neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
I completely missed reposting any of my posts from Crazy Eddie's Motie News for March on the Nablopomo theme of Whether. Bad dog, no biscuits. I'll get around to organizing and posting linkspams from last month eventually. In the meantime, I'll resume my regular weekly summaries of the Nablopomo posts for April. This month, the theme is poetry. Here's what I wrote on April Fools Day.

From Nablopomo on BlogHer:
So what is the NaBloPoMo theme of the month?

In honour of National Poetry Month in April, we've made the theme POEM -- which can go in a multitude of directions. First and foremost, you can try your hand at writing some poetry. We'll be presenting a few fixed forms as well as prompts for free forms. Make a personal goal to write a haiku-a-day, write an entire post in rhymed couplets, or argue the merits of Pinterest... in sestina form.

We'll be writing about our reactions to poems -- which poems have come up at important moments in your life? Which poems do you return to again and again? Which poems have changed your mood, given you comfort, or made you want to be a poet yourself?

We'll spend the month looking at reflections of poetry in nature and social situations. And we'll be featuring YOUR poetry weekly. So get your poem on.
When I first read the theme and description, I considered not participating, as I'm not big on poetry. I especially had a hard time squaring the theme with a blog about sustainability, science, and politics, although "poetry in nature" might work. Then I realized that there were some forms of poetry that I liked, limericks and song verses. Most limericks wouldn't be fit for a family blog, but I can always find a good song for my posts. So, I'm participating again this month.
The songs that I've featured so far are:
There will be more next week, as I already have another post up.

Happy reading and happy listening!
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

Nablopomo for December: Gift

From Join Us for Daily Blogging with December's NaBloPoMo:
So what is the NaBloPoMo theme of the month?


But we're not just talking getting presents: we're looking at how we treat ourselves, what are our talents, and what do we like to give others. What is the best gift you ever got? The best gift you ever gave? How do you like to open gifts? Are you a peeker? And what about all of those non-tangible gifts that we can bestow on one another throughout the day?
It turns out I started early with my gift-themed entries early over at Crazy Eddie's Motie News, as I posted several articles about Black Friday and Small Business Saturday during the last week of November.

Watch evolution in action on Black Friday

This is why yesterday was Buy Nothing Day for me

Small Business Saturday Linkspam

Happy reading and shopping, everyone!
neonvincent: For posts about food and cooking (All your bouillabaisse are belong to us)

Over at Crazy Eddies Motie News, I've posted a couple of entries about my experience both reading about food and eating new kinds of food during my two recent trips.

In Travel is broadening, even the reading, I describe two magazines for businesspeople noticing that eating local is becoming big business.

In Travel is broadening, especially the food, I discuss my particular experiences with eating an unconventional source of food for Americans while in Mexico and how I'm not alone. Not for the squeamish.

There will probably be more about my trips. If nothing else, I have to talk about the celebration of The Day of the Dead, which is like Halloween crossed with Mardi Gras, complete with drunken street parades in costume.

Also, stay tuned more more of my sniping at Objectivism.  I have two more posts on that topic up since my last update.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)
Fat Cat goes Galt

It's been a while since I've shot spitwads at Objectivism here on DW and LJ. The last time I did so is here, although I have a history of doing so. However, I was very busy last week throwing rotten tomatoes at Ayn Rand, her books, and her philosophy over at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

Objectivism and Scientology: a sublime to the ridiculous comparison

Quotes about Objectivism from the snarky to the serious

Collapse is all there in the Objectivist manual

Atlas Chugged

To be honest, I have an ulterior motive, as mentioned in The hornet swatting begins today. Unfortunately, the hornet managed to fly away. As long as he continues his flight, it's OK with me.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)

From Next Media Animation on YouTube:

More than 500 million people use Facebook every day. However, most were annoyed by recent changes that further cluttered the user interface.

The backlash has been fierce. But no matter how disgruntled, users find it hard to leave Facebook because all their friends are there.

At the recent F8 developers' conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced even more ambitious changes, including tighter integration with third party apps.

Another big change is the re-vamp of the profile into a timeline. It pulls all your media and updates into one place.

Zuck also urged developers to demand permission to publish everything from users as a condition for using apps. Where is it all going to lead?
Never forget that Facebook is the Internet on capitalism, which means it has to make its money somehow.

