And that’s the way it is … for now. (Click map to enlarge.)
There are a number of books out referring to how we’re in the midst of another mass extinction. I’ve recently finished reading “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction,” and have just picked up “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.”
As the promotional material for “The Sixth Extinction” explains:
Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.
(First of all, to the creationists: Yes, the Earth is billions of years old.)
But let’s look at what this really means. This is a chart of the total weight of land animals on Earth (via XKCD):
There aren’t that many wild animals left. Human behavior is killing everything. Mass extinctions take thousands of years. None of us will be around when the one we’re currently in is over, but more important, the way things are going, the human species may not exist when this mass extinction runs its course.
It’s pretty sad to hear a convincing argument on why Richard Nixon was a better president for the poor than Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. But when he explains that Nixon’s social programs were the result of a powerful liberal coalition that fought for those causes, it’s clear the results were inevitable.
The University of Louisville’s men’s basketball team has a history of dunkmasters, but current sophomore Montrezl Harrell has set the team record for a season.
And that dunk against the University of Michigan from last year? Those were his only two points in the national championship game.
The next time your crazy, Tea Bagging Uncle Muggs bloviates on how that Kenyan, socialist usurper in the White House and every pinko commie Democrat president (and he will say “Democrat” instead of “Democratic” because that’s the way Tea Baggers speak) are giving away the hard-earned cash of America’s job creators to the moocher class, pull out this chart (via Bloomberg):
1) The “job creators” put their money in the stock market because they have so much of it. There’s no where else to put it. The “moocher class” doesn’t put money in the stock market, because, hey, ya gotta eat. So, really, who do you think is suffering when a president actually talks about raising a minimum wage? That guy with the top hat and the monocle on the Monopoly board?
2) The premise of this chart is flawed, because anyone who knows anything about investing in the stock market will say you don’t pull all your money out of it when there’s a president of a different party in office. Surely, you can’t believe that the minute Bill Clinton and Barack Obama walked in the White House, the billionaires funding the Tea Party called their stock brokers and said “Sell everything. We’ve got to get out of this commie market!” They left their cash where it was, and the billions flowed in.
On the other hand, your crazy, Tea Bagging Uncle Muggs is the kind of guy who did sell all of his stocks and buried his cash in his backyard bomb shelter when the hated Democrats took power.
That might explain why he’s so pissed off that his retirement fund that “hasn’t done Jack” since he built his portfolio when Dick Nixon took office. (I would have said “began his 401(k),” but those didn’t exist until Jimmy Carter’s administration, and Uncle Muggs would never put his money in anything that was created when that peanut farmer was president.)
Yeah, that chart proves the Democrats hate capitalism. After all, it grows like weeds when they’re in office.
Given that Bill Nye the science guy went to the Creation Museum last week and had a “debate” on whether evolution was real, why not just give up and let the God folks determine science and math and history and geology and all that other good stuff that moved us into the 21st century?
Why did Nye not just say, “Are you out of your mind?” When your argument is, “Because God says so,” that immediately means that there is no scientific basis for anything the creationists say. When you pit the peer-reviewed findings of Nobel Prize winning scientists against first century illiteracy (the guys who the books of the Bible were named after were shepherds and fishermen, for God’s sake), why (oh, why?) was the thing they had at the Creation Museum (right here in Kentucky) even thought of as a “debate.” Debate means both sides have strong foundations for their arguments.
When one side’s “argument” over more than an hour has less of a scientific foundation than the theme song of “The Big Bang Theory,” which in its full version lasts about two minutes, calling that a debate is a travesty.
Let me emphasize this the best way I can. Here’s the debate:
The evolution side:
The creationist side:
The evolution side rests.
This is an amazingly kind thing to do (from USA Today).
After hearing last week that dozens of Utah students had their school lunches taken because their accounts were delinquent, a Texas man decided to help students in similar situations near him.
Kenny Thompson, a 52-year-old mentor and tutor at Valley Oaks Elementary School in Houston, did some research and learned that children at the school where he works were receiving cold cheese sandwiches or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead of full trays of food because they had negative balances on their lunch accounts.
These were children whose parents couldn’t afford the 40 cents per day fee, so Thompson took $465 and paid off the delinquent accounts of 60 children, KPRC television reports.
Because the following were amazingly evil things to do:
Up to 40 kids at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City picked up their lunches Tuesday, then watched as the meals were taken and thrown away because of outstanding balances on their accounts — a move that shocked and angered parents.
“It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter had her cafeteria lunch taken from her as she stood in line Tuesday at Uintah Elementary School, 1571 E. 1300 South.
A St. Louis County cafeteria worker is out of a job after giving away free meals to a child in need.
For two years, Dianne Brame worked as a cafeteria manager at Hudson Elementary in Webster Groves, keeping kids’ bellies full for their all-important task of learning.
The lunch lady loved her job: “I knew kids by their names, I knew their likes and dislikes, so it was just fun.”
But recently, she came across a fourth grader who consistently came without money. She says he used to be on the free lunch program, but language barriers got in the way of reapplying: “I sent them paperwork so that they could get back in contact with me, but it didn’t happen,” she says.
For days, Brame snuck the boy lunches. She explains, “I let his account get over $45 which I’m only supposed to let it get over $10, and I started letting him come through my lunch line without putting his number in, and they look at that as stealing. I thought it was just taking care of a kid.”
She was trying to protect him from the bullying: a cruel side dish to the default cheese sandwich given to kids without lunch money.
So, less than $500 will help ensure 60 American children have at least one decent meal a day. Otherwise, they go hungry, and people who attempt to feed them lose their jobs.
There are a lot of poor people in the U.S. and as the middle-class shrinks, it’s not because more middle-income workers are becoming rich. It’s because more of them are becoming poor. And those hardest hit by poverty are children.
So it’s always a good time to understand economic history. And since I haven’t referred to Paul Krugman in a while, maybe it’s time to look into the YouTube vault and hear him talk about income inequality and how we’ve gotten there:
Income inequality, poverty, hungry children. They’re all related. And as the generosity of one man in Texas shows, it really doesn’t take much to help children in need.
It used to always be cold, but with global warming, when it gets cold today, we think it’s colder than usual. Which means, were getting used to global warming. Like the frog in boiling water.
Hey, folks. That sudden jolt Al Gore is talking about is our freaking out about cold temperatures that were once something we were used to.
Which means we’re acclimating to warmer weather.
Which means the planet is warming.
Because it’s important to understand that we think things are bad, but we can’t even conceive how horrible they really are. For all but 1% of the American population, of course.