Tuesday, October 21, 2014

An important project

This is from the Guardian, about The Nature Conservancy's controversial Iron Range Experiment, a forest conservation project wherein tree genotypes are deliberately moved northward to adapt the forest to climate change. It's an important read for environmentalists.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Food chains and webs

Also for class Wednesday

For class Wednesday

Why you must try harder in college

This interesting graphic, which most of us in the higher education "industry" will recognize as familiar, came accompanied by the headline "Why College isn't for Everyone -- in a Single Chart."

For starters, Fortune (the authors, or at least purveyors), it's a graph, not a chart. (If you think there isn't a difference, then you must have flunked statistics.)

For seconds, why doesn't it instead mean "Why You Must Try Harder in College"?

It's true that for-profitry and other "money-lending" has crept into the "temple" of higher education in recent decades, and so non-egalitarians like the authors and readers of Fortune might easily draw such conclusions. And I would certainly agree -- albeit from the idealistic, not the business viewpoint -- that the holiness of said temple has been sorely compromised as a result.

But we don't need Jesus to sort this right away, thank you, even though the image of him rampaging through the plush corporate offices of Pheonix and their ilk is, I confess, attractive.

For even if money-lending has crept in, it certainly hasn't reduced the competition function of college. If society has any hopes of edging back towards the stalwart Fabian meritocracy my Roundhead forefathers (and I) expected would one day develop, then it has to have a strong system of competition based on cleverness.

And clearly it still does, at least in part.

My evidence? The same ruddy "chart", thank you.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Demand energy equality

A great new environmental group in the UK. Hands-on home-made solar power demonstrators in the high street. Awesome.


Friday, October 10, 2014

EII assignment on the US Environmental Movement

This assignment is an exercise in research, critical thinking and informal writing.

Follow all instructions. Due Friday October 24th by email or hard copy.
  1. Identify two extant US environmental organizations, one you generally agree with and support, and one you don't
  2. Research their missions, goals and methods carefully, using online and print resources, as well as any other social science case study methods you like. Be sure to ask the instructor ahead of time if you choose to interview human subjects
  3. Identify some of the different types of careers that are possible within both institutions, and determine the qualifications and experience required
  4. In an informal essay, compare and contrast the two organizations and summarize these career pathways
  5. Conclude with your own considered viewpoint of each organization
  6. (Added after class discussion) Cite your research sources. No particular citation format is required, but your citations should be consistent and give complete information to the reader in case they wish to review your sources.

Bob Watson on climate targets, cites failure to control "fossil elites"

("Fossil elites" being a term from my most recent paper, referring to the rich westerners and various dictators all around the world that control underground carbon reserves.)

From The Guardian's article:

"Nearly half of the world’s most powerful corporations are in the fossil fuel sector. They have extraordinary influence on government policies that Watson calls “a form of corruption” preventing the necessary action on climate. In countries like the US, Australia and Canada, industry leads and government follows he said."

The article itself, and a link to the report.

Monday, October 6, 2014

General problems with EII written work, in order of importance

First and foremost: you must proof-read. To catch sentence level errors, proof-read aloud.

If you get distracted by your own beautifully-forged outline, read the last sentence aloud first, and then the second last and so on.

Major problems:
  1. No proof-reading.
  2. No outline
  3. Passive voice
  4. Sentence fragments
  5. Run-on sentence
  6. Comma splices
  7. Spell-check errors
  8. Little use and misuse of commas
  9.  Repetitive
  10. Non sequiteur
  11. Lack of segue
  12. Tense choice problem
Minor problems:
  1. Spell out small numbers
  2. Comma after prepositional phrase
  3. Its versus it's
  4. There versus their

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

“Mr Sai” 赛先生 and “Mr De” 德先生

In other words, Mr. Science and Mr. Democracy, the key ideals that the Hong Kong students are protesting for today.

Why should this be important to today's sophomores at Unity College? And why is this important to the environment?

For today's discussion in EII