False Facts from History Class

False fact: Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. Reality: By now you probably know that everything you were taught about Columbus is unreliable. For example, contrary to what you learned in school, the explorer did not discover America when he landed there in 1492; the land had previously been inhabited for centuries by Native Americans. Plus, many scholars believe that other explorers …

What is liberty or human freedom?

Two notions of liberty revisited – or how to disentangle Liberty and Slavery, by David Graeber 19 May 2013 https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/openeconomy/two-notions-of-liberty-revisited-or-how-to-disentangle-liberty-and-slavery/ The modern liberal concept of liberty has roots in Roman law and the Roman understanding of the master and the slave. We need to unpick that heritage to imagine a better basis for our political aspirations. Our idea of human …

To Be Energy-Efficient, Brains Predict Their Perceptions

Results from neural networks support the idea that brains are “prediction machines” — and that they work that way to conserve energy. https://www.quantamagazine.org/to-be-energy-efficient-brains-predict-their-perceptions-20211115/ How our brain, a three-pound mass of tissue encased within a bony skull, creates perceptions from sensations is a long-standing mystery. Abundant evidence and decades of sustained research suggest that the brain cannot simply be assembling sensory …

Electric aircraft calculations

By Paul Callister and Robert McLachlan, Clean Technica, Oct 2021, https://cleantechnica.com/2021/10/22/electric-aircraft-coming-soon-to-save-us-or-all-hype-greenwash/ It’s not easy keeping up with the rapidly changing world of electric aircraft. It can look like a blizzard of breathless media coverage, corporate press releases, animations, venture capital deals, and public offerings. But as the launch dates creep closer, companies have been releasing more details, which makes it possible …

Intentionally igniting racial anxiety to get or maintain political dominance

Excerpt from Charles M. Blow, NYTimes: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/03/opinion/youngkin-virginia-race.htmlf …the frenzy around critical race theory is just the latest in a long line of manufactured outrages meant to tap into this same fear, and the strategy has proved depressingly effective. There was the fear of “race-mixing” among children — including the notion that Black boys might begin dating white girls following the …

Toward participatory democracy, starting with 6 broad transitions to pursue locally

6 broad transitions in local policy and practice that can help local authorities advance and embed local participatory democracy: Equalising participation opportunities for residents. Building sustained participation journeys for residents. Delegating decision-making authority to residents. Embedding participation as standard practice. Engaging residents in partnership with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. Securing broad support for participation, within and beyond public …

Carsharing members reduce their average individual transportation energy use and GHG emissions by half

Karen Kockelman, 2016 Carsharing members reduce their average individual transportation energy use and GHG emissions by approximately 51% upon joining a carsharing organization. Collectively, these individual-level effects translate to roughly 5% savings in all household transport-related energy use and GHG emissions in the U.S. These energy and emissions savings can be primarily attributed to mode shifts and avoided travel, followed …

Human History Gets a Rewrite

A brilliant new account upends bedrock assumptions about 30,000 years of change. By William Deresiewicz, October 18, 2021, The Atlantic Many years ago, when I was a junior professor at Yale, I cold-called a colleague in the anthropology department for assistance with a project I was working on. I didn’t know anything about the guy; I just selected him because he …

The 2020 presidential elections saw the highest voter turnout in U.S. election history, including among poor and low-income voters (LIV) – 35 percent

…the Poor People’s Campaign released a groundbreaking report on the power of poor and low-income voters in the 2020 elections. Authored by Kairos Policy Director Shailly Gupta Barnes, the report demonstrates that low-income voters accounted for 35% of all votes in the Presidential election and even higher rates in battleground states. It also shows that the Poor People’s Campaign’s non-partisan …

These 7 efficiency policies could help avoid $8B in new gas plants, ACEEE says, and cost about 40 percent less

Utility Dive, Oct. 14, 2021, by Robert Walton excerpt: ACEEE’s analysis concludes that a set of seven residential efficiency and demand response retrofit measures could serve about 9 million Texas households and offset most of the capability of new proposed gas combined-cycle generators. And those residential programs would have a five-year total programmatic cost of about $4.9 billion, or 39% …