Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category



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Economist 7/9/11 Jon Berkeley / Corbis

Looking up one thing on the internet typically results in having a dozen tabs open across a wide range of topics.  I meant to find out a piece of information, instead I have wildly unrelated topics clamoring for action.  With the tone our generation has been taught to write in, each topic has an attacking sense of Urgency.    So I guess that’s what surfing is.   Today’s topics:

ProPublica is an investigative news center, supported by philanthropy, concentrating on collecting facts about the powerful oppressing the weak.

Leo at ZenHabits says this stuff:  “I’m always happy with what I’m doing, because I don’t compare it to anything else, and instead pay close attention to the activity itself…. Life will suck if you are always wishing you’re doing something else.

I was wondering what percentage of words start with consonants and what with vowels?  The answer is 27% vowels and 73% consonants.  I retrieved Chapter 27 of Huck Finn and today’s page of top tweets.  Both informal speech patterns, so perhaps a medical reference document would read diff’rnt’ly.  This alphabetize text tool made it work, along with wordcount, made it possible for even me who cannot write a script.

hucktweet data

Wordinsouciant :  Without worry.    Many people thinking about the U.S. debt and deficit are the opposite of insouciant.

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foreal boreal

So what is the point of me covering anything?  I am not a journalist, scientist, or even a poignant vague reflect-uponer.  I rarely have a point, or if I do I cannot get to it.  This stuff happened though:

Our planet became covered in plant life and started breathing.  That plants eat carbon dioxide and release oxygen is fairly convenient to humanity.  This map of forests was in the Sept 25 Economist, where a concentration of this breathing takes place, integral to the weather of our entire rainfall-dependent society.

The world's forests, from Food and Ag Org of UN

In the Middle Ages Europe took big chunk of its forests, while China began the same millennia ago.  America used half of its in the 1800s.  If South America continued at its recent pace, the effect could be drought.  Perhaps it is too late already, with a cited 18% of rainforest cleared, and just a little bit more spelling big trouble.

I looked up boreal, temperate, and tropical forest.  Since sixth grade I have not thought too much about the differing types.  Boreal means north, and from eastern influence we call it Taiga too.  Temperate is from moderate or mixture, and has been applied to climates since 1400s.  Tropical are the forests around the equator.

Fascinating that water from the leaves of an Amazonian tree falls on the crops of Indiana, and destroying one can destroy the other.

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Nice email Mr President,

I still like you, even though there seem to be lots of reason I should not like you.  Credit to the people of the armed forces.  Good summary and reason of last decade.  Now move forward.

I missed the speech on tv, I was playing tennis.  Should I watch it or does it say the same thing as your email?  I know that most emails are from staffers and probably some you have not read even once.  But this one seems important.  Did you write it?  I’ll go with yes.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Barack Obama <info@barackobama.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 10:11 PM
Subject: Iraq
To: Jotham

Jotham –Tonight marks the end of the American combat mission in Iraq. 

As a candidate for this office, I pledged to end this war responsibly. And, as President, that is what I am doing.

Since I became Commander-in-Chief, we’ve brought home nearly 100,000 U.S. troops. We’ve closed or turned over to Iraq hundreds of our bases.

As Operation Iraqi Freedom ends, our commitment to a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq continues. Under Operation New Dawn, a transitional force of U.S. troops will remain to advise and assist Iraqi forces, protect our civilians on the ground, and pursue targeted counterterrorism efforts.

By the end of next year, consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, these men and women, too, will come home.

Ending this war is not only in Iraq’s interest — it is in our own. Our nation has paid a huge price to put Iraq’s future in the hands of its people. We have sent our men and women in uniform to make enormous sacrifices. We have spent vast resources abroad in the face of several years of recession at home.

We have met our responsibility through the courage and resolve of our women and men in uniform.

In seven years, they confronted a mission as challenging and as complex as any our military has ever been asked to face.

Nearly 1.5 million Americans put their lives on the line. Many returned for multiple tours of duty, far from their loved ones who bore a heroic burden of their own. And most painfully, more than 4,400 Americans have given their lives, fighting for people they never knew, for values that have defined our people for more than two centuries.

What their country asked of them was not small. And what they sacrificed was not easy.

For that, each and every American owes them our heartfelt thanks.

Our promise to them — to each woman or man who has donned our colors — is that our country will serve them as faithfully as they have served us. We have already made the largest increase in funding for veterans in decades. So long as I am President, I will do whatever it takes to fulfill that sacred trust.

Tonight, we mark a milestone in our nation’s history. Even at a time of great uncertainty for so many Americans, this day and our brave troops remind us that our future is in our own hands and that our best days lie ahead.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama


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I cannot type nor probably think fast enough to understand global gianormaissues, but Economist’s Marching through Red Square presents an aspect of Russia that I do not as often seen portrayed.  In part due to its size and economic power is a force in global trade, and as they will fare better by participating, the country is apparently getting along with the West better than before.  Referring to America’s “trustworthiness”, they cater also to make EU nations their allies.  Germany states Russia must improve with Poland, and Russia is willing to even if for no better reason than the discovery of shale gas in Poland.  They write, “In the contest between gas interests and Stalin, Stalin loses“.  But what if Gazprom doesn’t secure the long-term rights to the shale gas, will Putin revoke the kind of care he showed in Gdansk, honoring the victims of a Stalin massacre?

the gloves are on

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Poet disaster

Word looked up today is: poetaster. Meaning a terrible poet, a writer of no good verse. For example,

My writing is weak, my songs a disaster.
As she walked out the door, she spat “poetaster”.

Its use today was in an Economist article about a newly discovered humanlike species, the first species to be identified only by DNA (no bone fragments), high in the mountains of Siberia. They said the mythical “man in the mountain” was no longer reserved for crazy Bigfoot hunters and poetaters.

In other wordiness… Read a Mark Twain short story last night called A Dog’s Tale. Man that guy was a genius. Just so simple, so like the natural style of conversation or one’s internal monologue. There is plenty about words in A Dog’s Tale, as the dog’s mother was a good listener in the drawing room, memorizing big words humans used and passing herself off as the only educated dog. The canine narrator says, in Twain’s witty style, that she didn’t know much about heroism, only that it meant agriculture.

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nola represents

The Economist had an article titled “Back in the game” about New Orleans winning the Super Bowl (2-13-10 issue).  Being from Indianapolis, I was rooting entirely in the opposite direction, though particularly in light of the regional aspect everyone is taking, I can appreciate this being good for the city and whole area.  Essentially the article is about our post-racial world.  New Orleans has “historically voted along racial lines”, although the new white mayor had received 63% of the black vote and 70% of whites.  “Just over a year earlier, of course, Americans had elected a black president, a result that clearly shook up old patterns.”  Glad to see further evidence of what our generation inherently believed anyway, that if you were born a decade after MLKJr’s speech, you take it as an obvious given that color means no difference, and can’t we move beyond having fear of a fight for even discussing the topic.  Political markers indicate on a public scale that we are post-racial… choose to live that way individually, work together with the people around you to better our community group regardless of their physical description.

super bowl and racial harmony

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