Monthly Archives: April 2003

The End of the Oil Wars?

I think Nurse Ratched’s arithmetic is just fine:

This all adds up to more points in the “good for the ecology, good for the economy” column than in the “perpetuating the petrochemical oligarchy and making the world less safe for liberals” column to me, but maybe my arithmetic is off.

Head over there and read the Nurse’s take on thermal depolymerizaton. If this technology works as advertised it will massively change the economics of waste management while dramatically reducing the import (ance) of middle eastern oil.
Oh, and a few years down the road I can see one of these things in every garage. I suspect that it was something like this tool that the folks on Dune used to reclaim the water from the dead.

Why blog?

Jeanne D’Arc is worried that she might be burning out on blogging and worries that part of the reason may be that there is too little reasoned discourse and too much yelling:

The blogosphere’s beginning to seem more like a place for people to scream in each other’s faces than to learn from each other.

Yes, much writing in the blog world as in the traditional media world is polemic. I don’t think that we will ever see the end of polemic discourse. But it does change in scale depending on the issue of the day and the circle of blogs you read. Many of the polemicists are not interested in learning something new and feel secure only when their mental barricades are not challenged. They intensely fear those who understand that that not all the tablets have been etched and that writing and exchanging ideas is one of the tools we use to learn. And they feel successful when they quiet the thinkers.

Jeanne has a perfectly good reason to keep blogging. She says it herself:

I’m a writer, not a lawyer. I’m better at musing and questioning than I am at building unassailable arguments. Arguments, to be honest, bore me. I don’t write to persuade, I write to figure things out myself, and readers, to me, are not people whose minds I want to change, but people I’ve invited along on the journey (and who sometimes have suggestions for a direction to go in that I hadn’t thought of before.)

She points us to Jeff Cooper who also questions his inspiration to blog and offers another take on why to keep it up:

I’m not so egotistical as to think that I would change many minds, or even any minds, by writing here. But I did hope at least to make my positions understood, and to come to better understand the arguments of those who see things differently. That requires a certain openness, though, a willingness to attempt to see the world from different perspectives and to take seriously the possibility that I might sometimes be wrong. And, unfortunately, I don’t find many other bloggers approaching their writing in a similar spirit.

In both cases the blog, it used to be the journal, etc., offers a tool to let us explore our understanding of the world we live in. The big advantage of doing it in public is the feedback. Real folks (some jerks) sometimes read our explorations and talk back to us about them. This doesn’t happen in a private forum like a journal. And without the feedback learning does not thrive.

Democracy in Iraq

Tim Dunlop mulls over Rumsfeld’s views on Iraq’s post war political structure and Jane Finch at The Daily Rant likes Tim’s ‘faith based initiative’ line. In the comments to the latter post Nathan tells us:

From what I understand, we would like to establish a robust constitution with strong guarantees for civil rights. Democracy has demonstrated that it is an excellent vehicle for preserving such rights. Islamic govts have not, and tend to overthrow such guarantees as soon as possible.
For democracy to work, a party has to win power, lose power, and then be able to regain power again.

Jane responds:

Nathan, how about the Iraqis establish their own constitution?

Read more at The Daily Rant (link above).

Perhaps they can just copy Qatar’s pending new constitution (which I discussed here a few days ago). It likely won’t fit Nathan’s expectations (which I tend to agree with) but it just might do for a faith based initiative.

Appearance Apologies

I admit it, I seldom use Internet Explorer. So when I looked at Modulator in IE for the first time in a while I realized that my CSS stuff was not working quite right. At least for IE 6.0 users. It should be fixed now and easier to read for you folks. Let me know if you notice any problems.

How to Respond to the Patriot Act

Move to Arcata, CA? Better yet, work to persuade your local governments to to follow in Arcata’s footsteps. And, communicate with your congress folks. Tell them that the Patriot Act(large PDF file), an unnecessary, panic inspired, assault on our freedoms needs to be tossed out along with its sponsors.

To help you in your efforts the folks at The Liquid List provide a link to the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Thanks to Behind the Homefront for pointing me to the Washington Post Article.