Diary of a Narcissistic Misanthrope

I like to think I’m an acquired taste, like old whiskey or arsenic in your tea

My name is Clarence (Hello), born in 1988, i got my undergrad degree in Sociology (with a concentration in Women's Studies) and I'm utterly terrified. I'm scared of everything, people, my own feelings and sometimes even being but really there's nothing much to be done about that despite what I say. And I will say a lot about how my life has no meaning and i want to die (which is the majority of the time) but sometimes it seems like life is worth living for and everything in it is a spectacular explosion of awe inspiring wonder (which is usually a three week span some time in March). If it seems odd to read think what it might be like living it. So to get off the topic of terror I prefer stories es. I like to read them, I love to live in them and there is nothing better to me than a story so I guess this blog is a story mostly about me. Don't bother trying to find themes, connection or messages in what I post cause there really aren't any (unless they are completely accidental).

This blog is a story about what I find, what I feel and what I think so to that end I collect things to post or reblog. Its not meant to be anything truly meaningful or interconnected, just fun (mostly fun for me if you don't like it you can fuck right off) This is collection of all the the weird and interesting links from around the net that I find, comics, technology, comedy, current events, sociology, general geek/nerd interest, and more weird stuff. I think it makes for the closest representation to who I am that I've ever done and it just keeps growing bigger which is most of the fun. Please feel free to talk to me and don't mind the depressive tone i will probably be using. I like to think I'm somewhat fun if also a complete idiot.
Recent Tweets @
Who I Follow
Posts tagged "Environment"


West Virginia chemical spill declared federal disaster

West Virginia schools and restaurants closed, grocery stores sold out of bottled water, and state legislators who had just started their session canceled the day’s business after a chemical spill in the Elk River in Charleston shut down much of the city and surrounding counties even as the cause and extent of the incident remained unclear.

The federal government joined the state early Friday in declaring a disaster, and the West Virginia National Guard planned to distribute bottled drinking water to emergency-service agencies in the nine affected counties.

Shortly after the Thursday-night chemical spill from Freedom Industries hit the river and a nearby treatment plant, a licorice-like smell enveloped parts of the city. Thursday night, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency for the affected counties and advised residents not to drink, bathe, cook or wash clothes in the water and to use it only for flushing.

Read more

Photo: Tyler Evert/AP


Kyle Bean - Disposable Technology (2009)

A response to our consumer relationship with technology and obsolescence.”

(via socio-logic)


Erta ale- Danakil Depression

“This photo was taken almost 2 months ago at the Danakil Depression, mount Arta ale, Ethiopia. After 3 very hot days in 47 degreas and a long walk up to the crater we arrived to the volcano. Well, i’ve been in many places around the world and i think that it was the most powerful, breath taking, amazing view that i have felt,smelled,touched, or seen.”lior eldad

(via scinerds)


Very encouraging to see Pakistani journalists coming together to report on the environment. Several have joined the National Council of Environmental Journalists, a global non-profit that trains journalists how to report and investigate environmental issues. If you’re interested in environmental reporting, perhaps you could like their facebook page and support this important project.


Via @amarguriro, great to learn of launch of National Council of Environmental Journalists in Pakistan - first forum of environmental journalists at national level there. His note: 

“The forum comprises on 30 journalists from 21 cities of Pakistan. NCEJ members are attached with mainstream newspaper (Including Dawn, Express Tribune, Awami Awaz, Daily Duyna, The Nation, Sindhi Koshish, Daily Ibrat and others), FM Radios, television channels of English, Urdu, Sindhi, Balochi, Pashtoo, Punjabi, Saraiki, Balti and Dari languages. 

The forum was established in June 2012 during an Environmental Journalism Training Workshop. Visit our website www.ncejpak.org. On November 13, 2012, we have formally launched the forum in PC Hotel Karachi.”

Read More

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that at “Alert” has been declared at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Forked River, New Jersey, an event related to Hurricane Sandy.

The NRC said that the plant, which is in a regularly scheduled outage, declared the Alert at 8:45 p.m. Eastern time “due to water exceeding certain high water level criteria in the plant’s water intake structure.”

The Commission notes that an Alert is the second lowest of four NRC action levels. Before reaching Alert status, the plant declared an “Unusual Event” when the water first reached a minimum high water level criteria, the NRC says.

“Water level is rising in the intake structure due to a combination of a rising tide, wind direction and storm surge. It is anticipated water levels will begin to abate within the next several hours,” the NRC says.

The NRC added that as of 9 p.m. EDT, no nuclear power plants had to shut down as a result of the storm, adding that “all plants remain in a safe condition, with emergency equipment available if needed and NRC inspectors on-site.”