As Barry Commoner wrote, there is no such thing as a free lunch. That means this blog is product, too.

Originally posted as Facebook: There is no such thing as a free lunch on Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Lust for  for posts about sex and women behaving badly. (Bad Girl Lust)

Yeah, this one. It got picked up by Lex Kuhne's Daily Intelligencer, a site that compiles tweets, as today's top Michigan story. Looks like he enjoys reading drunken texts about sex, too.

In other news, I've been busy over at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

Labor Day and hurricanes to blame as gas prices rise sharply in Michigan

Preview of Arts, Beats, and Eats

Surf on over.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)
Yesterday afternoon, I posted a video in Next Media Animation on the Debt Ceiling Hostage Crisis that portrayed Chinese displeasure with the debt ceiling deal, which I'm just going to call the Satan Sandwich from now on (I'm also adding a "Satan Sandwich" label/tag to all my posts about it), along with all kinds of wild financial news from the day before yesterday. Yesterday was even worse, as the rest of the financial markets weighed the deal and wrote "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin" on the walls of the exchanges.

Stock market tumble

Investors flee economic gloom, policy paralysis

Wall Street suffers worst selloff in two years

Gold eases below lifetime high; investors cover losses

Stocks are falling again on more fears of economic weakness in the U.S. and Europe's debt crisis.

More at The financial markets think it's a Satan Sandwich, too and WXYZ has local reaction to yesterday's and today's stock plunge on Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

neonvincent: Ambassador Vreelak from DS9 (Fake!)

A Chinese ratings firm yesterday made financial history and downgraded the US' credit rating from A+ to A. Meanwhile, hot money flowing into hedge funds and gold saw gold prices yesterday shoot to a historic high of US$1,670 per ounce.
It looks like the Chinese think the deal was a Satan Sandwich, too, and that we should have chosen the prize behind Door #3 instead.

More at Next Media Animation on the Debt Ceiling Hostage Crisis on Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

WTNH on YouTube: On Thursday, Borders will ask a judge to begin liquidation of the company.
Reuters has even more details.
Borders Group Inc, the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain, said it has canceled an upcoming bankruptcy auction and will close its doors for good.

The company said in a statement Monday it was unable to find a buyer willing to keep it in operation and will sell itself to a group of liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources.

Borders' roughly 400 remaining stores will close, and nearly 11,000 jobs will be lost, according to the company.

"We are saddened by this development," Borders President Mike Edwards said in the statement. "We were all working hard toward a different outcome, but the headwinds we have been facing for quite some time ... have brought us to where we are now."
As someone who lived in Ann Arbor from 1989 to 1999 and hung out in Ann Arbor regularly until earlier this year, spending much of that time in the Ann Arbor flagship store, I find this very sad for me personally, as you can see by my previous two posts on the subject at my LiveJournal.

More at Crazy Eddie's Motie News: Borders Books 1971-2011.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

Paul Krugman being reviewed in a sustainablity blog? Yes. Remember that the intersection between a thriving economy and a just society is a bearable social economy, and Krugman is all about that, while his rivals are not. Besides, he's probably the most visible mainstream economist who takes the environment seriously, and doesn't just write it off as a series of externalities. However, that's not why I'm writing about him tonight. Krugman is also an academic, and he's dismayed at how his intellectual opponents at the University of Chicago refuse to accept the reality of today's economic situation.
Reading Noah Smith reading John Cochrane solidified a thought I’ve been grasping at for a while: the extraordinary lengths to which the Chicago School is going to avoid a straightforward interpretation of the mess we’re in.
[A]t Chicago and elsewhere in the freshwater universe they’re playing Calvinball (and what a good coinage that was from Mike Konczal). All kinds of novel and implausible effects — effects that weren’t in any of the models they were using before the crisis — are invoked to explain why we’re in a sustained slump; strange to say, all of these newly invented models just happen to imply the need for tax cuts and a shrunken welfare state.

