Aug 22, 2009

George Carlin on Saving the Planet

In addition to making us laugh, comedians serve a useful social purpose. They often say things we feel we aren't able to. In our professional (and social) lives, we frequently avoid topics that are politically sensitive or emotionally charged, since few of us enjoy confrontation. But difficult topics often benefit from a fresh, fearless perspective.

In this 7-minute clip, the late great Carlin is unkind to environmentalists, but his larger point is impressively well-informed. When he discusses the various forces with which planet Earth has contended over its 4.5-billion lifespan he isn't making any of this up. It's all true.
"The planet has been through a lot worse than us; been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate techtonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages - and we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference?"
We humans have a nasty habit of believing that everything is about us. We must be the cause of everything bad that happens. Natural forces - even ones that were in motion long before we arrived - must be susceptible to our influence. The entire theory of human-caused global warming may one day be seen as a textbook case of this humanity-as-the-center-of-the-universe approach to the world.

Carlin is right. As a species, we're capable of supreme arrogance. That we're obsessing about saving the planet when so much of humanity still lacks clean water and adequate food may qualify as "the greatest arrogance of all."

visit for more on the global warming debate

Aug 21, 2009

Afghanistan's Child Brides

Photographer Stephanie Sinclair narrates this 10-minute photo slideshow examining the lives of young women in rural Afghanistan. The print version of The Economist notes that: "Around 60% of girls are married off before they reach the legal minimum age of 16...Pregnancies among 10-to-14-year-old girls contribute to the country's high incidence of maternal mortality."

The child in this photo is eleven. She is seen here meeting her husband for the first time.


Aug 19, 2009's Second Anniversary!

My photography website,, was launched two years ago this month. Since then I've posted a new photo gallery each Monday.

There are now more than 930 low-resolution images available on the site. All have been formatted as computer wallpaper/backgrounds and are free for students and private individuals to use for non-commercial (non-money-making) purposes.

There are photos of Paris, Venice and Hawaii. Of vintage cars, exotic animals, and breathtaking flowers.

It's been fun!