33 results for 'Tom Lewis'
It's not quite the infinite-energy-from-tap-water-via-cold-fusion miracle that industrialists have been assuring us is just around the corner -- the sudden scientific panacea that would painlessly and profitably avert our rush toward energy catastrophe. But hydraulic fracturing, invented by Halliburton and beloved of Exxon, is close.
A frack job (sorry about the headline, but I have to get you to read this stuff somehow) involves injecting water, sand, and an unknown number of unknown chemicals (more on this later), under tremendous pressure, into a bed of shale deep underground that... (more)
The company calls itself AltaRock, which translates roughly from the Nordish as “getting high on rocks.” With a $6 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department and $30 million in venture capital (translation: “lottery ticket”), the firm set out to show the world how to turn true geothermal energy — that is, the heat in deep rock — into a major source of alternative, renewable energy. Last Friday, it showed the world how to abandon a project and make itself virtually invisible.
If you have heard me sing this song before, please join me in the chorus: “Renewable is not sustainable if... (more)
We can hardly imagine what pressures are brought to bear on a young president to make sure he does not use the theoretical powers of the presidency to overturn any of the apple-carts of the military/industrial complex (or missile-carts or whatever they may be). But we know that they work.
We know because we heard President Barack Obama say this morning in Oslo, as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009, "war is sometimes necessary." Not only now, but in the future, nations "will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified." This is "a recognition of history," he... (more)
If you've ever heard a public-address system screech, you've heard a feedback loop in action. The microphone picks up a little noise, the amplifier makes it louder, sends it out through the speaker, whereupon it is picked up by the mike and amplified again until it turns into a primal scream.
Feedback loops are accelerating the effects of the greenhouse effect on global climate. Increased amounts of pollutants such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, acting like the glass in a greenhouse, trap solar radiation near the earth's surface, raising the temperature. As it gets warmer in the... (more)
Another American president is trying to find a middle ground between the rock of the right-wing hawks and the hard place of the left-wing pacifists. Another American president is trying to be a little bit at war by dribbling troops into a far place, using borrowed money, to fight and die for no clear purpose. Another American president is trying to stake out high moral ground with both feet sunk deep in the sewer of a partnership with a corrupt government. Welcome to Afghanistan.
Last Friday, Bill Moyers did a great service to the country, on his PBS program Bill Moyers Journal, by playing... (more)
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -- George Santayana
The foreigners came from the sea, amazing us with their guns and ships and numbers. They only wanted one thing, a thing we did not value, and when we asked them why they wanted it, they said it made them rich, and if we helped them find it they would make us rich, too, but if we interfered with them they would kill us. So some of us died, and some of us got rich, with things we had never needed before, things that made life easier, but not much better. And then we ran out of the thing the foreigners... (more)
Monoculture is a form of mass suicide practiced by groups of people who think they are smarter than Mother Nature. The Irish put their faith in the potato, and the potato famine that resulted nearly extinguished them. In vast reaches of the equatorial world, the potato equivalent -- the staple food without which life is not sustainable -- is the banana.
The banana famine is imminent. A country such as ours, whose economy and diet depends heavily on one plant -- corn -- should pay attention.
Industrial agriculture has done the same thing with bananas that it has done with every... (more)
Among the industrial systems being strained to and beyond their limits by the tensions between growing demand and limited supplies is the electrical network of every industrialized country. Brazil is just the latest to experience the consequences of breaking circuit breakers.
Tuesday night, cascading failures of 15 major transmission lines plunged two-thirds of Brazil and all of Paraguay into darkness. 60 million people were without power for four hours. There were fears of foul play, after the CBS news program "60 Minutes" reported Sunday that an earlier blackout in Brazil had been... (more)
Even after you have accepted the degree to which money has locked down the American political system, and hence its government; after you realize that there are really no more Democrats and Republicans in American politics, just Moneycrats and losers; it can still be astonishing what Money can do.
In Ohio this year, Big Agriculture decided it was threatened by the pesky people from the Humane Society of the United States who have persuaded several states to moderate the brutal treatment of animals in factory farms -- such things as confining nursing sows in cages so small they can neither... (more)
Just about a year ago, for the first time in modern American history, voters selected a president who had not been vetted and funded by Big Money. In the euphoria of the celebration, we did not notice for a while that no similar winds of change had blown through the Congress. As a result the drive for health care reform (or was it health care insurance reform? Or both?) by the new president, with the backing of about 70 per cent of the American people, has not only missed the cup, in the parlance of golf, but the green, and cannot be found anywhere on the fairway. They are out among the... (more)