May 17th, 2011

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Petition: Stop Oil Drilling Near Bear Butte

Please sign this petition to protect Bear Butte from oil drilling.

I was appalled to discover that the government has illegally granted a permit for oil drilling near Bear Butte, South Dakota.  First, proper notification and comment procedures were not followed, hence the permit is not legally valid.  Second, this is sacred ground.  That makes it socially unsuitable for drilling or other destructive practices.  Third, for the more aware people, that little mountain is both alert and active.  It has a reputation for causing mechanical malfunctions in gear belonging to people who offend it, along with various other mishaps.  So yeah, not a good place for fancy equipment -- the chance of accident goes WAY up.  I've been there.  It's gorgeous, inspiring territory.   It's not safe to mess with.

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Protect European Species

Wildlife in Europe is struggling to survive.  This article explains the need to protect biodiversity.

Remember the cool griffin I wrote about?  She is partly inspired by two European species.  The short-toed eagle has viable populations but suffers from dwindling habitat; in some places, it only visits where it used to breed.  The Eurasian lynx remains common in some areas, but has lost much of its native range; in Italy it is all but extinct.  Take away these two locally relevant species and we'd have a far more generic griffin, which is less interesting.  They are important colors in my palette of words.

The world we live in enriches our lives.  When the world is healthy, we thrive.  When the world is ragged, we struggle, and the connections between human difficulties and the environment aren't always obvious.  So it's best to keep our environment in good shape to begin with, rather than try to figure out what's wrong after it's already wrecked.
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Religion Works Too

I read this article in which Stephen Hawking argues against the afterlife.  Okay, he's a smart guy.  I admire him greatly.  But he's a smart science  guy; he doesn't have nearly the same credentials in terms of researching religion.  (Consider that it's a poor idea to take the Pope's advice on science.  I'm not sure it's a better idea to take Hawking's advice on religion, for similar reasons.  It's not his field.)  He argues that science will win against religion "because it works."

Science is a relatively recent human discovery.  Religion seems to go back to the origin of human artifacts that we can interpret, and possibly farther.  Science exists in some but not all human cultures.  Religion exists in all known human cultures, and when people try to stamp it out, it regenerates.  When it comes to decision-making, if there is an apparent conflict between science and religion, considerably more people will decide based on religion even if the practical effects of doing that are negative.  I like science a lot.  But I don't think it's fair to imply that science works and religion doesn't.  Certainly it's possible for religion to malfunction, as anything can in a flawed universe.  But when something has been around for 50,000+ years throughout an entire species, that pretty much has to fit some  definition of "it works."

You can have the most awesome metric toolkit in the world, but it's not going to be a lot of use on standard machinery.  Some tools generalize well across disciplines; others don't.  This is not to say that the tools of science are never useful in religion, or vice verse; but it does mean you need to know your tools and both fields before understanding what will swap and what won't.
Karavai

Torn World: "The Weed-Eater"

You can now read my article about "The Weed-Eater" over on Torn World.  This sea monster is a large herbivore.  They aren't so much aggressive as really, really dumb in ways that make them a nuisance for humans.

If you like this article and want to see more like it, please consider sending me credits or karma through Torn World's crowdfunding options.  Not a Torn World member, but still want to support the work? I have a permanent PayPal button on my LJ profile page.
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Writing-Related Links

This post talks about filters, regulation, and copyright.  The author points out that perceptions of intellectual property and ownership are shifting.

Here is a post about editors and writers, and how to tell whose judgment should prevail in a given instance.

"When the Golden Rule Fails" is an exploration of differing personal preferences.

Here is a book on queer history.  It looks at how these facets of history get hidden, and why, and when they come to light again.
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The Iroquois Influence

... affected feminism as well as the founding documents.  So the next time someone says women's rights are "un-American" remember that what they really mean is "un-European-invasion."  Not all tribes had the same structure, but the Iroquois weren't the only ones with a strong female presence.  Some tribes were matrilineal or even matriarchal.