Saturday, March 28, 2009

Let There Be Darkness

Tonight is Earth Hour. Every time zone is supposed to turn off their electricity at 8 or 8:30 tonight. This story is surfing the blogosphere and many opinions seem, including Edward Norton, seem to say that it is a ceremonious act. We are showing global leaders that we understand the threats of climate change and that we want to act to reverse it. While I like the symbolic nature of the gesture I am curious to see if any data reflects the global turn off. They expect about one-hundred million people worldwide to participate in some form, that has to have some energy effect even if it is minuscule. Earth Hour should be measured by the outcome of the global summit in Copenhagen. World leaders are meeting to write a document to replace the Kyoto Agreements. Maybe the protest can show that body how serious the Earth is about reversing global warming.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Digital Torture

This article had everything I could want in a blog; political scandal, art, national responsibility, and digital ownership. The debate centers around the Abu Ghraib photos of tortue. It is not uncommon for museums such as the Museum of Modern Art to collect works that were not intended to be art. They have photos of presidents, cultural leaders, and works that symbolized movements like civil rights. When a museum takes a work it becomes part of our history that is preserved. One could argue the value in the photos from Abu Ghraib, we see the most primal and savage stages of man (naturalism). But the other obstacle with these images is that they were JPEGs. A soldier took them and they circled the news as JPEGs. Museums and magazines must decide in the technological age whether they can use JPEGs. It is important photos that where important to the Bush years to be preserved and serve as a reminder of travesties that took place early in the twenty-first century. The images may have a place in a national archives or journalism collection, but MoMA should not let the changing technology keep them from displaying a relevant and important work.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Krugman's Way

In this blog Paul Krugman recalls the Bush administration’s argument for the privatization of social security because the current system is unfair to minorities. Due to a lower life expectancy for Black males they die before they are able to collect their fair share. When I read the post I was angered by the logic of the arguments by Bush and a southern judge who supported a photo ID before voting. I wanted to argue on behalf of social justice and democratic freedoms, but I am not writing this post to defend the constitution. What I found interesting was the approach of Paul Krugman. He broke down the life expectancy figure. He said the Black community may have a lower life expectancy because of high death rates in childhood, youth deaths, and incarceration. A Black man who works his whole life is not more likely to die. His view broke down the opponent and was a completely different angle than I was thinking. I then questioned myself. Maybe I should consider an argument like Krugman’s that breaks down the facts before I enter into a useless philosophical debate. Everyone should look for other channels and a new perspective to an old issue.

Monday, March 9, 2009


“Asteroid 2009 DD45 on Monday passed within 38,000 miles of Earth, less than twice the height of the geostationary satellites we depend on for communications”. How many people on Monday were thinking of an asteroid that could end existence on Earth? I often hear of an apocalypse or a dooms day to end the world, but I do not consider it daily. If the right size asteroid had made proper contact with the Earth human life could be irreversibly changed. It would just end I would not know it was coming. Maybe it’s the movies but I feel like there should be a warning or mass havoc or something before deep impact. Scientists did not even see this one coming. For an asteroid to have that kind of impact is extremely rare, but it could happen. We would never have seen a presidential address on every station warning us of the end while the president tried to remain in control. Monday an asteroid could have hit, it just missed; 38,000 miles is close.