Third World Problem Solving

(Our geography class has been divided into groups, each representing a country, and sent to a table in the school dining hall. The tables are filled with a mix of paper, pencils, scissors and rulers. Each country is given $500 of its local currency and we are told we have to create shapes from the paper to sell at the world bank, who is represented by our usual geography teacher. The catch is that countries like the UK and USA have lots of scissors, pencils, and rulers but not much paper, and the third world countries have lots of paper. Since their national currency isn’t worth anything they cannot afford to buy the scissors or rulers to cut their paper, but rich countries with lots of money can buy the paper really cheap and make shapes to sell. I wound up in a third world country and decide I wasn’t going to lose, so I take all of our paper and money and go to the USA.)

Me: “Hi. I’m from Ghana but we’re losing badly. If I give you my nation’s resources and money can I be American?”

USA Team Member: “No. Go away.”

Me: “Okay, fine.”

(I go to the UK instead.)

Me: “Hi. I’m from Ghana but we’re losing badly. If I give you my nation’s resources and money can I be a UK citizen?”

UK Team Member: “Sure. Just start cutting out squares quick.”

(My best friend is also in a third world nation and decides he wants to win, too, and cheats by stealing from other countries and ‘sneaking’ across international borders when restrictions of trade were put in place. At the end of the class we are speaking to the head teacher.)

Me: “So, you aren’t annoyed that I cheated my way into another country?”

Head Teacher: “You stole your countries natural resources and sold them out for personal gain… Who said that was cheating?”

Me: “You mean to say that although probably not what you expected I behaved exactly like someone with power in a third world nation might by exploiting his own nation to benefit himself, right?”

Head Teacher: “Exactly.”

(To this day that ‘geography’ class is still the best education I have ever had on how world politics works.)

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Tsunamis are caused by energy originating underwater from a volcanic eruption, a submarine landslide, or, most commonly, an earthquake on the ocean floor.

1. For example, the tectonic plates of the Earth’s surface slip, releasing a massive amount of energy into the water.
2. This energy travels up to the surface, displacing water and raising it above the normal sea level.

3. Gravity pulls that energy back down.

4. As a result, the energy ripples outwards horizontally.
Thus, the tsunami is born, moving at over 500 miles per hour.

From the TED-Ed Lesson How tsunamis work - Alex Gendler

Animation by Augenblick Studios

(via climate-changing)

Don’t Buy Microbeads!


Do you use any cleaners with microbeads? You know, ones like this:


Microbeads are also in other lotions, sunscreens, and even toothpaste.

Did you ever think about how many microbeads are in one bottle of things like this? There’s a lot.


Why is that bad? Because these little microbeads are made of plastic, and they’re of a size designed to go right down your drain. Where do they end up?

Well, of course — they end up in the oceans, eventually. And they look just like fish eggs to animals, who eat them and eventually die.

There is a push to ban them, and measures are being debated in New York state and a few others. Johnson and Johnson and a few other manufacturers have promised to “phase out” use of microbeads — but they’ve set up a multi-year time frame for this and that’s way too long for me. And as the soaps are phased out, you can be sure that you’re going to see a lot of them on sale or even clearance and it’s going to be really tempting to buy them. Don’t.

If you like scrubs, you can use scrubs with natural exfoliants, for example, walnut shells. Honestly, I’m not sure what we can do with those soaps we already own, but for now, don’t buy any more. And be sure to tell your friends.

A few links with more info:

(via 518environmentalism)

(Source: saveplanetearth)

(Source: saveplanetearth)


Even broken things can still be beautiful. [via]

(via 40h4error)


By the Way, Your Home Is On Fire: The Climate of Change and the Dangers of Stasis ~ Rebecca Solnit @ Tom Dispatch via Fossil Free


By the Way, Your Home Is On Fire: The Climate of Change and the Dangers of Stasis ~ Rebecca Solnit @ Tom Dispatch via Fossil Free

Millennials are far less likely to own a car, or to even make that a priority. Instead, we tend to opt for public transit, biking, or car sharing. While millennials don’t identify as vegetarians, either, we actually trend towards eating less meat – and we value the eating experience, which means that, though we tend to make less for our work (or sometimes nothing at all), a lot of us are still willing to spend a little more to go organic and local. Heck, even the fact that so many of us still live at home, or choose to live in shared houses or dorms rather than getting a place of our own, translates to a more efficient use of household water, electricity, and gas.

Which isn’t to say that millennials are making these choices exactly for the purpose of being green. We do it because it makes sense: Green living is more affordable, more enjoyable, and thus perhaps makes us more able to deal with the messes we’ve been left with. But, as long as things are starting to change, does it really matter what the motivation is? And can’t there be more than one motivation? Millennials seem more likely to recognize that the environment doesn’t exist in a glass bubble, that it’s tied in with business, technology, and what’s on your plate. Protecting the environment is not something out there and far away, but something right here that needs to be intelligently incorporated into our day-to-day.

John Burroughs has stated that experimental study of animals in captivity is absolutely useless. Their character, their habits, their appetites undergo a complete transformation when torn from their soil in field and forest. With human nature caged in a narrow space, whipped daily into submission, how can we speak of its potentialities? Freedom, expansion, opportunity, and, above all, peace and repose, alone can teach us the real dominant factors of human nature and all its wonderful possibilities.

Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays (via macleishhouse)

(via probablyasocialecologist)