I'm writing in English, which is strange in itself since I really love my own language, Finnish, and since I detest the power position that the English language has in global communucation... but I'd get way too many complaints from American friends if I didn't write in a language comprehensible to them.

Nov 10, 2010

Warming, warming, but what else?

Yes, I am aware of the fact that global warming isn't as trendy a subject to discuss as it was a couple of years ago or even last year before the health care reform, but it may still be important, as stated in this Onion news article.

I just wanted to point out something I've been thinking about yesterday, while walking with a stroller in the November gloom. That is, global warming isn't the only environmental issue facing us and it's not the only one we have to deal with. This thought isn't my own at all - hard core scientific environmentalists have brought it up earlier - but it doesn't seem to catch.

Don't get me wrong, I don't belong to the so-called global warming skeptics. In fact, these skeptics hardly ever doubt that the climate is changing (that can be measured) but many doubt that human behavior has influenced that change, and that human behavior could also slow or stop the process. These are valid points and brought up by many real scientists, but it seems that the majority of climate scientists believe that, in fact, the carbon emissions by humanity are warming up the climate at a worrying rate. The fact that all don't agree only shows that we're talking about a real scientific process where there needs to be dissenting voices. That's how the scientific community works.

Then there are those skeptics who might not be scientists and who feel that liberals and environmentalists are using this global warming issue for their advantage. This would imply that there is a conspiracy and that the research is distorted and so on. I sort of agree on environmentalists using this for their advantage, being one myself. And possibly Al Gore did it too. But I don't agree on the conspiracy theory. In fact, I'm not at all excited about any conspiracy theories. Occam's razor, everyone! But of course the environmentalists (we environmentalists) like to make a noise about global warming, since it sounds satisfyingly catastrophic and may get people to react, which "mountaintop removal mining destroys our scenic Appalachians and soils the water sources in West Virginia" doesn't.

The danger is that we'll be so caught up in global warming that we forget the other issues. Also, if global warming becomes a less interesting news item at some point we'll have hard times fighting coal with any other weapons, since that fight is tied up with global warming...

But still, I think we need to reduce our carbon emissions. In fact, I think I need to stuff something in that hole under the door of our house so that I don't use all that much heating.

Nov 3, 2010

The book of faces

Who remembers the discussion between Jane Fairfax and Mr John Knightley on the subject of letters? In Jane Austen's Emma there's a memorable exchange. Mr John Knightley (the younger Mr Knightley, not the hero of the story) is gently teasing Ms Fairfax, who ventured to the post office in the rain despite her delicate health.

"The post-office has great charm at one period of our lives. When you have lived to my age, you will begin to think letters are never worth going through the rain for."
There was a little blush, and then this answer,
"I must not hope to be ever situated as you are, in the midst of every dearest connection, and therefore I cannot expect that simply growing older should make me indifferent about letters."
"Indifferent! Oh! no - I never conceived you could become indifferent. Letters are no matter of indifference; they are generally a very positive curse."
"You are speaking of letters of business; mine are letters of friendship."
"I have often thought them the worst of the two," replied he coolly. "Business, you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does."
"Ah! you are not serious now. I know Mr. John Knightley too well - I am sure he understands the value of friendship as well as any body. I can easily believe that letters are very little to you, much less than to me, but it is not your being ten years older than myself which makes the difference, it is not age, but situation. You have every body dearest to you always at hand, I, probably, never shall again; and therefore till I have outlived all my affections, a post-office, I think, must always have power to draw me out, in worse weather than to-day."

Lately I've noticed many friends of mine getting upset over this marvel called facebook in a very similar manner as Mr. John Knightley over his letters. I can't get upset. The people who want to get rid of facebook or who think it's a waste of time seem to live at least in the same country as most of their friends. I love every single silly posting of my best friends in Finland.

See, moving out of the country isn't death to family relationships. Those don't disappear nearly as easily as friendships. And so, in order to keep in touch with your friends, what would you do? Write letters, call with skype, send email... only, I never write letters, skype requires two people to be on at the same time which is difficult when the time zones are different, and even email is more often than not left unanswered. What better way to keep in touch than by a social network that shows you your friends' small thoughts - what they ate for dinner, when they are upset, anything they want to post as "status".

So give me your statuses! And comment on mine! I love facebook.

(Oh, election day was yesterday. If you want to hear my thoughts about that, please ask. Otherwise I'll leave it alone.)