10 cool reads that crossed my path recently:
1. The Plastic Sea: “The simple fact is that when you drop a Styrofoam cup onto the street, you’re causing more damage than you would by dropping a stick of dynamite into the ocean. You set in motion an invasion of thousands of killer plastibots that will cause death and destruction for centuries to come.” See also A Primeval Tide of Toxins.
2. How Bush Makes Enemies: “Today, more from the muddled strategic thinking of the Bush administration than the actual threat from Al Qaeda, the “war on terror” has become an Orwellian nightmare: an ill-defined war without prospect of end. We are now nearly five years into a war against a group that was said to contain no more then 500 to 1,000 terrorists at the start (in case anyone’s counting, 1,776 days have now passed since 9/11; that is more than a full year longer than the time between Pearl Harbor and the surrender of Japan, which was 1,347 days). The war just grows and grows. And now Lebanon, too, is part of it.” I was just plain struck by these stats. Fundamentally, I want the killing to stop.
3. The New Organization: “Organisation man did bump into people in corridors, but he was cautious about networking. In his world, knowledge was power, and he needed to be careful about sharing out his particular store of it. He found comfort in hierarchy, which obviated the need to be self-motivating and take risks. He lived in a highly structured world where lines of authority were clearly drawn on charts, decisions were made on high, and knowledge resided in manuals.
Networked person, by contrast, takes decisions all the time, guided by the knowledge base she has access to, the corporate culture she has embraced, and the colleagues with whom she is constantly communicating. She interacts with a far greater number of people than her father did.” via
4. The Ecotone Archives 2003-2006: The archives of a placeblogging project I helped start three years ago.
5. Ten Essential Canadian books of fiction: “Imaginative works, our panel decided after vigorous debate, dive deeper into the national psyche than non-fiction. Here are 10 novels and books of poetry you need to read to understand the inner lives of Canadians, our fears and frictions, our cultural history.” The ten were derived from this list. In BC, The Tyee has a different opinion.
6. Hawaiian Folk Tales Index: “This is an anthology of Hawaiian folklore, including pieces by Thomas Thrum and other writers. This includes many articles which were originally published in difficult to obtain journals and now-rare books. All were written in the late 19th or early 20th century, and are mostly based on first-hand oral traditions. Chapters cover topics such as resemblances to Biblical stories, myths of the gods and goddesses such as Maui and Pele, historical legends, topographical folklore, and the folklore of fishing.”
7. Starry Night in Beirut: An improvisation for bass clarinet (I think) and bombs.
8. Playing the Right Thing – Chris Corrigan: “I think Chris Corrigan is one of the best guitar players in Canada. The integrity and good taste he brings to every note knocks me dead. But I’m almost reluctant to make this disclosure, lest the Wide World catches on, and he gets snatched away from the East Coast.” Nice, but this is NOT about me. For years people have been asking me if I was this Chris Corrigan. We both play Celtic music, we’re both on the radio from time to time, we both live on islands. About time we recorded something together, eh? (I sound like this, by the way).
9. Answers for Young People. Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the world wide web, has a lovely page explaing the web, and his life, for young folks.
10. Kati Sarinnen on unschooling and uniqueness. My new friend, a lovely writer and a reflective thinkiner on gardening and life learning:
“I know from experience what it is like to be the parent of a child that does not fit the mold, cannot meet the expectations at the exact time and in the exact way educators at a certain time and in a certain place require. This is to teach that a child with unique talents and wisdom is a failure. And that is so wrong.
The world is deprived of that child if the parents and child give up and don’t realize that that child has so much to contribute, in a different point of view, in creativity, in skill sets, that a narrow approach shuts off, if we allow it. What the world needs, what industry and business need, (what they say they need but behave in opposition to, far too often in actuality) is a person with a fresh perspective, creative insight, skill in independent problem solving! The child whose spark is not extinguished in most school experiences, will go on to do great things in this world — and maybe not in the way we expect.”