We just maxed out our ecological budget for 2014. For the rest of the year, we’ll be living in deficit to the environment, consuming more natural resources than the planet can regenerate. For the record, the exact date that we reached the limit was August 19. In 2013, “Earth Overshoot Day” fell on August 20 (see here), and the date has been getting earlier ever since the mid-1970s, when we first went into the red. It was October 21 in 1993, and early October by the 2000s.
I guess what I’m saying is that this music that I’ve been so interested in for a good number of years now allows for a greater depth and variety of expression. If I’m singing a song that I’ve written about the snake-handling congregations of Appalachia, and it’s sort of a bluesy boogie piece, I could just play the standard sort of blues-based music in the right hand. But I feel like that’s a little straight, and goes down a little too easy. So I use that as an excuse to [include] these pieces. The Webern piece, which is very pointillistic, and the Carter piece, which is atonal and sort of a perpetual-motion piece — they feel to me like they’re evocative of the lyrics, evocative of the scene I’m painting with the words.
The Ice Bucket Challenge is the gift that keeps on giving for the ALS Association. The organization raised more than $10 million on Thursday alone, it said, bringing its total haul since July 29 to $53 million. For comparison’s sake, the group raised $2.2 million during the same period last year. The contributions, which have come from more than 1 million new donors as well as some old donors, are an enormous boon for the ALS Association, whose national office raised only $19 million in all of 2012.
The Common Core State Standards initiative, arguably the most sweeping change to public education in at least a generation, is facing mounting skepticism—and still drawing many blanks. A pair of national polls out this week asked similar questions of voters about key education issues including the Common Core, which once had widespread bipartisan support but is now under attack. Both polls—one by Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup and one by Harvard researchers for Education Next—found public support eroding for the common standards, which set grade-level expectations for student learning but do not dictate classroom instruction. According to the 46th annual PDK/Gallup poll, fewer than half of Americans have heard a “fair amount” or “great deal” about the Common Core. Despite that lack of familiarity with the standards, 60 percent of the poll respondents say they oppose the Common Core being used in their own local schools by teachers to guide instruction.
The United States is at war—though it does not seem to have sunk in yet. While reports have concentrated on President Barack Obama’s condemnation of the murder of the American journalist James Foley, and news that U.S. forces had tried to rescue him, what has been overlooked is the president’s clear declaration of war aims: the total destruction of the group known as the Islamic State. The president did not mince his words. “Their ideology is bankrupt,” he said. “There has to be a clear rejection of these kind of nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century.” He went on, “Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security and a common set of values that are rooted in the opposite of what we saw [in the murder of Foley] yesterday. And we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism, and replace it with a sense of hope and civility.”
It’s about nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things.
Reblog because Firefly is an automatic reblog.
music by Us The Duo
Every day, millions of people open Vine to share memories in the moment. Today, Vine unlocks a new camera that gives you the freedom to create a Vine in any way you want. The new camera offers powerful ways to edit your videos as well as the ability to import…
There’s beauty in Twitter’s unfiltered stream
Originally known as TV Movies, Leonard’s invaluable paperback resource first appeared in 1969, and has been published annually since 1988. Long, long before I was a contributor, I was a faithful fan, dutifully purchasing each new edition – and always keeping a copy close at hand. No kidding: For decades, to paraphrase the old tagline for American Express Travelers Cheques, I didn’t leave home without it. And when it wasn’t in my suitcase during my travels for movie junkets and film festivals, you could always find it on a short shelf of absolutely essential reference books, either by my desk at The Houston Post or in my home office. (I can see a copy of the 2014 edition right now, within easy reach. You’ll have to take my word for that, however, because taking a photo would reveal what a shamelessly cluttered and chaotic workplace I have made for myself. Remember: I am a college instructor, and I don’t want to set a bad example for my students.) Unfortunately, as Leonard notes in the latest (and last) edition’s forward, “With ready access to information on the Internet, our readership has diminished at an alarming rate.