Long story short, bacteria in the atmosphere act as special particles for the formation of ice crystals that lead to clouds. Unlike other particles, the bacteria raise the temperature at which those ice crystals can form. Meaning they can make clouds when it's otherwise too warm, essentially.
I'm really impressed with this sort of thing. If you've ever read the work of the brilliant microbiologist Lynn Margulis, you've learned that the living world as we know it is pretty much conditioned by the kingdom Monera, which functions as a giant, hyper-evolving sort of superorganism because of its enormous rate of gene transfer.
Just thought I'd write a rough list of current projects focused in America organized along anarchist lines, either deliberately or by, I don't know what you'd call it, convergent evolution? This isn't meant to be exclusionary, so add on or critique this list as much as you want.
*P2P filesharing in general
*Food Not Bombs
*Food Not Lawns
*Yellow Bike Project
*Micropower and/or cooperative radio stations
*Ithaca Health Fund
*Infoshops and collective bookstores
*Freeschools and skillshares
Kevin Phillips has a great piece in the current Harpers about how the economy is much shakier than is painted by official stats. Essentially, they've been tweaking the meaning of the Consumer Price Index, unemployment, etc. for decades, and if we used the older standards our rates wold be far more worrisome. Our unemployment rates would be close to those in Europe, etc.
Here's a telling line:
'"All in all," Williams points out, "if you were to peel back changes that were made in the CPI going back to the Carter years, you'd see that the CPI would now be 3.5 percent to 4 percent higher"—meaning that, because of lost CPI increases, Social Security checks would be 70 percent greater than they currently are.'
Submitted by GustavLandauer on Sat, 05/10/2008 - 6:00pm
I was reading a very interesting book earlier that critiques some of the New Age interpretations of physics that have sprung up in popular press. This holds especially for subjects like quantum mechanics, whose theoretical implications have been used to justify an array of quasi-mystical beliefs. The author takes great pains to argue the purely materialistic foundation of quantum mechanics, and to explain that some of the most "provocative" theories to spring up from the field are exactly that- theories.
I've gotten the impression recently that activist types and lefties often fall behind the curve in adopting new communications and organizational tools for their work. I certainly do- I feel barely competent to use a phone or a chart effectively. But we shouldn't make a fortress of our weaknesses, and it's always good to experiment with new tools.
New communications tools offer cheap, instantaneous methods for coordinating actions or deliberating efficiently among a group. The internet offers us an opportunity very rare and precious- for once, a playing field that is not quite level, but at leasts tends towards leveling, towards the power of democratic crowd action in expressing and acting upon ideas and beliefs. Let's milk it for what it's worth.
So, some folks may have noticed that there's a whole bunch of crap going on with the SEIU right now. They've got a civil war brewing in California, and SEIU and the CNA/NNOC (nurse's union) are taking out adjacent attack ads on progressive blogs. Very confusing. Whose side is right?
Well, I'm not going to tell you because fuck if I know, but here's a good article from In These Times, a very fantabulous lefty magazine (that we in fact carry, so come on in and support your friendly neighborhood radical bookstore AND a badass lefty magazine with great writing and magnificent journalism).
I've been hanging out with some unabashed Bolshies lately, and it has gotten me to thinking about the nature of the radical political party. Marxists always seem to organize in the form of a radical party or something that looks like a radical party. Like-minded folks organize to espouse a set of political beliefs in different organizations vested with Power in society or attempting to form a counter-power (unions, mass movements, etc). The party exists as a core of devoted organizers and intellectuals and either leads popular movements or maintains a constructive dialog with those movements, ideally at least.
In these dark and frustrating times, with corrupt international politics and nihilistic global business practices, a looming mass ecocide, and rulers desperate to launch another world war, I find it personally reassuring to reflect upon and learn about some of the more wonderful aspects of the human experience. There are the small things, the everyday, the existentially poignant, and they do make barbarisms from On High seem foolish and absurd. But I find a retreat into the intensity of the moment insufficient on its own. Though there is a deeper truth and power to the intensity of the immediate encounter and the lived opening up of the world, I need reassurance that groups of people, human systems, can create wonderful things, and can access a larger truth collectively.