Well, in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Abbaba someone decided no traffic controls were needed in a very busy intersection. I just came across this video, which I found quite amazing. As you watch, look for fender benders (I saw NONE!) and watch pedestrains calmly saunter across.
Earth Day has lost its bloom, no pun intended. After 40+ years of warnings of imminent cataclysm the one thing we know for sure is that we're still here and going strong. In fact, by most measures the world is in better shape today than at any time in history. But environmentalism has become a very big industry, giving rise to a whole new cadre of preachy, self-righteous millionaires who rely on pseudo-science or jerryrigged statistics to scare a population into an agenda that is purely "progressive".
Jon Gabriel offers a shocking indictment of these enviro-tyrants in their own words in his article The 13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day 1970.
A few examples:
“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald
“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”— New York Times editorial
“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter
“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
If nothing else, these professional doomsday prophets have lost any right to expect the benefit of the doubt.
A few days ago, the chuckling segment of the nightly news reported on a kid who stopped during a run to urinate into Portland's open, already-treated water reservoir. Stupid, but Portland turned the story from a sidebar focusing on a stupid act into an example of the pure insanity by what passes for government. Here's Time's story, (Young Man Pees in Portland Reservoir, Millions of Gallons Drained) so it's documented for our great-grandchildren to confirm we of the 21st century were completely nuts!
Was the water authority's decision to drain 38 Million gallons of water appropriate? Fortunately, Laura Helmuth, Slate's science and health editor, took the time to look beneath the surface; she did the math, explored the scientific implications and came to a startling conclusion. She calculated that that 19-year old would have needed to pee for 40 days nonstop to warrant draining the reservoir as unsafe. You see, urine is 95% water, and only a small amount is a nitrate (nitrogen).
Assuming that the risk comes from the nitrogen in the urine, to hit the EPA's limit on nitrates in drinking water, 10,000 parts per BILLLION, the young gent would need to have peed about 3,332 more times to impact the reservoir's safety.
Finally, Laura notes that the entire thing could have been easily prevented:
Draining the reservoir is paranoid, illogical, and expensive. But the most frustrating thing to me about the whole episode is that there is actually something Portland could do to its water supply that would have an immediate, positive, and repeatedly scientifically validated impact on public health: Add fluoride. Paranoia is not healthy.
The article is quite thorough and, at its core, absurd. But it IS a commentary on bureaucrats and decision-making. Urine in Portland: How Dangerous is Pee in Drinking Water?
Father James Martin, a Jesuit, had an interesting article in The Washington Post's "5 MYTHS" series in which he discusses those 5 myths about Easter. They are, he says:
1. Jesus didn’t literally rise from the dead.
2. After the Resurrection, Jesus first appeared to Saint Peter.
3. Lent is all about sacrifice.
4. Easter eggs have nothing to do with Easter.
5. Easter is not as important as Christmas.
It's worth a few minutes to read the article, which you can do here.
Another good article about Easter is on Vox, by Brandon Ambrosino. In it, Ambrosino offers brief examinations of a number of Easter "issues", including the origin of the Easter egg and the Easter bunny. (Is Easter About Jesus or Bunnies? Both, Actually.) It may surprise that there are actually connections between what many people see as the religious and secular underpinnings of our Easter celebrations.
David Boaz of the CATO institute recently published an excellent article in Politico Magazine, The Libertarian Surge.
In that article, Boaz reviews the events since 2008 which seem to be causing a rise in libertarian leaning and acceptance as a viable political philosophy that finds its heart in liberty and not in partisan positions which ultimately look to restrain liberty. He believes that the recognition in libertarian thought is a natural consequence of the American character:
(D)istrust of government is in America’s DNA. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in condemning the Alien and Sedition Acts: “Confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism. Free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy, and not confidence, which prescribes limited constitutions to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power.”
It is, unfortunately, also a result of the overreaching steps taking by our government over, especially, the last 5 years or so. From the wars in the Middle East to the TARP bailouts, our government has done the bidding of lobbyists even in the face of overwhleming public disapproval.
If young people begin moving towards libertarianism--an informed and thoughtful libertarianism--perhaps that will be the demographic which finally pushes government back to the limited role our Founding Fathers forged for it to play in our lives.