We think we know so much, but actually…..

Two articles here, demonstrating that we think we now so much more than perhaps we do. The first discusses the recent discovery of a second type of DNA, just found, quite different from the “standard” DNA first found in the middle of the 20th Century. The second article discusses how an entirely new organ has been found in our body – this after how many centuries of robbing graves and dissecting cadavers?



The Ocean Current Dilemma

This article from Nature, which is really a plea to maintain and increase funding for ocean current research (and in my view a worthwhile plea to make), touches on an interesting dilemma. One impact of rising temperatures, at least in the northern hemisphere, is the dumping of enormous amounts of icy meltwater into the Atlantic from the Arctic and Greenland. This water sinks to the deep ocean, but if enough pours into the Atlantic it can push aside the warm Gulf Stream, push it south, weaken its flow.  This, in turn, means that Europe is not warmed, and this in turn means that snow doesn’t melt, forming the basis for the growth of ice sheets. And, whether the weakening of the Gulf Stream flow started at the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850 when the earth warmed, as one model suggests, or started in the mid 1900s due to human impacts, as another model suggests,  the outcome is the same – a future of cold, not warmth. And, it seems, a future that might fall upon us very rapidly, once it happens.


This Facebook Stuff

I joined Facebook years ago and never used it much. I tried to cancel my page, also years ago, and they made it so difficult I gave up, just let the site lie dormant. Then when it seemed a book was going to be published, Strong Heart, I followed the mantra of everyone, it seems, in the writing community  – get a social media presence, join Twitter, Facebook, etc….Get a web page  – this one here – and build a community. Your scribe is, he fears, old school,  a reluctant warrior, entirely unwilling to become a slave to feeding the social media beast….I spoke to a highly successful writer, who broke into the big time through a free Kindle approach and now has bestsellers, a few years ago at one of the two wtiter’s conferences I had the budget (and stomach) to attend, and after he told me he spends “only” two to three hours a day keeping up with his web page and social media messaging I felt a great cloud descend upon me. That cloud lingers, and, now this, these reveals about Facebook, how everything done here is known, how we are all just “products” and all we do is used to sell us stuff.  The article below sums up very well some of the issues facing each of us, and suggests the so called Facebook problem may be part of a much bigger agenda. It’s enough to encourage me to take deep breaths and, once again, start the arduous process of fleeing Facebook forever…



Interesting and Thoughtful Article about Democracy

The following article from Atlantic Magazine, “America is not a democracy,” is, in my opinion, a really good summary of where we stand today as regards some of the problems we face, concluding essentially that our government system has become corrupt through the lobbyist system (which used to be illegal in the 19th Century) and because we live in a highly complex society and system that demands highly educated, sophisticated, expert thinkers and decision-makers to serve as authors of legislation and regulations – skill sets that can only be found in elite groups in the current era where “elite” is a bad word. I don’t think much of the author’s ending conclusions, which appear weak, but the history and information is really good, and worth thinking about. What this author misses, as so many do these days when discussing America’s founding, is understanding that a major reason we formed a representative democracy instead of a direct democracy is because across the ocean at exactly the same time France was having their own revolution and showing the world the dangers of total direct democracy – mob rule, the guillotine, and in the end choosing an emperor for rule. These days we forget this – the reason we elected representatives instead of directly voting on bills and issues. We even had senators once removed – they were chosen by state legislatures, originally.