The government agency noted that the NRC has inspectors providing 24-hour coverage of all plants that could be affected by the storm, including Oyster Creek; Salem and Hope Creek, in Hancocks Bridge, N.J.; Calvert Cliffs, in Lusby, Md.; Limerick, in Limerick Township, Pa.; Peach Bottom, in Delta, Pa.; Three Mile Island, in Middletown, Pa.; Susquehanna, in Salem Township, Pa.; Indian Point, in Buchanan, N.Y.; and Millstone, in Waterford, Conn.

Oyster Creek is operated by Exleon, an NYSE-listed, Chicago-based power company.

(via scinerds)


For the Anishinaabe people at the southernmost tip of Lake Huron, cedar is not just a tree – it is sacred. Used in medicines and teas, the tree’s roots, bark and sap have been central to their physical, mental and cultural wellbeing for centuries. “We smudge with it, as singers we inhale it, as a medicine we bathe in it,” said Ron Plain, an Anishinaabe tribe member. But the tribe has abandoned its generations-old tradition. The cedar is tainted with cadmium, a metal linked to cancer and learning disabilities. In this region of Ontario, dubbed “Chemical Valley,” the contamination is part of everyday life for the Anishinaabe. For decades, indigenous people in the United States and Canada have been burdened with health problems linked to environmental pollutants. But that isn’t their only sacrifice: Pollution is crippling some tribes’ culture. Their native foods, water, medicines, language and ceremonies, as well as their traditional techniques of farming, hunting and fishing, have been jeopardized by contaminants and development. And as indigenous people lose these vital aspects of their lives, their identity is lost, too.

(Continue reading…)

If you only read one article today, let this be it.


Pollution as big a health problem as malaria or TB, harming well over 125 million people, finds report

Waste from mining, lead smelters, industrial dumps and other toxic sites affects the health of an estimated 125 million people in 49 low- and middle-income countries. This unrecognised health burden is on the scale of malaria or tuberculosis (TB), a new report has found.

This year’s World’s worst pollution problems (pdf) report was published on Tuesday by the Blacksmith Institute in partnership with Green Cross Switzerland. It documents, for the first time, the public health impact of industrial pollutants – lead, mercury, chromium, radionuclides and pesticides – in the air, water and soil of developing countries.

“This is an extremely conservative estimate,” said Bret Ericson of the Blacksmith Institute, a small international NGO based in New York City. “We’ve investigated 2,600 toxic sites in the last four years, [but] we know there are far more.”

The US has an estimated 100,000-300,000 toxic sites, mainly factories or industrial areas, but toxic sites in the low- and middle-income countries assessed in the report are often in residential areas. “We see a lot of disease when we go into these communities,” said Ericson. “But we were surprised the health burden was so high – as much as malaria.”

Ericson cited gold mining in the Nigerian state of Zamfara by way of example. In 2010, Médecins Sans Frontières doctors carrying out vaccinations in villages in Zamfara were shocked to see so few children. The villagers were small-scale gold miners who crushed gold-bearing rocks inside village compounds; the raw ore contained extremely high levels of lead, which had killed hundreds of children and left thousands more with lead poisoning.

The health impact of exposure to toxins at the 2,600 sites identified in the report was estimated using the disability adjusted life years (DALYs) metric, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other bodies use to measure overall disease burden. The metric is expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death, with one DALY equivalent to one lost year of healthy life. The estimate for impact of pollution from toxic sites is 17m DALYs; according to the WHO, malaria’s annual toll is 14m DALYs.

The human toll of pollution in terms of lost productivity, healthcare cost, lowered life expectancy and social impact is very high.Countries need to wise up to this and realise there are inexpensive ways to avoid toxic pollution, said Ericson.

Stephan Robinson, of Green Cross Switzerland, identifies globalisation, and especially mining and resource extraction, as the reason for many toxic sites. The high price of gold has led to increases in both small- and large-scale mining, while lead production rose 10% last year to meet the needs of battery and electronics manufacturers. “Much of this industrial activity is to serve our needs in the developed world,” said Robinson, who added that toxic sites have received very little attention internationally despite their significant impact on the health of millions of people.

According to Green Cross, 4m-10m tonnes of obsolete but still dangerous pesticides have been abandoned in tens of thousands of locations and must be destroyed. The cost of doing so will range from $3,000-8,000 (£1,900-5,000) a tonne, but attributing responsibility is difficult and it is unclear who will foot the bill, said Robinson. The survey did not include ongoing industrial and large petro-chemical sites.

