Monthly Archives: March 2010

How Oscar Romero got disappeared by right-wingers for the second time

http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:267798

So Texas is at it again, rewriting history books this time, rather than science, to suit a conservative right-wing political ideology. Except this time, they may have over-reached because even the mainstream media have jumped on them. Not sure where this is all headed, but it really shouldn’t be a surprise, should it? After all, it was just the other day (even as this textbook controversy was brewing in Texas) that the allegedly “liberal” National Public Radio felt compelled to bring on a rightwing ideologue to defile Howard Zinn’s legacy in their obituary piece the day after that historian died. So now NPR and Nightline are worried about the Texas revisions, eh. Imagine what they will do if someone tried to include parts of “A People’s History of the United States” in high school textbooks!! Let me know when that happens anywhere in this country… I’m not holding my breath. I can’t, because Jon Stewart is making me laugh at the absurdity of the whole thing – even as he educates his vast audience of young viewers about the legacy of Oscar Romero! Here’s an idea: why don’t we make watching The Daily Show required of high school students in Texas and elsewhere? The kids need to learn how to really critically parse what’s fed to them via textbooks and TV pundits, and how to laugh at the clowns!

Building a Future as Green as the Past – a podcast with Dr. Michael Rosenzweig

For those of you who missed Prof. Rosenzweig’s talk on Reconciliation Ecology here in Fresno last week, I am working on posting an audio recording on the Darwin’s Bulldogs podcast soon. Meanwhile, here is a shorter version of his ideas in the form of an interview podcast from the University of Arizona, with accompanying slides, many of which we saw in the talk last week. Enjoy the interview, and share your thoughts.

Did you say that California’s Central Valley faces a water crisis?

Did you really say that with a straight face? Try telling that to this lady in Ethiopia.

I’ve been reading about, studying, and living through ongoing water wars in California, which have intensified since last summer, with various “farmers” (which word has been coopted largely to mean agribusiness around here) accusing environmentalists and the federal government of creating a drought that is killing farms around here. No doubt we are in something of a crisis with large vested interests battling advocates of small fish and natural habitats in the world’s richest agricultural valley which also is home to some of the poorest people in the US! And no doubt, this conflict is likely to become worse when the local effects of global warming collide with expanding urbanization and development sucking up ever more from the sinking water table.

Yet, I can’t help but be amused (and, alternately, infuriated) that all the chest beating around here is done by people who merely have to turn the faucet to get as much water as they want to waste at home without even having to think about paying for it – because in cities like Fresno located in this semi-arid area, we do not even have water meters!!! And people here are up in arms about the very idea of installing meters, and paying for water based on how much we use!!

How will they cope, I wonder, if water supply was rationed and the faucets only ran twice a day, and we had to have our own individual drums and tanks to store water at home? Yet even that, which was how things were when I grew up on the outskirts of Bombay, was a comfortable existence for us, and we seldom felt any shortage of water.

What of the millions around the world who daily share this woman’s long march just to get enough water for sustenance? Not to mention those who may not even find a potful of water at the end of that mirage rainbow…

On this World Water Day, watch this film, walk virtually along with this woman (after setting your drink aside) on her daily trek for water. Then tell me – and yourself (not her, for she lives it) – what a real water crisis might be like! Think then of how we may still have enough time to solve our little water problems in this land of plenty.

[Hat-tip: Arati Rao via Facebook]

Did you say that California’s Central Valley faces a water crisis?

Did you really say that with a straight face? Try telling that to this lady in Ethiopia.

http://www.thewaterchannel.tv/components/com_hwdvideoshare/core/videoplayer/jwflv/mediaplayer.swf

I’ve been reading about, studying, and living through ongoing water wars in California, which have intensified since last summer, with various “farmers” (which word has been coopted largely to mean agribusiness around here) accusing environmentalists and the federal government of creating a drought that is killing farms around here. No doubt we are in something of a crisis with large vested interests battling advocates of small fish and natural habitats in the world’s richest agricultural valley which also is home to some of the poorest people in the US! And no doubt, this conflict is likely to become worse when the local effects of global warming collide with expanding urbanization and development sucking up ever more from the sinking water table.

Yet, I can’t help but be amused (and, alternately, infuriated) that all the chest beating around here is done by people who merely have to turn the faucet to get as much water as they want to waste at home without even having to think about paying for it – because in cities like Fresno located in this semi-arid area, we do not even have water meters!!! And people here are up in arms about the very idea of installing meters, and paying for water based on how much we use!!

How will they cope, I wonder, if water supply was rationed and the faucets only ran twice a day, and we had to have our own individual drums and tanks to store water at home? Yet even that, which was how things were when I grew up on the outskirts of Bombay, was a comfortable existence for us, and we seldom felt any shortage of water.

What of the millions around the world who daily share this woman’s long march just to get enough water for sustenance? Not to mention those who may not even find a potful of water at the end of that mirage rainbow…

On this World Water Day, watch this film, walk virtually along with this woman (after setting your drink aside) on her daily trek for water. Then tell me – and yourself (not her, for she lives it) – what a real water crisis might be like! Think then of how we may still have enough time to solve our little water problems in this land of plenty.

[Hat-tip: Arati Rao via Facebook]

Why are there so many bird species in the Himalayas?

This week, the CSU-Fresno Consortium for Evolutionary Studies brings you another public lecture in our Evolutionary Biology Lecture Series. On the evening of Thursday, March 25, 2010, join us at the Satellite Student Union on campus to hear Prof. Trevor Price of the University of Chicago tell us about his work on the origin, distribution, and maintenance of high bird species diversity in the Himalaya. The public talk starts at 7:30 PM, and you can download the flyer for the talk below. On the following afternoon, Dr. Price will give us another talk in the Biology department colloquium series.

I will try to share podcasts of both the talks – probably over spring break which starts next week. I still have the last few talks recorded that I mean to podcast as well. In my vast spare time…

Price-Himalaya-poster.pdf
Download this file

Jane Goodall on Bill Moyers Journal

A friend texted earlier this evening to alert me that Jane Goodall would be on PBS tonight! Bill Moyers hosts this wide ranging interview with Jane Goodall which first aired on his show last November, and was rebroadcast on PBS tonight. Its amazing how much energy / spirit this lady has, having led such a remarkable life. Here’s the entire interview, in two parts, followed by a short piece about her Roots and Shoots program. May she help you out of your depression, induced by the state of conservation or otherwise!