Archive for June, 2007

Do Not Fear Strong Men

Posted in Sayings on June 16th, 2007

Do not fear strong men. Fear weak men; they will cause more harm through their failures than the strong will ever cause by their successes.

— jonolan

While strong people have the will and the powers to directly effect change their strength has a basis in action and therefore must be brought to bear on a subject to be effective. The actions of the strong can be tracked and in most cases predicted. This allows a person to either adapt to- or mitigate any personally harmful effects from the actions of the strong.

Weak people do not have the will and the powers to directly effect change, but they have a nearly immeasurable capacity to cause harm to those around them through either their attempts to take action or their complete failure to take any action at all. Attempting to predict or mitigate the harmful effects of such failures is exceedingly difficult and consumes much of the efforts of any society.

Strength must be measured by both will and power and must always be viewed within the context of the given situation and environment. A thug with a handgun and the will to use it may well be considered strong in the immediate context of a mugging, but that same thug must be considered weak in the context of his society because he lacks the will and power to effect any changes on that scale.

In the alley the thug’s power can be adapted to or mitigated in many ways depending on the training, fitness and preparedness of his potential victims. On the other hand, the negative effects of this thug’s weakness and resulting failed actions and failures to act on the society as whole are far harder to accurately predict and to mitigate.

Related Reading:

The Philosophy Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
Philosophy 101: From Plato and Socrates to Ethics and Metaphysics, an Essential Primer on the History of Thought (Adams 101)
A History of Western Philosophy
The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers
Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Llewellyn's Sourcebook)

Biofuel = Fines?

Posted in Politics, The Environment on June 13th, 2007

Bob Teixeira decided it was time to take a stand against U.S. dependence on foreign oil. His reward from a state that heavily promotes alternative fuels: a $1,000 fine last month for not paying motor fuel taxes. He’s been told to expect another $1,000 fine from the federal government. And to legally use veggie oil, state officials told him, he would have to first post a $2,500 bond.

The state of North Carolina has decided that they prefer the $1.2 billion annual revenue from gas taxes over freedom from foreign oil or environmental concerns.

Related Reading:

Biofuels and Sustainability: Holistic Perspectives for Policy-making (Science for Sustainable Societies)
Law 101: Everything You Need to Know About American Law, Fourth Edition
The 48 Laws of Power
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win

Green: Buying Locally

Posted in The Environment on June 13th, 2007

Transportation Cost Reduction

One method the average consumer can use to reduce their overall contribution to the world’s pollution is to, where and when feasible, to buy local or regional produce, meats and other foodstuffs. The rationale is that the “shorter” supply-chain will result in less energy being used to get the food from farm to table and therefore be greener to the environment.

Recent studies have found that “conventional” over-the-road transportation used 4 to 17 times more fuel and emitted 5 to 17 times more CO2 from burning of the fuel than a regional-based food distribution system. This is a growing problem. In 1965, there were an estimated 787,000 combination trucks registered in the United States, and these vehicles consumed 6.658 billion gallons of fuel. In 1997, there were 1,790,000 combination trucks that used 20.294 billion gallons of fuel! Many of these trucks transport food throughout the United States. A recent study indicated that in California alone more than 485,000 truckloads of fresh fruit and vegetables leave the state every year and travel an average of 1,500 miles to reach their destinations.

The energy used to transport a one pound can of corn to the consumer’s home and to prepare it exceeds the energy needed to produce the corn.

By encouraging and supporting local or regional food systems consumers can help the environment by dropping those transportation miles from an average of 1,500 miles to and average of only 45 miles.

Supporting Local & Regional Small Growers

By taking part in a local or regional food distribution system consumers would be in many cases supporting smaller growers who cannot compete with the large national agrobusines consortiums. Many smaller growers use far less chemicals – fertilizers or pesticides – than the larger growers do. Supporting their efforts would further reduce the overall environmental impact of food distribution.

The question is not whether small producers should participate in supermarket-driven supply chains but rather how they can do so in a manner that improves their livelihoods.

United Nations Conference On Trade & Development

Consumers can aid small growers, referred to as Smallholder, by choosing to by local or regional foodstuffs. Supermarkets base all or most of their policies on profitability. If the consumers choose to buy local or regional products as opposed to national or transnational brands, then supermarkets will choose to stock more local or regional goods.

Related Reading:

Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life
The Economics Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
Love Real Food: More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body
Creating Environments for Learning: Birth to Age Eight (3rd Edition)
How to Draw: drawing and sketching objects and environments from your imagination