Top 10 toxic industries in 2012, listed by DALY

  1. Lead-acid battery recycling (4.8m)
  2. Lead smelting (2.6m)
  3. Mining and ore processing (2.5m)
  4. Tannery operations (1.93m)
  5. Industrial/municipal dump sites (1.23m)
  6. Industrial estates (1.06m)
  7. Artisanal gold mining (1.021m)
  8. Product manufacturing (786,000)
  9. Chemical manufacturing (765,000)
  10. Dye industry (430,000)

It is extremely important to emphasize the role the developed world plays in this. The demand for goods produced in toxic industries largely comes from the developed world and many corporations based there purchase these materials from industries in the developing world with low environmental regulations and safety standards for employees simply because it’s cheaper to do so. Corporations in the developed world also buy out many of the industries in the developing world or outsource production to skid regulations and produce products at a much lower cost. They essentially exploit individuals living in countries with few environmental and worker safety regulations for cheaper products at a faster rate.

For those of us in the developed world, rather than putting pressure on governments in the developing world, which often face serious issues that slow down the legislation-making process, such as corruption, to implement stricter environmental regulations and worker safety standards, what is often effective is putting pressure on industries in the developing world to demand higher standards for those they do business with and on our governments to better regulate international trade. In our capitalistic system, these are very difficult issues to solve internationally due to the vast economic incentives of each actor. Businesses have an incentive to minimize external costs and production costs in order to maximize profits and governments in the developing world, which often govern over a poor populace, have incentives to increase revenues within their respected countries. Lending support to workers movements which petition their governments for higher working standards and increased worker control over their labor, benefits, and industries is also very important and can help stamp out these disgusting industrial practices, giving more power to the workers as opposed to corporations to solve these problems, whose only incentive is to maximize profits.


How higher education in the US was destroyed in 5 basic steps

October 19, 2012

(Note from The People’s Record: This post is partial, taking only segments from each of the five bullet points in the original article and none of the conclusion because people don’t like long articles on tumblr. In this case, I would recommend following the link at the bottom and reading the whole thing if you have a few moments. I think it’s important.)

It was during this time (the 1960s), when colleges had a thriving professoriate, and when students were given access to a variety of subject areas, and the possibility of broad learning. The liberal arts stood at the center of a college education, and students were exposed to philosophy, anthropology, literature, history, sociology, world religions, foreign languages and cultures. Of course, something else happened, beginning in the late ’50s into the ’60s — the uprisings and growing numbers of citizens taking part in popular dissent — against the Vietnam War, against racism, against destruction of the environment in a growing corporatized culture, against misogyny, against homophobia. Where did much of that revolt incubate? Where did large numbers of well-educated, intellectual, and vocal people congregate? On college campuses. Who didn’t like the outcome of the ’60s? The corporations, the war-mongers, those in our society who would keep us divided based on our race, our gender, our sexual orientation.

But a country claiming to have democratic values can’t just shut down its universities. So, how do you kill the universities of the country without showing your hand? As a child growing up during the Cold War, I was taught that the communist countries in the first half of the 20th century put their scholars, intellectuals and artists into prison camps, called “re-education camps.” What I’ve come to realize as an adult is that American corporatism despises those same individuals as much as we were told communism did. But instead of doing anything so obvious as throwing them into prison, here those same people are thrown into dire poverty. The outcome is the same. Desperate poverty controls and ultimately breaks people as effectively as prison…..and some research says that it works even more powerfully.

Step I: Defund public higher education .

Anna Victoria:. Funding for public universities comes from, as the term suggests, the state and federal government. Yet starting in the early 1980s, shifting state priorities forced public universities to increasingly rely on other sources of revenue. For example, in the University of Washington school system, state funding for schools decreased as a percentage of total public education budgets from 82% in 1989 to 51% in 2011.”

That’s a loss of more than a third of its public funding. But why this shift in priorities? U.C. Berkeley English professor Christopher Newfield, in his new book Unmaking the Public Universityposits that conservative elites have worked to defund higher education explicitly because of its function in creating a more empowered, democratic, and multiracial middle class. His theory is one that blames explicit cultural concern, not financial woes, for the current decreases in funding. He cites the fact that California public universities were forced to reject 300,000 applicants because of lack of funding. Newfield explains that much of the motive behind conservative advocacy for defunding of public education is racial, pro-corporate and anti-protest in nature.

