Double Life

Gary Howe, publisher of the excellent blog My Wheels are Turning posted this video and writes…

A bit tangential to the purpose of MyWHaT this morning and by no means a cartoon. However, this short film by Gavin Kelly is intriguing.

It depicts 4 MMORPG players as they describe their online persona’s while the viewer watches them navigate their everyday routine, as their avatars.

The connection is the persona we present in the physical public space, as well as the commons of the internet. For example, what sort of creature are we expressing during a fit of road-rage? Or, who are we when we feel unencumbered by social norms when commenting on an online forum.

More simply, there’s the connection to the act of people-watching. The times when we allow ourselves to wonder what a passerby is thinking as they walk down a street or wait at a stop light.

There probably are warlocks among us, if not zombies.

Bill, a frequent contributor to MyWhAT, mused to me the other day that when he gets in a car he feels a tangible anger settle over him and becomes as impatient as the impatient drivers he shakes his head at when he’s riding. I know that when I get on my bike in town, I turn into a cross between a bike messenger and the Green Lantern, making a point to get in people’s faces (or windshields) who blast across crosswalks and generally ignore non-motorized traffic.

Heady stuff … must be the helmets.

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Ask the Internet presents: Is this a problem?

On a road that I walk on – which is a private road by the way but I know people on it and along with many others, have walked on it all my life and so I guess feel entitled – the above “situation” has developed.

To me, it looks like a great place to die in a snowstorm or rainstorm, but about all I now about electricity is that it scares the crap out of me when in power line form.

Dear internets: am I right to be concerned about this situation or is it yet another intrusion of busy-bodies into the rights of property owners?

View Bigger, On Black

Rock always wins

An episode of Seinfeld proved that rock shatters scissors and flies through paper. In short, nothing beats rock. Rock is immovable and obdurate – it makes no compromise and brooks no discussion. Rock simply is.

I’m tempted to say that for 8 years we Americans have acted as if this wasn’t so.

I realize, however, that we’re talking about a number far greater than any one man or nation, a problem more complex than any single issue and a time that is quite a bit longer than any handful of turnings of the seasons.

The drugstore pony of “cheap” energy we have ridden for centuries is playing out. The equations of growth appear impossible to solve and armies of woe march across our world unchecked. Consequences unimaginable don’t seem quite so unimaginable any more.

We’re about to wrench the wheel of the world, to set ourselves on a new course.

The course correction can be to whatever degree we want.

I’m hoping it’s to the degree we need.

Sunday Funnies: The October Surprise Gang

Is it an October Surprise if you are expecting it?

The more I read the daunting litany of the challenges facing the McCain Campaign, the repeated missteps and almost comic cluelessness, the secrecy surrounding his medical condition and the awesomely bad selection of Sarah Palin, the more  certain I become that there is no way that McCain-Palin will be the Republican ticket when November rolls around.

Palin’s nomination cleared the way for a complete reset of the ticket when it becomes clear that McCain cannot continue due to health issues or simply being 20+ points down in the polls.

I don’t even see this as requiring the tinfoil hat anymore – the deck is so obviously stacked against McCain right now that it seems delusional to believe it can make it to November. I think the questions are “when” (shorter is probably better, Oct. 15 is my bet) and “who” (Michael Bloomberg plus some respected military figure).

Physics makes me strong, Hathead

America (in the form of Science Debate 2008) asked Barack Obama about science, and Obama answered (John McCain said he will answer).

SD2008: National Security. Science and technology are at the core of national security like never before. What is your view of how science and technology can best be used to ensure national security and where should we put our focus?

O-man: Technology leadership is key to our national security. It’s essential to create a coherent new defense technology strategy to meet the kinds of threats we may face—asymmetric conflicts, urban operations, peacekeeping missions, and cyber, bio, and proliferation threats, as well as new kinds of symmetric threats.

You get the sense by reading his answers that he actually has thought about these issues a little. About darn time.

About the image: Obama Man by Alex Ross can be gotten on a shirt if you ripped yours off or something. It’s part of Rob’s San Diego Comi-con set and they’re tailor made for the awesome might of Cooliris. Rob can also be found at Attack Cat.

Take a point if you didn’t need Google to interpret the title.

We Are All Downstream

Together. by Rick SpillersI posted this on Absolute Michigan as well – recycle, right?
Eric Hansen is the author of “Hiking Michigan’s Upper Peninsula” and “Hiking Wisconsin”. In this morning’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he has an editorial titled Headwaters are no place for toxic new mining that begins:

Take a moment to think about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the nearby patches of Wisconsin, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan that border it. Picture the sparkling waterfalls, blueberries, brook trout and wave-washed shores there — the multitude of reasons so many think of this as God’s Country.

Thing is, change is in the air — and there’s a fair chance that it won’t be a good thing for the unspoiled waters of the U.P. — or for our water quality here, downstream, in Wisconsin.

New proposals for mining in the U.P. involve a method — metallic sulfide mining — known for its record of toxic water pollution.

These metallic sulfide mining projects are an alarming new threat to the Upper Great Lakes that has gone largely unnoticed in Wisconsin, or elsewhere in the region outside of Michigan.

Are we, as a state and region, prepared for a metallic sulfide mining district in the U.P.? Have we done a thorough assessment of the risks involved and the long-range impact this could have on our groundwater, streams and lakes?

Read the rest…

With two proposed projects (Kennecott Eagle north of Marquette on Lake Superior and Aquila Resources Back40 project just a stone’s throw from the Menominee River and the Wisconsin border) and many, many more prospected sites (see map), the question “Are we ready?” is a darn good question to ask.

Through virtue of our work with an organization called Save the Wild UP, we’ve been following the story of sulfide mining in Michigan for years. It’s frankly stupefying that a mining technology that has killed fish and entire rivers, lain waste to lakes and as currently planned would actually spew tons of sulfide mining dust in the air as a kind of giant acid rain machine is still being considered at all.

Even more than the Lower Peninsula, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula depends on tourism and outdoor recreation for its livelihood and a couple hundred jobs would do nothing to offset the damage that news of mine accidents and poisoned rivers, lakes and air would generate. Once a mine opens in Michigan, so will the floodgates of a mineral rush that is virtually guaranteed to forever change the face of Michigan and our priceless waters. For it to happen without a public debate, behind closed doors is something we can’t allow to happen.

The photo above is Together. by Rick Spillers and it’s just one of many in the Downstream group on Flickr, where almost 100 people have added one photo each to be paired with the song A Letter from Downstream by Daisy May Erlewine. The result is a fascinating look at the meaning of water in all our lives. I think more than any photo in the Downstream group, this one for me says why we shouldn’t allow huge corporations to bet their profits against the future of the Great Lakes. These waters are all of ours, and those of generations to come.

Eric concludes:

This is our region’s spiritual homeland, the headwaters country of our planet’s finest collection of fresh water.

Let us think long and hard before risking that notable resource by allowing metallic sulfide mining to get its foot in the door at such a critical location.

Let us heed Gov. Milliken and join our voices to protect both a land and its pristine water that mean so much to so many of us. Our grandchildren will thank us.

Amen.