25 November 2013

The Dark

We put on our coats, and zip them up. Bracing we step outside. The sun is gone for the day, so we must enter the dark.

It was dark when we woke up, and it is still dark as we shut our office doors. A day passed, some say, but we live like moles, and know the gopher way.

Post-work routine is crippled, for it seems midnight by dinner, and our minds can't sleep, they've already fought the darkness. Yet in the mornijng we can't wake, for the dawn hasn't broken.

No leaves don the trees, water stays solid, yet it is the dark we find nipping, biting, gnawing at our selves.

18 November 2013

Boiler Up! Purdue Senate & Student Govt Oppose HJR-6

This relates to my post, "Indiana has a chance." Take action such as contacting your state legislature here.

It was great to be a Boilermaker today, as the University Senate of Purdue joined Purdue Student Government in overwhelmingly opposing HJR-6 (The Marriage and all Similar Institutions Discrimination Amendment). That said, one should note that the President of Purdue (Former Republican Governor of Indiana and individual who is NOT an academic, Mitch Daniels) has stated neutrality. Thus, I would still encourage people to sign the petition asking him to put the university over politics and oppose the amendment.

Purdue has now joined the other major universities in Indiana - Indiana University, Wabash, DePauwBall State, and Butler - in opposing the amendment.

Watching as this effort progresses, I continue with my optimism - Indiana has a chance. Indiana really could defeat this amendment. A lot has changed since these amendments started happening. The streak of states enshrining discrimination in their constitutions has ended. Minnesota defeated a marriage discrimination amendment. Washington, Maryland, and Maine won marriage equality at the ballot box.  Hawaii, the state where it all started, now has marriage equality. Legislatures and courts have also expanded the number of states. Public opinion is changing and people are waking up.

Image from Freedom to Marry. Note 2013 isn't over, and it is quite likely we will hear from at least New Mexico before we ring in 2014.
Indiana has a chance. One should remember that Hoosiers have resisted the amendment for years. Major businesses like Cummins and Eli Lily oppose the amendment. The state's major universities oppose it. Many religious leaders oppose it. Even some members of the Republican Party oppose it. The groups that oppose the amendment are growing every day, and I encourage you to check out Freedom Indiana to find out who has come out against it.

Image from Freedom Indiana, on the Indianapolis city council voting to oppose HJR-6.
I think Hoosiers really could recognize the misleading and out-of-state forces that are trying to drive this amendment and reject them. Hoosiers will realize how much damage this amendment will do to the state. Damage by: leading people to leave Indiana for greener pastures in other states (like Minnesota); causing people to accept a job offer elsewhere because of Indiana's policies; and leading businesses to pass up Indiana because of its policies to name a few.

That said, this is a fight. We can't expect those who want to enshrine discrimination (with incredibly ambigious language) into the constitution to play fair. I hope we can stop this before it happens by killing the money wasting ballot question (take action such as contacting your state legislature here). This ballot question will be resource intensive (such as the cost of the legislature's time, the cost to hold the vote, etc), and that alone is a reason to oppose the measure, and to try to kill it early.

Image from Freedom Indiana concerning a newspaper opposing HJR-6
If it makes it to the ballot, I expect a long, divisive, and expensive fight. I also expect the Hoosier spirit, and I have hope that the people of Indiana will recognize this amendment for what it is - a force to damage the state and tie the hands of Hoosiers for years to come.

The Purdue community has shown it opposes this amendment, and I expect many Hoosiers to follow. Take action such as contacting your state legislature here.

Boiler Up!

Edit 21 November 2013 - Butler added to list of universities opposing the amendment.

14 November 2013

Nitrogen: It's Plant Food

Tuesday I randomly picked up a Minnesota daily, and noticed a letter to the editor entitled, "CO2: It's plant food." Yeah, it is a denialist letter. Which led me to submit the a sarcastic response. It is appearing in the Minnesota Daily as, "Nitrogen: It's plant food."

It did get cut down a bit for space concerns. If you are curious what I submitted before the editting (they called me to approve the editting just fyi), it is the following:

In response to Rolf Westfard’s piece, “CO2: It’s plant food.”
Regardless of what the eutrophication alarmists think, I can simply note that Nitrogen is plant food, and thus it is obviously great for us to just allow tons of excess Nitrogen from fertilizer to run off into the environment. Sure, that ignores rate limiting resources, changes in the ecology of a system due to changes in relative resource abundances,  the scientific literature, the observance of dead zones in certain bodies of water, and the fact that we live on a planet that has been fundamentally changed by human land use, but it is a great catch phrase, isn’t it? Just to be safe I will toss in something like the stock market has generally trended upward throughout history to support my point. In order to add another societal problem to distract from the one at hand, I will note that women in some states are being robbed of their ability to utilize their constitutionally protected reproductive rights due to trap laws. Oh, and it also must be okay to let huge amounts of Nitrogen run off into the environment because there is Nitrogen in human excrement.