Under the guise of many “conflicts,” such as budget struggles, or quotas, defunding was consistently the result. This funding argument also was used to reshape the kind of course offerings and curriculum focus found on campuses. Victoria writes, “Attacks on humanities curriculums, political correctness, and affirmative action shifted the conversation on public universities to the right, creating a climate of skepticism around state funded schools. State budget debates became platforms for conservatives to argue why certain disciplines such as sociology, history, anthropology, minority studies, language, and gender studies should be defunded…” on one hand, through the argument that they were not offering students the “practical” skills needed for the job market — which was a powerful way to increase emphasis on what now is seen as vocational focus rather than actual higher education, and to devalue those very courses that trained and expanded the mind, developed a more complete human being, a more actively intelligent person and involved citizen.

Step II: Deprofessionalize and impoverish the professors (and continue to create a surplus of underemployed and unemployed Ph.D.s)

We have 1.5 million university professors in this country, 1 million of whom are adjuncts. One million professors in America are hired on short-term contracts, most often for one semester at a time, with no job security whatsoever – which means that they have no idea how much work they will have in any given semester, and that they are often completely unemployed over summer months when work is nearly impossible to find (and many of the unemployed adjuncts do not qualify for unemployment payments). So, one million American university professors are earning, on average, $20K a year gross, with no benefits or healthcare, no unemployment insurance when they are out of work. Keep in mind, too, that many of the more recent Ph.Ds have entered this field often with the burden of six figure student loan debt on their backs.

This is how you break the evil, wicked, leftist academic class in America — you turn them into low-wage members of the precariat – that growing number of American workers whose employment is consistently precarious. All around the country, our undergraduates are being taught by faculty living at or near the poverty line, who have little to no say in the way classes are being taught, the number of students in a class, or how curriculum is being designed. They often have no offices in which to meet their students, no professional staff support, no professional development support. One million of our college professors are struggling to continue offering the best they can in the face of this wasteland of deteriorated professional support, while living the very worst kind of economic insecurity.

Step III: Move in a managerial/administrative class that takes over governance of the university

Universities often defend their use of adjuncts – which are now 75% of all professors in the country — claiming that they have no choice but to hire adjuncts, as a “cost saving measure” in an increasingly defunded university. What they don’t say, and without demand of transparency will never say, is that they have not saved money by hiring adjuncts — they have reduced faculty salaries, security and power. The money wasn’t saved, because it was simply re-allocated to administrative salaries, coach salaries and outrageous university president salaries. There has been a redistribution of funds away from those who actually teach, the scholars – and therefore away from the students’ education itself — and into these administrative and executive salaries, sports costs — and the expanded use of “consultants,” PR and marketing firms, law firms. 

Step IV: Move in corporate culture and corporate money.

To further control and dominate how the university is “used” — a flood of corporate money results in changing the value and mission of the university from a place where an educated citizenry is seen as a social good, where intellect and reasoning is developed and heightened for the value of the individual and for society, to a place of vocational training, focused on profit. Corporate culture hijacked the narrative – university was no longer attended for the development of your mind. It was where you went so you could get a “good job.” Anything not immediately and directly related to job preparation or hiring was denigrated and seen as worthless — philosophy, literature, art, history.

Step V: Destroy the students.

While claiming to offer them hope of a better life, our corporatized universities are ruining the lives of our students. This is accomplished through a two-prong tactic: you dumb down and destroy the quality of the education so that no one on campus is really learning to think, to question, to reason. Instead, they are learning to obey, to withstand “tests” and “exams,” to follow rules, to endure absurdity and abuse. Our students have been denied full-time available faculty, the ability to develop mentors and advisors, faculty-designed syllabi which changes each semester, a wide variety of courses and options. Instead, more and more universities have core curriculum which dictates a large portion of the course of study, in which the majority of classes are administrative-designed “common syllabi” courses, taught by an army of underpaid, part-time faculty in a model that more closely resembles a factory or the industrial kitchen of a fast food restaurant than an institution of higher learning.

The Second Prong: You make college so insanely unaffordable that only the wealthiest students from the wealthiest of families can afford to go to the school debt free. Younger people may not know that for much of the 20th century many universities in the U.S. were free, including the CA state system: you could establish residency in six months and go to Berkeley for free, or at very low cost. When I was an undergraduate student in the mid- to late-1970s, tuition at Temple University was around $700 a year. Today, tuition is nearly $15,000 a year. Tuitions have increased, using CA as an example again, over 2000% since the 1970s.

Source/Full Article

(via silas216)

A new study claims U.S. residents are wasting nearly every other bite of food they consume. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans are wasting up to 40 percent of the nation’s food supply to the tune of $165 billion per year. Wasted food is said to account for up to a quarter of all freshwater consumed and 23 percent of emissions of methane gas.


As the heatwave claims 46 lives and more than 170 all-time weather records are broken, scientists say the US has had the hottest year since 1895 .. more here