Keeping Up with the World

Some readers may be interested in why the world is the way it is today. For example, the Atlantic magazine has a truly insightful article about ISIS, its driving principles and interpretation of the Quran. See:

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

For a thorough, apolitical review of all aspects of global warming, population and impact on the biosphere, Live Science is an excellent source not only for global warming but a full rainbow of scientific insights about the world today. See:

http://www.livescience.com/topics/global-warming/

In order to produce both volume and profit in livestock corporations, animal abuse is rampant – including human animals. See:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=john+oliver+chicken+farmers&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=FB1EA7E99500750DC9B2FB1EA7E99500750DC9B2

A few books are benchmark publications that bring to light the subtle phenomena that shape our lives. For example, a book everyone should retrieve from a library is The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. It is an entertaining read recounting Kolbert’s travels around the world with scientists and researchers. She discusses how viruses and bacteria are carried around the world affecting everything from frogs to bats. The book focuses on human activity that destroys the biosphere. There is an alarming account of the huge number of extinctions that have occurred since 1900 and what that means to human survival.

The Road to Character, a new book by David Brooks, PBS commentator, is an introspective review of his life by comparing the lives of others against his own life. Brooks discusses foibles and successes and how others overcame their shortcomings to become people of high character.

Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, written by Doris Kearns Goodwin, was published in 1977 but is a tour de force of Johnson’s personal and public life. Many today can recall (and observe) the cultural shift engineered by Ronald Reagan. Fewer remember the “guns and butter” policies of Johnson. Johnson launched the greatest cultural shift since FDR – including the Civil Rights Act. Goodwin was an intimate friend to whom LBJ revealed his inner struggles and his aspirations. Good for a summer long read.

Zealot: The life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Asland, is a fascinating study of the time of Jesus – without focusing on the Christian ramifications of Jesus. It is a sociological look into that time; it provides a fresh perspective by which to understand Jesus and his role as a proselytizer and as a zealot. Reza Asland is a world renowned expert on world religions and has published several important works. For what it’s worth, Fox News vehemently denounced this book and assassinated the character of Asland.

 

Communication moves a lot faster today than even a couple of decades ago. Within minutes, we know about beheadings in Iraq, or a tsunami in Japan, or a volcanic eruption in Peru, or a giant explosion in China, or denying funds for America’s infrastructure and the jobs it would provide, or the disappearance of the Monarch butterfly. We know more about what is happening in real time. The added responsibility is to know why these events are happening. One can no longer speak blindly from old prejudices and unfounded privilege. Every day is a day at school maintaining our education about what is really happening and, knowing why, make the right decision to improve the plight of our real-time world.

Ancient Mariner

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