Friday, April 8

The lifestyle center is a bizarre outgrowth of the suburban mentality: People want public space, even if making that space private is the only way to get it.

Monday, April 4

"Creationism comes from within"
The two articles linked below note the liberal origins of of the anti-science climate that has allowed the recent rise of religious based "science."
This article in the New Humanist describes the "Vedic-science" claims in India that sound a lot like American "faith-based science" to me.
Over at Spiked-online, liberal relativism is implicated in facilitating the rise of American creationism more directly.
Being in grad school myself these days, I often see the "cultural-relativist" approach taken to science. I hear teachers talk about science as an "ideology," and generally display their misunderstanding of basic accepted truths of modern science (like evolution) in the classroom without any protest or debate (because facts just get in the way of cultural theory).
It's not just in the rarefied climes of The Nation that this sense of liberal unreality surfaces. Barely three weeks after the election the trendy, the motor force of the so-called "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," rallied its adherents coast-to-coast in a round of 1,600 house meetings. The assembled liberal activists -- some 18,000 -- polled themselves and then published their top six political priorities. The results, in order, tell you all you need to know about the current state of progressive detachment and denial. Election reform and media reform came in first and second. The war in Iraq was third, followed by the environment, the Supreme Court, and civil liberties. In short, the biggest problems liberals face are those damned voting machines and Fox News. Glaringly absent from this activist wish list is anything vaguely resembling an aggressive populist agenda. The MoveOn plan provides no answers to those sweaty plebes out there who are "stoked" by kulturkampf rhetoric as well as all-too-real fears about their jobs, wages, health insurance, and school tuition.
A review of George Lakoff's book "Don't Think of an Elephant."

Saturday, April 2

I’ve always had a problem paying for bottled water, especially when the standards for tap water in the United States are so high (and the benefits of bottled water, other than its portability, are truly questionable). So the other day while doing a little asset inspection in Florida (i.e., walking roofs), one of the real estate brokers assisting us stops by with some bottled water. Dasani, manufactured by Coca Cola, to be specific.

So I’m drinking the water, fine, no problem, I’m thirsty, it’s doing the job…and then I notice a little blurb on the side of the bottle:

DASANI is filtered for purity, using state of the art treatment by reverse osmosis, and enhanced with minerals for a pure, fresh taste. DASANI is water – pure and essential.

Now I guess I’m just slow, but this is the first time I’d realized that some of this expensive* bottled water doesn’t actually come from springs. It’s treated tap water! On top of this, they add minerals to flavor it – to artificially make it taste more like real mineral water. Then, to make matters worse, they add SALT! Leave it to Coke to turn something as pure as water into what is essentially a “soft drink”. It’s no wonder that they feel the need to reassure you of the “water-ness” of their product: “DASANI is water – pure and essential.”

Combine all of these concerns with the added externality that one creates as a consumer of this product – waste plastic. Hopefully most of these bottles get recycled. My guess is that a significant number of them end up in landfills.

Ah, the commoditization of the gifts of the earth – thank you Coke, and the rest of the bottled water industry for taking something natural and adding a layer of marketing (and plastic) to it.

(* NOTE: I say expensive because most people already pay for tap water from their municipality…so all bottled water is expensive because you’re paying again for something you already have.)