Showing posts from June, 2008

Framing the sky

While leafing through George Lakoff's new book, The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain , I was quite happily surprised to discover that an entire chapter was devoted to promoting Peter Barnes's idea of a "Sky Trust" as a means for fighting air pollution. So, what exactly is a Sky Trust? Peter Barnes (entrepreneur of Working Assets fame) has been promoting the idea of trusteeship as a way of managing common natural resources for quite a while now, including in his excellent 2006 book Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons ( read it online right now!) It's hard to imagine dividing up an atmosphere into conventional units of private property, but by creating a private, non-for-profit trusteeship that "owns" the entire atmosphere over an area, giving everybody in the area a non-transferable share in ownership and charging those who pollute or damage the air (and redistributi

Carl Sagan in the zeitgeist

Jim Lippard recently devoted an excellent post to a thorough takedown of Zeitgeist: The Movie , a weird, conspiracy theory-centered movie that's been spreading virally online (it can be viewed on Google Video in its entirety) for the past year. This is pretty pitiful even by the very low standards of CT movies like Loose Change or America: Freedom to Fascism (both of which Zeitgeist borrows directly and heavily from); as Lippard puts it, Zeitgeist is a "piece of pernicious nonsense" which is "almost entirely garbage, dependent on crackpot sources". Plus, it's heavily dependent on video and audio footage "borrowed" from other sources, and crude and cheap motion graphics, to fill out its running time. But I find it interesting, almost despite myself, for two reasons: 1: It juxtaposes conventional CT subject matter in its last two-thirds (about 9/11 and the Federal Reserve) with a first third about the origins of Christianity, which echoes

Is this blog worth $50?

A couple of days ago, I received an email offering to buy my blog for $50. I turned down the offer, but I've got to say that amount is far more than I've ever made from my blog, and I wonder just how much I'd have to be offered to sell it. Throw in a few zeroes at the end, and who knows.... Anyway, I needed something to write about to get back in action after the longer-than-usual lull, and that might as well be it.