Ming the Mechanic:
Thursday, September 26th

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Thursday, September 26th2002-09-26 23:37
pictureby Flemming Funch

  • Four years ago I was stopped for driving without insurance, and the court then gave me a big fine. I couldn't afford to pay either at the time, and even when I later got insurance, the fine sort of was forgotten until recently. But it all brings up reminders of the way I used to live, struggling with some different impossible financial situation every week. And it reminds me of the bureaucratic cruelties and insanities that certain segments of the population will have to put up with on a regular basis. "Oh, you can't afford to pay for insurance? Let's slap an extra $1000 on top of that for you to pay, and maybe that'll motivate you a little better!". And I realize now that it isn't just somebody being cruel. It is that the system is made by and for capitalists, and not for poor people. You know, if you sit at home with your bank statement and a spreadsheet, trying to optimize the use of your funds, you can quickly calculate that it serves you better to pay the insurance than to have to pay a fine. Then it's all quite logical and reasonable. But many people don't live in that world and don't experience themselves having such luxurious options.

  • But that principle of individuals rationally choosing how best to use the available resources, that isn't a bad principle at all. The problem is only if we focus on just one kind of resource, to the exclusion of all others. Traditional capitalist thinking focuses on the resource of money. Which is a little silly since the money itself is just a made up symbol, with no inherent value or use. There are other types of capital which are more grounded in the real world, and which have interent value. There is human capital - people and their labor, intelligence, culture and organization. and there is natural capital - living systems, natural resources, ecosystem services. Human and natural capital is inherently of value. When you make them thrive and expand it isn't just bigger numbers in computers - things are actually better. New awarenesses of these things are arising rapidly. More and more companies are starting to look at the "triple bottom line", or "quadruple bottom line". Different people define those in different ways, but the idea is to include several more dimensions in addition to financial results (benefitting shareholders): the social results (benefitting employees, customers, society), the environmental results, and possibly also the corporate or cultural values at play. An excellent starting point for revolutionary new thinking about natural capital is Natural Capitalism by Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins.

  • It appears that the ozone hole is getting smaller, and might actually be gone by 2050 at the current rate.

  • There are signs of life on Venus say some scientists.

  • A Canadian Senate Committee calls for legalizing marijuana. The prohibition of marijuana use must end, proclaims says the Committee on Illegal Drugs. The unanimous report hopes to bring Canadian policy into the new millennium and out of the politically motivated and costly US-led War on (Some) Drugs. "Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a social and public health issue,” explained Senator Pierre Nolin, the committeeÂ’s chairperson.

  • A Brief Introduction to the American Civil Liberties Union

    "Everything you've learned in school as "obvious" becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines." --Buckminster Fuller

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    27 Sep 2002 @ 03:21 by finny : Ozone Layer???
    Ming, I read the link about the ozone layer getting smaller. Good news seemingly! Except for the last paragraph which describes air pollution, not ozone layer depletion. Ozone layer depletion is not caused by carbon emissions (it's CFCs), nor does it cause respiratory problems. Skin cancers, yes! The inclusion of that misinformed last paragraph makes me suspect the validity of the report.  

    28 Sep 2002 @ 19:31 by ming : Ozone
    You're right, there seems to be a bit of questionable data in that article. However, on researching it a little bit, the part about {link:http://www.epa.gov/oar/primer/|ground level ozone causing respiratory problems} appears to be correct. I didn't know that. And here from the EPA about {link:http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html#what%20is%20ozone|problems with ozone generators} as air purifiers. Hm, that's a bit disturbing. I have a powerful Alpine air purifier with an ozone generator in my house.  

    19 Dec 2014 @ 18:40 by Daniel @ : yTjOPRyFlmWb
    SuzyGreat post. We must all become edcatued about green issues. The eco chic blogs you have listed are all very excellent.And good point HCI know that (to unplug chargers)but I always forget. Thanks for the reminder.  

    23 Dec 2014 @ 10:44 by Ravi @ : vPltVUdEsyTfoL
    I support Ming and do not bieelve his departure to be in the interests of the Party. When I voted for him in no.1 place as Leader, I hoped that his maturity and experience would distinguish the Lib Dems from the other two main parties. Sadly, the media's coverage of Ming has focused only on the negative aspects of his age, without any justification. Ming was exceedingly active in campaigning on a wide range of issues and his departure really does not reflect his personal performance as Leader. The parliamentary party's pressure on him to step down goes quite clearly against the wishes of the majority of party members, who voted for him decisively only a year and a half ago. We were supposed to be getting away from this chopping and changing leaders nonsense that has so plagued the Tories. I hope this does not happen a third time. I congratulate Ming on a job well done.  

    Other stories in
    2012-05-03 00:04: An evolving path
    2012-01-02 13:52: 2011 Accomplishments and 2012 Aims
    2011-11-17 02:20: Your inner piece
    2011-02-01 00:05: Slow Mo Flow
    2011-01-22 18:40: Recognition
    2010-08-23 00:36: Where's Ming?
    2010-07-20 14:24: Getting other people to do stuff
    2010-06-22 00:27: Inventory
    2010-06-19 23:10: Conversations
    2009-10-28 12:31: Then a miracle occurs

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