Elias presents ... a worm!    Thoughts on family, philosophy,
and technology


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My fourth music video

Kids are too funny.

This song was written and recorded about the same time as number three.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Conservationism versus environmentalism

We've become real conservationists at our house. We recycle or compost almost everything possible, shun toxic cleaners, and feel funny if a light is on in an empty room. The net is that our weekly garbage is about a quarter what it was a few months ago, there's not much that is poisonous on our property, and all our utility bills are lower. But we aren't environmentalists.

Here's a fine article that describes how conservationism is not environmentalism.

I didn't know Al Gore has said "the climate crisis is not a political issue; it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity." That's exactly wrong. If there really were human-caused global warming and it really were a bad thing and there really were something we could do about it, it would be primarily an engineering problem, not a moral issue.


Monday, May 19, 2008


We forgot to take a camera to Portland's Obama rally today, but fortunately the press took a picture of us -- see, there we are finding a little bit of shade. We stayed for 20 minutes, catching very-occasional glimpses between strangers' heads of a small blue shirt which seemed to be about a mile away. They say that with 75,000 attendees this was more than double the size of any previous Obama rally. (An interesting fact to juxtapose is that Portland is supposedly the whitest major U.S. city.)

Although I think this man will probably become president even though his platform is almost entirely toxic, I didn't feel anything about the rally. The ominous thing to me is not that the pendulum is swinging to the left (it's gotta swing somewhere), but that popular politics are so a-rational. "Belief", "hope", and "change" are just plain vacuous. Is this intellectual void rooted in some aversion to cognition in politics? Why not depict a campaign with catchwords related to socialism, pacifism, environmentalism, and abortion rights if that's what you're itchin' for? (If the issue is just that such words don't fit on hand-held signs and bumper stickers, I have an idea: make an acronym out of them, then have seventy-five thousand people chanting "SPEAR! SPEAR! SPEAR!" under Portland's long-lost sun.)

Or are campaigns so vague because superficiality is the only way to amass majority support? Because everyone disagrees about any position much less watered-down than "war is bad" or "health care is good"? Perhaps this contentiousness explains why W turned out to be exactly what he said he was, yet somehow three-quarters of voters now disapprove of him.

Either way, it seems to me the euphoria of Obama's rallys evidence not so much a change in national politics, but the disintegration of culture as it stands circa 2008.