Monday, April 21, 2008

Socially Responsible Investing

After the Exxon Valdez


Socially responsible investing (SRI) in the United States is now growing at a much faster pace than the broader universe of all investment assets under professional management (Report on Socially Responsible Investing Trends in the United States, SIF). From 2005 to 2007, SRI assets increased more than 18 percent, while all investment assets under management edged up by less than 3 percent.

SRI is a broad-based approach to investing that now encompasses an estimated $2.3 trillion out of $24 trillion in the U.S. investment marketplace. SRI recognizes that corporate responsibility and societal concerns are valid parts of investment decisions. You may also hear SRI-like approaches to investing referred to as mission investing, responsible investing, double or triple bottom line investing, ethical investing, sustainable investing, or green investing.

For more information, go to the Social Investment Forum

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Signs of Spring

It snowed, then hailed, an hour after I took this picture of tulips basking in the sun. Ah spring.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Milky Way Black Hole

In the middle of our own Milky Way Galaxy, lies a black hole. Two hundred billion stars revolve around it, drawn by its inexorable power -- a power driven by a mass four million times that of the sun. No one has ever seen a black hole, for no light can escape their boundless depths, but they do emit X-rays. The photo above shows X-rays made visible in an image of the Milky Way’s black hole, with matter swirling towards it. Have you ever wondered what's on the other side of a black hole?

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For more on the story, see the April 2008 issue of Smithsonian

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Condor

We watched this giant bird

soar so far above us

Surely its wings

would shade us from the sun

and beating the air

would cause the birch to sway and bend

the leaves to flow along the dry river bed

and soaring into the heavens

would bring us rain

So great a creature

we made it a god

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The California condor is an impressive and ugly bird -- with a bald, leathery head, red eyes and a big, razor-sharp beak. It's the largest living thing flying over North America -- with a nearly 10-foot wingspan. Listen to a special report and read about it on NPR.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lunar Eclispe


Night
Sky
Moon
Stars
There, on the surface
Abandoned
Night
Sky
Moon
Stars
Alone
Gazing at you

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Enhanced Interrogation

Captain Schmerz watched from the observation room as Sergeant Phelps and Corporal Jackson dragged and pushed the prisoner into the interrogation room. The man was hooded, his hands were tied behind him, and he was hobbled, so that he shuffled, crab like between Phelps and Jackson. Once in the room, Phelps gave a slight push and the man lost his balance and fell heavily to the floor. Jackson placed his foot in the man’s back and kept him pinned there while Phelps knelt besides the prisoner, took a box cutter from his belt and began to cut and rip the man’s clothes from his body.

Jackson and Phelps took the prisoner by the feet and arms and carried him to a low, inclined stainless steel autopsy table. Captain Schmerz heard the man’s head clang on the table as Phelps and Jackson dropped him on his back. Schmerz had instructed his men to set favorable conditions for the prisoner’s interrogation and they seemed to be doing that with enthusiasm. Schmerz had acquired a well-deserved reputation among members of the EIT -- the enhanced interrogation team – for the deft way in which he administered the WB technique. It was simple really. Schmerz took a toothpick and poked a small hole in the cellophane that covered a WB subject’s nose and mouth. The subject invariably gasped for breath when a stream of water was poured over the cellophane – after all, the poor schmuck thought he was drowning – and as he did, fine droplets of water were taken into the subject’s nose and mouth, enhancing the exquisite sense of asphyxiation as the gag reflex kicked into hyper drive. Schmerz smiled as he opened the door to the interrogation room. It was rewarding to know that you were really good at something.

Read the full story. Click on Enhanced Interrogation under My Writings.

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Torture Memo: Re: Standards of Conduct for Interrogation under 18 U.S.C. 2340-2340A from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel for Alberto R. Gonzales, counsel to President Bush.