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A View From the Edge

Domino Theory comes of age

A View From the Edge

Those of us old enough to remember the excuse, oops sorry, theory of why we were fighting in Vietnam — Eisenhower’s, Nixon’s and Cap Weinberger’s pet phrase, the Domino Theory — also remember that the reasoning was flawed, that if Vietnam fell to the Communists, then the rest of Southeast Asia would fall as well.
The problem there was that, except for Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, the largest portion (land and population) of Southeast Asia was already Communist: China, North Korea and the USSR (remembering that the USSR stretches all the way to the Pacific).

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Life on Earth: coral reefs

A View From The Edge

One-third of all marine life is found in, on and is dependent on coral reefs. However, coral reefs only occupy 1 percent of the seabed, or less than 0.7 percent of the surface of the earth. Think about it, one-third of all life in a vast ocean area covering two-thirds of the planet is crammed in right there on those tiny coral reefs.
Put another way, just over 20 percent of all the life on planet Earth resides in, on and around coral reefs, stuffed into an area less than 1 percent of the earth’s surface.

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Environment facts are not so simple

A View From The Edge

On Feb. 23, a NASA satellite was launched, called Glory, to study the subtle ways solar radiance influences the planet’s climate. Why?
“We are trying to achieve better measurements of both aerosols and total solar irradiance in order to calculate the energy budget — the amount of energy entering and exiting earth’s atmosphere — as accurately as possible,” said Michael Mishchenko of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

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State budget shortfalls — not the worker’s problem

A View From The Edge

There is an old saying: If you borrow a couple of hundred thousand, it is your problem; if you borrow a couple of million, it is the loaner’s problem.
I called the New York State Dormitory Authority (NYDA) and the Office of Mental Health (NYOMH) and asked them a simple question: How much of their budget goes to paying the bonds raised to build the various NYOMH buildings across the state? The responses I got ranged from “we don’t have that information” to “why are you asking” all the way to “that is confidential information available through the governor’s office only.”

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Signs of national decay

A View From The Edge

Empires, vast powerhouses of wealth, prosperity and privilege, rise and fall in history. In hindsight, historians often point to major battles, changes in rulers or other socioeconomic causes as being clear evidence that the empire in question as about to fall, change forever.
However, sometimes there are reasons that only come to light with new evidence, new science. And sometimes there were other signs that, when seen in context of events played out in the political and war arena, become obvious predictors as well.

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Kids have no clue — and it’s not their fault

A View From The Edge

School and youth are times for learning, for building a basic knowledge, for getting your hands dirty, your mind blown, for setting you up for a lifetime of learning. Learning doesn’t stop at school, it is a lifelong pursuit.
But kids today are being pushed past basic understanding, pushed to become proficient instead of knowledgeable, encouraged to become adept instead of capable, left bereft of the capability to build on their own, forced to follow the path laid down by educational aids and enforced machinery.

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