Americans Have Never Been Sicker

Depression, suicide, and obesity are on the rise in America, and not just because of social media and Covid. by JOHN MAC GHLIONN Americans have never been sicker. Life expectancy in the United States continues to fall. An increasing number of people are anxious and depressed. And before you blame Covid-19 and lockdowns, it’s important to note that these problems existed long before a deadly pandemic brought the country and the world in general to a screeching halt. Has the pandemic made things considerably worse? Of course. Nevertheless, according to a recent Mental Health America (MHA) report, in 2019, just before the pandemic hit … Continue reading Americans Have Never Been Sicker

This Surprising State is Allegedly The Best Place to Ride Out Climate Change

Florida may be an abandoned city one day, according to the Armchair Urbanist. By Devan McGuinness  Unfortunately, it’s true that we are already living through the effects of climate change. The world is becoming hotter, wetter, and storms are becoming more intense. And while the next decades certainly aren’t yet foretold — there are plenty of drastic actions world governments can take to avoid the worst of climate change — there are places that will probably be better off as the planet warms. As some activists have stated, doing what we can to make a difference will go a long way, and … Continue reading This Surprising State is Allegedly The Best Place to Ride Out Climate Change

Climate Change Has Exposed the Decline of the American Empire

Responding to the climate crisis has become a race against time, and our government still dawdles at the starting line. By William deBuys Thirteen thousand feet high on the far side of the Himalaya mountains, we have entered the past and the future at the same time. We are a medical expedition and also a pilgrimage, consisting of doctors, nurses, Buddhist clerics, supernumeraries like me, and a large staff of guides, muleteers, and camp tenders. We are bound for the isolated villages of Upper Dolpo, a remote region of northwestern Nepal, land of the snow leopard—both the actual animal and the eponymous … Continue reading Climate Change Has Exposed the Decline of the American Empire

BILL GATES AND THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE OF FOOD SECURITY

Dustin Broadbery, The Cogent Waking Times As we approach a winter of discontent and global food systems go from bad to worse, there’s trouble in paradise. At the root of these problems, government responses to COVID-19 have contributed to a six-fold increase in famine-like conditions as global supply chains collapse, and field trials for gene-edited crops and farm animals begin in the UK. Against this perfect storm, the UN’s World Food Systems Summit convened last month, with Member States joining the private sector, civil society groups and researchers, to bring about “tangible, positive changes” to the world’s food systems, and as the story goes, “drive recovery from COVID-19.” But even … Continue reading BILL GATES AND THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE OF FOOD SECURITY

Are Universities On The Wrong Side Of History?

by Ann Kirschner earching for answers to this and other mysteries of Planet Academe, I found some excellent responses in a new book, The Great Upheaval: Higher Education’s Past, Present, and Uncertain Future, by Arthur Levine and Scott Van Pelt.  I’ve been waiting for someone to write a book like this for a long time. That said, almost all of it could have been written ten, even twenty years ago. Higher education was in trouble before the pandemic;  Covid provided the unexpected receding tide that exposed our naked academic body politic.  The authors’ warning that American colleges and universities are heading for a … Continue reading Are Universities On The Wrong Side Of History?

The Hero Myth of Wildland Firefighting

It’s not heroic to fight a problem that could have been averted with responsible policy. It’s tragic. BY EMILY SHEPHERD  IN 2017, Columbia Pictures released a box-office film called “Only the Brave.” The film is an emotional, fictionalized account of the Yarnell Hill Fire of 2013, during which 19 firefighters — the entire Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew except for one lookout — were tragically entrapped by wildfire. In their last hour alive, with the fire racing toward them, the Granite Mountain Hotshots inexplicably left a safety zone — in this case, a ridgetop that had already burned to ashes. Why they did … Continue reading The Hero Myth of Wildland Firefighting

Sex on the curriculum

Sex education is a battlefield over morals and young bodies, and has exposed fractures in American life for over a century Kristy Slominski is the assistant professor of religion, science and health in the Department of Religious Studies and Classics at the University of Arizona. She is the author of Teaching Moral Sex: A History of Religion and Sex Education in the United States (2021). Edited by Sam Dresser The state of sex education in the United States is dismal. Shaped by divergent state policies and local school board decisions, programmes are uneven in their content and coverage. There is confusion about … Continue reading Sex on the curriculum

The 7 new classifications of religious styles

The Pew Research Center has classified Americans into seven distinct religious types. by Derek Beres Religious typology has never been accurate. The range by which one can claim to be Christian, for example, is much broader than one simple term can encompass. The same holds true for Judaism, Islam, Buddhism — not the umbrella term, per se, but the level of devotion. Religious Buddhists can be as fundamentalist as Evangelicals; they can also be secular and even atheistic. Instead of defining Americans in terms of stated religion, the Pew Research Center created a 16-question survey about the participant’s level of practice and … Continue reading The 7 new classifications of religious styles

The Last Glimpses of California’s Vanishing Hippie Utopias

Half a century ago, a legion of idealists dropped out of society and went back to the land, creating a patchwork of utopian communes across Northern California. Here, the last of those rogue souls offer a glimpse of their otherworldly residences—and the tail end of a grand social experiment. BY DAVID JACOB KRAMER PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL SCHMELLING There was an aphorism in the movement: “Bad roads make good communes.” And the road we’re on today is bad. Several miles inland from California’s foggy coastline, we’re driving down a single lane hemmed in by 50-foot fir trees and then turn onto a rocky dirt … Continue reading The Last Glimpses of California’s Vanishing Hippie Utopias

AS THE LEFT AND RIGHT ARGUE OVER TALKING POINTS, THEY’RE MISSING THE REAL LESSON FROM AFGHANISTAN

Don Via Jr., The Free Thought Project Waking Times No matter how many times a commentary is provided on the subject, it is still nauseating to witness fervent tribalism perpetuated in real time. Weird how the one side of the demographic that was all in favor of finally “Ending the Forever Wars” for 4 years during the last Administration, are now the same ones clutching their pearls and regurgitating talking point after talking point of State Department nonsense to prolong that catastrophe. Where did all that “drain the swamp” rhetoric go? Vice-versa, the ones that are now presumptuously patting themselves on … Continue reading AS THE LEFT AND RIGHT ARGUE OVER TALKING POINTS, THEY’RE MISSING THE REAL LESSON FROM AFGHANISTAN