Sunday, July 15, 2018

33 results for 'Tom Lewis'

Blizzard Strikes US: Drops National IQ 24 Inches

By Tom Lewis, published on Feb 11, 2010

Two snowstorms of epic proportions in quick succession this month have triggered mass episodes of brain trauma among the public, and among public figures.

Drivers, of course, are the first to be afflicted. The third consecutive flake of snow divides all drivers (in all but the northernmost tier of states) into two categories: the feckless and the reckless. The feckless feel safer driving at 15 miles per hour, no matter how desperately momentum is needed to get up the next icy rise in the road, and no matter how many dozens of vehicles are stacked up behind them. They obey the legendary... (more)

Tags: global warming, climate change, 2010 blizzard, 2010 snowstorm

On Writing: The Vigilante

By Tom Lewis, published on Feb 4, 2010

She came up to me after I had spoken at one of those writers' club affairs. I make a point of addressing them whenever asked, so I can discourage people from becoming writers. To anyone who asks about getting into this line of work I give the same counsel: "Don't do it! Unless you absolutely have to. If your fingers begin to type involuntarily in midair if you haven't written anything for a day, you might be a writer. If you get physical symptoms -- stomach ache, lightheadedness, extreme grouchiness -- after abstaining from writing for a week, you might be a writer. Otherwise forget it. You... (more)

Tags: writing, writers clubs

All of Our Aquifers are Leaking

By Tom Lewis, published on Feb 1, 2010

Relentlessly, our industrial society continues to destroy the natural resources essential to its survival, with industrial agriculture leading the way. Perhaps the worst -- and least recognized -- example, in terms of the accelerating pace and ominous portents of the destruction, is the depletion of water resources by over-consumption.

This is not a matter of new discoveries. We have known for decades, although we continue to ignore it, that we are drawing down the aquifers -- underground reservoirs of water tapped by wells -- that make industrial agriculture possible. Irrigators are... (more)

Tags: food production, industrial agriculture, agribusiness, irrigation, drought, water shortage, aquifers, ogallala aquifer

On Writing: The Poet

By Tom Lewis, published on Jan 27, 2010

The young man had landed a job as a writer -- a well-paying job at that -- at one of the largest book publishing companies in the country, and he was desperately unhappy. The editor came across him one evening, slumped over his desk in his office. (Yes, it was a time long ago and a galaxy far away in which every staff writer, even a brand new one, got an office with walls all the way to the ceiling. With a door. That closed.) The editor thought he should offer help, or at least consolation, so he asked what was wrong.

To comprehend the young man's despair you have to know a little about... (more)

Tags: writing, poet, time-life books

Supreme Court Invalidates Democracy

By Tom Lewis, published on Jan 22, 2010

Anyone who still hoped, against all the evidence, that the American democracy could be saved from strangulation by the pervasive and increasing death-grip of big money, has just been served with a do-not-resuscitate order by the Supreme Court of the United States. No greater perversion of the principles of our Constitution, and of the language we use to talk about it, can be imagined.

The court ruled that the Congress may not restrict the ability of corporations to spend as much as they want, to advocate in any way they see fit, the election or defeat of any political candidate. The... (more)

Tags: first amendment, supreme court, campaign finance reform, corporate contributions

Massachusetts Choosing

By Tom Lewis, published on Jan 19, 2010

Political operatives -- the ones who run the machinery of campaigns, not the chest-thumping sloganeers who run for office -- know things about elections that almost never get on TV. The operatives get on TV, endlessly it seems, but they don't usually talk about realities. TV producers prefer to pretend that politics is a vast contest of ideas, in which policies and ideas and speeches are deployed as on a chess board with the cleverer player, the winner.

In this bogus narrative, uniformly imposed on our politics across all the media, a "man of the people" can suddenly ignite the flames... (more)

Tags: massachusetts special election, massachusetts senate election, kennedy senate seat

Haiti: Apocalypse Now, Apocalypse Foretold

By Tom Lewis, published on Jan 13, 2010

If we were rational people, the evacuation of California would begin today. The destruction of Haiti by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake is not only an immense catastrophe, of Biblical proportions, for that accursed country, but is also a prophecy for California. Earthquakes do not strike only the poor. Nor are they always a surprise.

Along geological fault lines, where tectonic plates -- huge chunks of the earth's crust, floating like enormous icebergs on the molten magma of the earths interior -- grind past or into each other, the accumulation of strain and its release as earthquakes is... (more)

Tags: los angeles, san francisco, california, earthquake, haiti

Oil: Looking a Little Peaked

By Tom Lewis, published on Jan 7, 2010

When our car's odometer shows us two or three zeros in a row, we tend for a short time to think about its welfare over the long term, not just how much gas is left in the tank. How well have we been maintaining it, what is its life expectancy now, what are the probabilities of major problems? Then, usually, we go back to sticking the key in the ignition and filling the tank.

When changing the calendar shows us a zero in the year's designation, something similar happens, or should. We tend to review, briefly, the longer-term trends in the country, in our health, in our prospects. Such... (more)

Tags: peak oil, energy conservation

You Want Fries with That? Bacteria? Ammonia?

By Tom Lewis, published on Jan 4, 2010

Two little-noticed stories during the year-end holiday period demonstrated the ominous, increasing stresses on our industrial food-supply system, and the absence of any rational, let alone effective, measures to safeguard it.

First, a 16-state outbreak of E. Coli contamination in meat, sickened more than 20 people in the Midwest and required the recall of a quarter-million pounds of beef. Escherichia coli is a formerly harmless family of bacteria that live in the lower intestines of warm-blooded animals and, especially in cattle, assist in digestion. Among the bacteria detected in the... (more)


The 10 Best Scams of 2009. Maybe Ever.

By Tom Lewis, published on Dec 24, 2009

There may be a universe in which the following ten propositions are true, or useful, or have some redeeming social value. But writers are advised constantly to write about what they know. The basis of this advice is that when you derive what you say, think, imagine or predict from the evidence of your eyes and ears, what you say, etc., will be authentic. Without that grounding, it will not be.

The following propositions are so big, so loudly proclaimed and widely held, that millions of Americans believe them and millions more who know better are forced to play defense against the believers... (more)

Tags: sex, politics, health care, taxes, financial reform

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