Casaubon's Book

Archives for March, 2011

On some level, all disasters are agricultural disasters. When seawater washes over land, when the earth cracks and collapses buildings, when livelihoods and lives are lost, farmers die and lose their jobs. It is easy to forget this, of course, but it is always true – and there’s something immensely sad about people loving a…

Spring Cleaning Time!

Posting will be intermittent and light this week. It is time for spring cleaning around here – pretty much a full time job. Not only is there Pesach coming to motivate me, and my next home visit in the foster/adoptive parent prep cycle, but also there’s the fact that our weirdly cold spring is supposed…

There’s a very silly article in the New York Times about controversy over hybrids vs. heirlooms. Yes, this is a real debate. No, it isn’t as stark or as stupid as the Times makes it. There are plenty of horticultural reasons heirlooms can grow glorious fruit. One is size. An heirloom tomato is often a…

From Alternet (actual Bill text at site), it turns out that House Republicans have a plan to prevent fighting for labor rights – hunger!: Maybe they’ve got firehoses too! And attack dogs, that would be good. Or maybe they could just shoot them – that’s an old favorite way to disrupt strikes! Much of the…

Life has been proceeding more or less apace, and it feels like a long time since I’ve sat down and contemplated anything, much less my Anyway Project goals. At the same time, all this business is a series of steps on the way to actually many of the things done. I hope that’s true of…

In the latest news from Fukushima, water in Tokyo has been deemed unfit for babies to consume because of high radiation levels. Not surprisingly, shortages of bottled water are emerging, as people buy up larger quantities. A top Japanese official urged residents of the nation’s capital not to hoard bottled water Wednesday after Tokyo’s government…

One of the things I’ve been arguing for years is that most people in the developed world, given a perceived lack of alternatives and no narrative to explain change and sacrifice, will do almost anything to keep their present way of life. I point out that if they become cold enough most people would shovel…

From the current issue of _American Educator_, fascinating research on Equality issues by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (PDF alert!) that shows that greater economic and social equality don’t make things better just for the bottom: It may seem obvious that problems associated with relative deprivation should be more common in more unequal societies. However,…

Fukushima Radiation Issues

From Time/CNN: The ongoing struggle to snuff out the nuclear crisis occurred amid mounting confusion about key elements of risk now in play. At a hearing in Washington on Wednesday, the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Gregory Jaczko, called the radiation levels at one of the plant’s units “extremely high.” He added…

It can be hard to sort out exactly what’s happening in Japan right now, or what the status of the nuclear situation is. Euan Mearns has done everyone a great service in pulling together a summary of known and unknown and credible, intelligent speculation, while clearly indicating which is which. It is well worth a…