But I don’t think it’s just political bias: part of what’s happening, I’m sure, is intellectual embarrassment. These people come from a movement that declared, with great arrogance, that Keynesian economics was dead – then failed to produce a workable alternative, and now finds itself in what is very recognizably a Keynesian world. Recognizably, that is, to everyone but them, because admitting that Keynesian-type thinking is useful now would just be too humiliating.
As one academic to another, I pointed out both the deeper problem and the solution.
The physicist Max Planck had this to say about progress in his field, "Science advances one funeral at a time." If economics works the same way, then the freshwater economists have exploited this process to make economics retreat, not advance. It will take decades of work by the saltwater economics departments churning out Ph.D.s to undo the damage.

So, Dr. Krugman, how many grad students are you advising these days?
I've seen this dynamic in action before, so I know what Krugman has to do in addition to being a public intellectual--train more people who think like him to outcompete his rivals. If nothing else, doing so would piss off his academic rivals no end, as it would be a sign that they haven't won, and won't have succeeded for the rest of their lifetimes.

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

I know I promised more on the Kroger in Royal Oak, but there's another current news item about the sustainability of Detroit from a Business as Usual perspective going on right now--Transformation Detroit. What is it? As this article on MLive puts it:
This is the story Detroit wants the world to hear. Jonathan Oosting of is one of more than 50 journalists participating in Transformation Detroit, a three-day media briefing facilitated by the Detroit Regional News Hub that aims to highlight innovative revitalization efforts in the city.
For a sampling of the stories Detroit wants the world to know, read the Detroit Regional News Hub's news blog, or you can watch these two videos from WXYZ on the event.

I'm glad the powers that be are interested in sustainability, but I much prefer Model D's perspective of "Optimism, but not Business as Usual."

Above post originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News here.

neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

In the intro to part one of last week's sustainability news linkspam, I mentioned "a local sustainability issue that looks like just a zoning and development issue, but has turned into something else entirely" in passing. In the spirit of "a picture is worth 1000 words," I give you these videos from WXYZ-TV. Issues of sustainable local business and sustainable built environment pop up all through both videos, including a mention of Royal Oak's walkable neighborhoods and walkable downtown. Then, there's the accusations of corruption by a lobbyist for the convenience store competitors of the proposed Kroger. And you thought city council meetings were boring.

I have a lot more to write about this issue, including coverage from Royal Oak Patch that follows up on the meetings and the provides more detail and my personal opinion of this (it's a very local issue for me, as the site in question is within walking distance of where my wife and I live--she has an opinion, too), but I have to run an errand and go to work. Stay tuned!

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News here.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
A couple of hours ago, I posted Sustainability news from midwestern research universities for the week ending June 25, 2011 on Crazy Eddie's Motie News. One of the themes that emerged as I wrote this post was "how I have to add information I've learned in these posts to my teaching." This is one of the reasons I justify my blogging to my colleagues and superiors at work. They agreed, and list my science blogging as professional development. Seriously.

Following are three examples of why I use that justification and my co-workers agree.

Indiana University: IU Public Policy Institute releases report on private, public value of higher education
June 23, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS -- With recent headlines asking "Is college worth it?" and reports of a burgeoning student loan crisis, there has been considerable public discussion about the costs and benefits of higher education.

Often, those discussions are limited to how much individuals pay for school and how much they earn upon graduation. But from a policy-making perspective, evaluating higher education requires broader measures of economic and social benefits.

This is the purpose of a research review released by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute as part of its Policy Choices for Indiana's Future project. The Policy Choices initiative is designed to provide objective recommendations on key issues for future Indiana legislative and gubernatorial candidates.

"From lower incarceration and obesity rates to higher levels of civic engagement and volunteerism, education is associated with a broad array of benefits to both individuals and society," according to the report. "While the costs incurred educating our society are enormous, and growing, we must be aware that the costs of failing to do so might be even greater."
One of the mistakes people make about higher education is to consider it to be primarily an economic activity that improves the student's future earning power and decreases the student's risk of unemployment. I'm guilty of this myself, as I use Calculated Risk's graphs of unemployment over time for Americans of different education levels, such as this one.

I make the point that the students are engaging in an activity to increase their human capital, and they are. However, human capital doesn't just consist of the skills and knowledge they can apply to economic activity. It also includes one's ability to contribute to society. Just look at the list of social benefits--"lower incarceration and obesity rates to higher levels of civic engagement and volunteerism"--for examples.

