Sunday, October 16, 2016

What will become of libraries?

"Besides, it's easy to criticize. But when was the last time any of these traditionalists even stepped foot in a library? When I was growing up in the 1970s, libraries were where you went to read books and research papers. They were a portal to new and exciting worlds, a pathway to adventure.
Today, we do all that through electronic devices we can hold in the palm of our hand. Public libraries could soon become just another relic of the past, like the full-service gas station, the five-and-dime and the soda fountain in the corner drugstore."

So what should libraries be doing now that almost any needed bit of information or entertainment can be found in a little magic box we carry around?  How about Internet connection for those who can't otherwise reach it?  How about access to the latest technologies before most people know how to use them?  And how about video games?  
I am happy to see that libraries are flexible enough to move with the times and still provide useful stuff for the public.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The future of farming? Using sea water

"It’s the first agricultural system of its kind in the world and uses no soil, pesticides, fossil fuels or groundwater. As the demand for fresh water and energy continues to rise, this might be the face of farming in the future.
An international team of scientists have spent the last six years fine-tuning the design – first with a pilot greenhouse built in 2010; then with a commercial-scale facility that began construction in 2014 and was officially launched today."

wow, I hadn't heard of this before.  Looks great!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Using vacant homes to handle the homeless problem

"The non-profit Well House is moving people out of homelessness and into permanent shared housing by buying up vacant homes, bringing them up to code, and then renting rooms to people who have no housing. All at a cost of just $275 a month.
VandenBerg told FOX 17 Thursday that Well House has pulled 121 people off of the streets in just three years, and 92 percent of those people have stayed out of homelessness.
In addition, Well House is providing individuals with jobs, hiring them to work on other vacant homes to provide even more housing."

This seems to me to fix 2 problems at once, abandoned houses and homeless people.  I would think this would be especially good for homeless families. There are long-empty houses in my neighborhood that I would like to see filled with people who need shelter.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Blogger promotes universal basic income

"I'm a writer and now increasingly an activist spending as much time and resources I have working to spread awareness for the idea of a basic income guarantee (BIG) - one whose time has come here in the 21st century where technology is now forcing our hand. Without an income platform set just above the poverty level as a bare minimum, I believe poverty and inequality will continue to grow, the middle classes will continue to shrink, and the livelihoods of all but the top fifth of society will continue to slip away. But it doesn't have to be that way. We're better than that. We can turn all of this on its head, and instead of things continuing to get worse, we can make things better than they've ever been. We can reduce risk and so propel innovation and creativity to new heights. We can reduce fears of unemployment and purposely eliminate low-skill jobs better performed by machines, freeing us to intrinsically do all the work that drives us. We can stop wasting so many resources on fighting the fires of our lives, and instead prevent them from ever lighting in the first place. We need only make the choice. The path is ours to take."

here's  a guy thinking this stuff through.  A good resource.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

a small idea to keep people safe

"Denton Police Chief Mark Hicks said his department established the exchange site April 18. The farmers market is located across from Harrison Park and is under 24-hour video surveillance.
“My main goal is for people to feel safe when they do their Internet exchange for items they are buying or selling,” Hicks said.
Hicks said he got the idea after he saw an exchange site in Apex. He thought it would be a good idea because of people making transactions through yard sales pages on Facebook and through Craigslist.
Hicks said there are stories of people meeting who get robbed or even killed. While there haven’t been any of these incidences in Denton, Hicks is trying to prevent them from happening.
Anyone, regardless of where they live, can utilize Denton’s exchange location. Hicks said all of the videotapes of the surveillance from the farmers market will be stored at the Denton Police Department, so officers can go back and look at the footage if there is an incident."

Just a simple idea to fix a small problem.  Makes the world a better place.

strain between capitalism and democracy

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Yet, as Professor Dani Rodrik of Harvard University has noted, globalisation constrains national autonomy. He writes that 'democracy, national sovereignty and global economic integration are mutually incompatible: we can combine any two of the three but never have all three simultaneously and in full'. If countries are free to set national regulations, the freedom to buy and sell across frontiers will be reduced. Alternatively, if barriers are removed and regulations harmonised, the legislative autonomy of states will be limited. Freedom of capital to cross borders is particularly likely to constrain states’ ability to set their own taxes and regulations.
Moreover, a common feature of periods of globalisation is mass migration. Movement across borders creates the most extreme conflict between individual liberty and democratic sovereignty. The former says that people should be allowed to move where they like. The latter says that citizenship is a collective property right, access to which citizens control. Meanwhile, businesses view the ability to hire freely as invaluable. It is not merely unsurprising that migration has become the lightning rod of contemporary democratic politics. Migration is bound to create friction between national democracy and global economic opportunity."

This is a jam-packed article that brings up a lot of important issues.  I hope it gets widely read and considered.