarctica -- This Q and A was developed in response to an email from a teacher at a school for children with learning disabilities who were studying Antarctica.
* El Niño Theme Page -- provides access to realtime data and discussions about El Niño, including FAQs (PMEL)
* Arctic Theme Page -- provides access to Arctic data and information for scientists, students, teachers and the general public.
* Global climate change -- provides educational graphics on global climate change and the greenhouse effect (ESRL)
* NOAA Bering Sea Climate and Ecosystem website -- looks at future evolution of the Bering Sea climate/ecosystem
* "Climate Change: What We Know and What We Don't Know" -- Presentation on climate change research (AL)
* Causes of climate change and effects of carbon dioxide on the environment -- information from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program at the U.S. Department of Energy
* The Climate Change Collection -- a suite of science education web-based resources covering natural climate dynamics as well as human impacts on the climate system.

Physical processes contribute to climate change

Climate researchers agree there is much that we know but many things we don't know about the causes of climate change.

Ocean and Great Lakes Information

* Teacher at Sea Program -- teacher participation in research projects on board ship with interactive learning experiences for their classrooms; Teacher at Sea videos (CPO)
* An educator's Guide to International Year of the Ocean pdf -- provides ways to involve students in the study of the ocean (NOAA)
* Special Sites for Kids -- reference list of links for K-12 (PMEL)
* Jason Project -- a year-long scientific expedition with supplemental science and geography curriculum
* Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean theme page (PMEL)
* NOAA Ship Ka'imimoana at sea (PMEL)
* NEMO, the New Milennium Observatory -- studies the dynamic interactions between submarine volcanic activity and seafloor hotsprings (PMEL)
* Aquarius -- an underwater ocean laboratory used to study and explore our coastal ocean through saturation diving (NURP)
* "Biscayne Bubbles" -- provides educational information about biological, chemical, and physical characteristics of the fragile coastal ecosystem near Key Biscayne (AOML)
* About Our Great Lakes -- information for students, parents, and teachers interested in learning more about our Great Lakes (GLERL).
* Aquaculture Information Center -- K-12 selected educational resources from DOC/NOAA
* National Data Buoy Center -- Science Education Pages
* Interactive Climate Analysis and Data Plotting

Weather and Air Quality Information

* Weather -- general educational information from NOAA
* VORTEX: Unraveling the Secrets -- tornado intercept project timeline and storybook (NSSL)
* Weather Education -- general information for kids, parents and teachers and coloring books for young children (NSSL)
* Teacher Resources for Weather and Climate -- instructional resources (NSSL)
* Weather Education -- from the National Weather Service
* Jet Stream -- an online weather school from the NWS
* Classroom Activities -- posters for elementary, middle and high school students (ESRL)
* Red Sky in the Morning -- the truth behind the folk wisdom (ARL)
* Hurricane Education -- multimedia (CPO)


an 18 minute overview of NOAA Research
see the text of Dynamic Science


Part 1: Introduction (2:16)
Part 2: Weather and Forecasting (4:23)
Part 3: Climate (4:16)
Part 4: Air Quality (1:02)
Part 5: Oceans and Coasts (6:14)

Great reference for USA's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) information

Another very impressive knowledge/resource website available to anyone who wants to better comprehend our Earth, its intricacy, and society's future challenges regarding our biosphere is the US Department of Interior’s ~ Mineral & Management Service website.

One section of this multifaceted site focuses on four regional public meetings this April.
OCS Hearings and Report
hosted by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in order to discuss the future of offshore energy development on the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) with the public. The satellite images/maps illustrating various natural resource distribution alone make it worth looking at.
Quoting from the introduction:
"The purpose of these meetings is to have an open, honest conversation with the American people to solicit the best information possible about an offshore energy plan,"


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

a poetic parable regarding USA's attitude

In the spirit of NPR’s “Can Poetry save the Earth” here is a poetic parable.


It’s about an old alpha dog named Usap.
The one who scored a juicy bone.

So, Usap was proudly crossing the bridge,
when he noticed another dog gripping a beautiful meaty juicy bone.

Usap’s visceral reaction was:
"wait a minute!" Shouldn’t I have that bone?
I am the alpha here, it’s only proper.

So, Usap got his hackles up and snarled,
only to be met with viscous glares and threatening growls
coming from Other, the other dog.

This went on for a spell,
all the while
self-righteous anger
at the lack of respect being afforded Usap
was heating up like a kettle over a high flame.

With every succeeding growl Usap knew
that he would have to take action
~ if only for the sake of making the world right again.

Usap timed his action carefully,
then, he released a stupendous bark
& open mouthed thrust against Other.

Only to be shocked at watching his own juicy trophy bone
disappear into the depths of the flowing river of time.

Poor Usap, if only he had considered the facts
of the real world around him,
there could have been a different outcome.


The Importance of Safe Source Waters vs. VWC

Here is another essay/letter to the editor regarding the short sighted foolishness of wanting to tear up Albert Park,
on the lee side of Wolf Creek Pass (the Great Divide) Colorado.
for a speculative luxury vacation village in these serious times.


Dear Durango Herald Editor,
(4-9-9)Thursday’s article by AP’s S.M.Holmes: “Wetlands face threats, but have backers” is worth cutting out and rereading. It quotes an aquatic habitat specialist from New Mexico, Jill Wick: “...Wetlands also recharge groundwater and act as nature’s filter, removing such pollutants as sediment, pesticides heavy metals, even disease-causing bacteria....”

Wick goes on: “A healthy and functioning watershed will increase water quality, reduce the threat of flooding, increase the amount of available water, provide fish and wildlife habitat... increase the quality of living...”

For everyone that appreciates our biosphere these are self evident truths. Unfortunately, for a whole bunch of others, especially our politically right wing friends, they still don’t see it. They cling to the Reaganomics mindset. This in the face of overwhelming evidence of its profoundly destructive effect upon this shrinking planet, and its life supporting biosphere.

For instance, just on the other side of Wolf Creek Pass we have an epic drama of a steadfastly Reaganomics corporate entity clashing with today’s real world need for secure, clean, and abundant water.

The dream of a luxury vacation Village (with all its infrastructure) destroying the pristine Alberta Park is alive and well. Even though Alberta Park is an integral part of the Rio Grande River’s “source-waters” and LMJC’s ‘Plan A’ being soundly killed and buried last year. The Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture have brushed themselves off and are promising a new proposal in short order. I don’t have space for details. For more info visit or

Seems to me today’s challenge is how to transition from a resource gobbling society to a sustainability focused community. Nothing will be easy about it, but reality won’t be leaving us and our kids any other choice. Chasing dreams of mega consumption belongs on the trash heap of history. Pipedreams like the one pushing the “Village at Wolf Creek” need to be countered with a scientific and rational appreciation for why we need to just leave it alone. Can you help?