Two more articles about the detritmental health effects of overpopulation combined with urbanization and climate change behind the cut. )

See what you're missing if 1) you're not reading Crazy Eddie's Motie News and/or 2) I'm not crossposting articles to Dreamwidth and LiveJournal?

Speaking of which, I ran a poll on my LJ for which posts from the past week on Crazy Eddie's Motie News I should repost on my personal journals. Right now, it's a three-way tie among Transformation Detroit, when Business as Usual attempts sustainability, Gas prices drop for a second week in Metro Detroit, and Kroger in Royal Oak, the videos. I'll be posting them after midnight as "fan" posts. If you want me to post more, go over to the poll and vote.  I'll comply.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)


I'm a fan of environmentally sound manufacturing.

The Oakland Press: GM drives to lessen Orion plant’s environmental impact
Of The Oakland Press

Gas piped from an Oakland County landfill is helping General Motors hold down costs as it begins building small cars at the GM assembly plant in Orion Township, saving the company more than $1.1 million annually.

Energy savings have helped General Motors reduce the cost of building small cars in the United States at the company’s assembly plant in Orion Township.

Eric Stevens, GM vice president of global manufacturing engineering, said when production of the fuel-efficient 2012 Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano at Orion begin this fall, 40 percent of the energy to power the General Motors Orion Assembly Plant where the cars are built will come from a burning landfill adjacent to the plant on Brown Road.
I like everything about this article--local jobs for people building fuel-efficient cars, renewable energy, energy conservation, recycling, and using environmentally friendly paint. All of these are good for the environment, society, and the economy. Consider me a fan!

Originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News as Motie News Brief: GM's Orion plant to go green.

On the other hand, I'm not much of a fan of high gas prices. Gas prices back above $4.00/gallon in metro Detroit
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

Sustainability news from Michigan's Research Universities for the week ending June 4, 2011

Sustainability news from midwestern Research Universities for the week ending June 4, 2011

Sustainability News for the week ending June 4, 2011: National commercial sources

Wow, three posts in one day--looks like I'm not so burned out any more. I guess taking a couple days off helped!

Also, I posted about Michigan politics.

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner--oh the possibilities!

As you can see, that one pressed my ambition button. I'll re-write that one and post it here on Dreamwith and LJ, as well as on Michigan Liberal and Daily Kos.

Finally, I promoted my most recent post on Kunstler's blog.

That's enough for this morning. Time to go back to bed!

neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)


In my previous Buzz about Detroit from Model D Media post, I noted:
Nearly all of my most popular articles here seem to the ones in which I comment on a New York Times article about how Detroit and its suburbs are dealing with contraction. This one fits that mold, except that it's more optimistic.
That seems to be the theme for nearly all the articles from Model D Media's Buzz page. Of course, one should expect that from a publication whose Twitter profile states:
We love Detroit. We write about Detroit. We photograph Detroit. We film Detroit. We want you to love Detroit, too.
...And whose attitude I characterized as "Optimism but not business as usual." They're certainly living up to both my billing and their own.

This week, I present three articles that protray Detroit, not as a disaster and not as a place being reborn from its ashes, but as a phoenix worth visiting. No, I'm not kidding. Detroit is now a place for the adventurous to visit and settle in.

Excerpts of and commentary on travel and real estate articles from the New York Times, BBC, and Financial Times behind the cut. )

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News as Detroit as a travel destination? The New York Times, BBC, and Financial Times think so.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

Remember that sustainability is about more than the non-human environment. It's also about the economy and society. In that spirit, I present to you an excerpt of an article from Bloomberg Business Week about the financial crisis by Hernando de Soto in which the author presents a unique perspective on the event.

The Destruction of Economic Facts
Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that the financial crisis wasn't just about finance—it was about a staggering lack of knowledge

When then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson initiated his Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in September 2008, I assumed the objective was to restore trust in the market by identifying and weeding out the "troubled assets" held by the world's financial institutions. Three weeks later, when I asked American friends why Paulson had switched strategies and was injecting hundreds of billions of dollars into struggling financial institutions, I was told that there were so many idiosyncratic types of paper scattered around the world that no one had any clear idea of how many there were, where they were, how to value them, or who was holding the risk. These securities had slipped outside the recorded memory systems and were no longer easy to connect to the assets from which they had originally been derived. Oh, and their notional value was somewhere between $600 trillion and $700 trillion dollars, 10 times the annual production of the entire world.

