Archive for November 9th, 2009

More to the peak oil story

| November 9, 2009 | 4 Replies
More to the peak oil story

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled “The Unspoken Reality of ‘Peak Oil’“, in which I tried to convey the scale of the problem we face. “My main motto never changes, the era of low oil prices is over,” said Dr. Fatih Birol who is the Chief Economist for the International Energy Agency (IEA). Now we have even more confirmation that peak oil has arrived. Today, the IEA released their 2009 version of the annual World Energy Outlook, in which they attempt to forecast supply and demand through 2030. And once again, the IEA continues to forecast that there will be plenty of supply, if only we can muster the needed capital investments. Unfortunately, the needed capital investments are enormous:

The capital required to meet projected energy demand through to 2030 in the Reference Scenario is huge, amounting in cumulative terms to $26 trillion (in year-2008 dollars) — equal to $1.1 trillion (or 1.4% of global gross domestic product [GDP]) per year on average. (p.43)

As if that weren’t bad enough, the release of the report has been almost completely overshadowed by yesterday’s Guardian which has alarming allegations from two different whistleblowers within the IEA

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Whence school leadership?

| November 9, 2009 | Reply
Whence school leadership?

At ASCD Leadership, Tom Hoerr asks a string of easy-to-understand questions, all of which lack easy answers. The topic is school leadership–how will we recruit the next generation of people to lead our schools? Here’s the main problem:

Each week I read about the impending shortage of school administrators. There aren’t enough people choosing to pursue administration, and the attrition rate of those playing a leadership role is too high.

Under the reasonable assumption that maintaining quality school leadership is one of the most critical jobs in the entire country (even more important than being a Wall Street Banker who earns 100 times the salary, I would maintain), why hasn’t more national attention been focused on this problem of recruiting the best and the brightest to become school leaders? Perhaps it’s that too many of us only give lip-service to the need for quality education.

Tom is the principle of New City School in St. Louis. He is also a friend, at least in part, because he is a thoughtful person whose opinions I respect. ASCD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that represents 175,000 educators from more than 135 countries and 58 affiliates. According to the website,

Inservice is the ASCD community blog—a place for educators to gather and share ideas. We hope it will promote the kind of exchange that happens in inservice meetings, where educators discuss how best to support their students. We want it to be a resource for everyone who cares about and serves education, learning, and teaching.

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The three reasons to have slavery, based on the Bible

| November 9, 2009 | Reply
The three reasons to have slavery, based on the Bible

If you thought that no one would dare try to defend slavery, as presented by the Bible, think again. I found this video on Slate; it is an animated (and speeded-up) version of a real-life “Biblical slavery” apologist. Listen for a minute or two, if you can stand it.

Note the comment following the video: “Brilliant! So, where can I sign up to be a “biblical” slave…?”

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Rare giant stingray

| November 9, 2009 | Reply
Rare giant stingray

From the BBC: “The smalleye stingray is the largest of all 70 species of stingray, attaining widths of more than 2m.” Beautiful new video of an elusive creature.

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