Archive for November, 2011

It just happens

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

US wealth gap between young and old is widest ever – Yahoo! News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The wealth gap between younger and older Americans has stretched to the widest on record, worsened by a prolonged economic downturn that has wiped out job opportunities for young adults and saddled them with housing and college debt.

Sad.  But what I find most interesting is that there is not a hint that personal choices might have something to do with a lack of accumulated wealth.

Full article below the break.


Why print books still have a place

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

 Interesting thought in this short post:

John’s Corner of the World: Darren and the encyclopedia: Why print books still have a place
While at my permaculture course, Darren Doherty, our instructor, told a little bit of his own story now and then. At one point, he mentioned that he had learned to read when he was about three years old. And when he was five or six years old, he received a World Book Encyclopedia for his birthday.

“I read the entire set four times through.”

–Now, before I say anything else, I should note that he is the second person I have met who has confessed to reading an entire encyclopedia.

But four times through? And why? What would motivate a child to read an entire encyclopedia?

Well, besides the basic thirst for knowledge–which both of the people I have met who have done this have obviously exhibited, Darren replied, “Because it was mine. They were my books.”

The encyclopedia was a unique gift and it was his.

Thought: I can’t imagine an electronic encyclopedia–an e-book encyclopedia–generating anywhere near the same feelings or motivations in any child.

And that thought led to this: That print books still have a real place in today’s and tomorrow’s society.

Does this resonate with anyone else?  Maybe I’m just old, but a physical book is something special, a tangible reminder of the story or a reminder of the past.  e-books seem just so ephemeral.

Understanding Poverty in the United States

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

 I just read today’s Sunday paper, and it sparked more discussion than usual in my family. The myths, exaggerations, misconceptions, and misuse of statistics is infuriating and serves nobody well (except perhaps “the media” itself, though only in the short term).

I ran across this illustrative post last week.  What does it really mean to be poor in America?

Understanding Poverty in the United States: Poverty USA
Today, the Census Bureau released its annual poverty report, which declared that a record 46.2 million persons, or roughly one in seven Americans, were poor in 2010. The numbers were up sharply from the previous year’s total of 43.6 million. Although the current recession has increased the numbers of the poor, high levels of poverty predate the recession. In most years for the past two decades, the Census Bureau has declared that at least 35 million Americans lived in poverty.

However, understanding poverty in America requires looking behind these numbers at the actual living conditions of the individuals the government deems to be poor. For most Americans, the word “poverty” suggests near destitution: an inability to provide nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter for one’s family. However, only a small number of the 46 million persons classified as “poor” by the Census Bureau fit that description. While real material hardship certainly does occur, it is limited in scope and severity.

So, “poverty” suggests near destitution (and certain groups are getting as much political and alarmist mileage as possible out of that suggestion), but what does it really mean?  Click through the article to see.

What really gets my goat is when “they” take a statistic (1 in 15 Americans) and illustrate it with an outlying example, then trumpet about as if the  entire named group is comprised of people just like the example.  The “I am the 99%” photos going around Facebook are a good example.  Most of them are NOT the 99% – they are the most unfortunate 0.05% of the 99%.  They are part of the 99%, but certainly are not the most accurate characterization of that group.

ALEXA MEADE – very cool

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

 Check out Alexa Meade’s portfolio.  This is the coolest original idea I’ve seen in a long time.

Here’s one of my favorites – click on through and take a close look at this.


Stupid, or lazy?

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

“Isn’t it amazing that we’d rather call ourselves stupid than lazy? At least laziness is easy to fix.”

Another really short post, but his posts tend to be short and I hate to cut&paste the whole thing.

Seth’s Blog: Stupid and lazy