Three years later there's still plenty to be concerned about. Governments have worked to enact major financial and regulatory reforms, such as the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ushered through Congress in 2010 by former Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Dodd-Frank has sought to move derivatives into clearinghouses where more data about them can be collected. It's a step in the right direction. But if you believe in the value of public memory and economic facts, the reforms leave a number of problems outstanding.

First, various groups of derivatives end users, such as nonfinancial companies and sovereign wealth funds, are likely to be exempted from the clearing process—from 40 percent of them, according to Craig Pirrong of the University of Houston's Bauer College of Business, to 70 percent, according to Michael Greenberger, a former Commodities Futures Trading Commission director. Second, the information collected would be available only to regulators because certain business data are considered "proprietary." Third, the $700 trillion worth of derivatives that ignited the recession are not covered by Dodd-Frank. Warren Buffett successfully lobbied for their exclusion, saying it would be tantamount to rewriting old contracts and would force healthy derivatives players such as his own Berkshire Hathaway to post collateral on old deals. Fourth, the clearing system is not likely to be fully operational for another 5 to 10 years. Fifth, many clearinghouses do not have the kind of complete information required by traditional public memory systems: incentives for recording that asset owners can't resist; standard classifications to facilitate identifying and governing the assets; universal access to the information; integration or linkages with other recording systems; provisions to protect third parties from negative externalities; identification of all asset holders and interested parties; limited liability provisions to improve accountability.

That's a lot of failure to digest in a single paragraph. So let's look sector by sector at the sorry state of facts in the financial system.
That's only the middle of the article. For the beginning and end, I recommend you read it in its entirety at the link in the headline.

Maybe the legislators and regulators will listen to what de Soto wrote.


Above originally posted at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
Suburbia: What a Concept

There is no more iconic suburb than Levittown, the postwar planned community built by the developer William Levitt in the late 1940s, so it is understandable that in launching Open House, a collaborative project to imagine a “future suburbia,” the Dutch design collective Droog in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro architects would make it the focus of their inquiry.
"Future Suburbia"--now, that looks promising, especially if it can solve the issues facing a car-centered way of living during a time when being car-centered is likely to be more of a liability than an asset. It would be nice if the designers came up with something that actually solved some of the real problems with suburban living during a time of resource shortage and economic contraction that was more uplifting than Kunstler's dismal vision of them being "the slums of the future" with "two or more families living in a McMansion" and "crops growing where the front lawn used to be." Unfortunately, they didn't.

But in approaching a real place as a perfect blank canvas on which to execute distinctly urban interventions, the Open House project conveniently excused itself from substantively engaging with the real issues facing suburbia’s future. Which is a pity. Because it would have been interesting to see what they’d come up with if they had.
What a wasted opportunity!

[T]he suburban existence is as exotic to them as say, Dubai, the site of Droog Lab’s first project where, says co-founder Renny Ramakers, they’d made a deliberate decision not to explore it as “a spending society — people felt we weren’t being critical enough; they couldn’t understand why. In this project I don’t want to be critical, I want to look for inspiration because in every part of the world, people are creating their own society, their own community.”

But that’s not really valid. Can we discuss the future of suburbia (or the future of anything, really) without being critical? Without talking about developing accessible transit or increasing walkability (and community) through mixed-use development, for example? This alas, is not uncommon. Addressing suburban ills requires massive change to systems, to finance, to transportation and infrastructure, and perhaps most challenging, to a culture deeply wedded to suburbia as emblematic of the American Dream.

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
Consider this to be a follow-up to oil prices dropping 10 percent. All stories from WOOD-TV's YouTube channel.

First, the stories before the drop in oil prices last week.

Gasoline averaged around $4.29 per gallon in West Michigan on Tuesday night, but there are several ways to avoid paying the wholesale price.
See if you notice any theme tying the rest of these videos to high gas prices. )

Now, the videos after the price dropped.

Patrick DeHaan of told 24 Hour News 8 it appears prices have peaked for the foreseeable future.
And how has the price drop affected people's outlook about the economy? )

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News as Grand Rapids Sustainability Video spam courtesty of WOOD-TV.


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