Monthly Archives: January 2009

biochar

I lack all relevant scientific expertise, but biochar sounds very promising to me. Basically, the idea is that you burn “biomass” (crops, trees, used paper, kitchen waste, etc.) with minimal oxygen. You can accomplish this by getting a fire going … Continue reading

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micro-politics in a committee room

I spent two days of this week with a federal advisory committee, deciding what questions to ask on certain official surveys. I was struck (as I sat with my colleagues in an underground hotel room), that various combinations of “discourses” … Continue reading

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bringing a Maine mill town back together

(Washington, DC) Jesse Ellison has a good story in Newsweek about how Somali immigrants are helping to revive the decayed mill town of Lewiston, Maine. At first, there was severe conflict between the older residents and the newly arrived Somalis, … Continue reading

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measuring what matters

(Washington, DC) I am here for a meeting of a federal committee–one of dozens–that helps to decide which statistics to gather from public school students. We are especially focused on socio-economic “background variables” that may influence kids’ success in schools. … Continue reading

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collaborative problem-solving: the fake corporate version

I am back in DC (for the third trip in two weeks), and this time I am greeted by hundreds of Chevron ads asking Metro riders to “join” the company in saving energy by making various personal sacrifices. The real … Continue reading

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Jahrzeit

My father, Joseph M. Levine, died last year on this date. This is my obituary or appreciation of him. On the advice of a reader, I also put a photo of him on this blog for one year. I’ve taken … Continue reading

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the executive order on transparency, participation, and collaboration

President Obama signed this order on his first full day in office. It looks promising. I am particularly pleased that the Administration sees transparency, participation, and collaboration as related. There is a broad and strong movement for transparency, which I … Continue reading

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people power (notes from the Inauguration)

Monday morning: the Delta shuttle to DC is disappointing. It’s only two-thirds full, and some of the passengers (to judge from their cell-phone conversations) are not going to the Inauguration. I meet the rest of my family at National Airport, … Continue reading

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for I will consider my dog Barkley

For I will consider my dog Barkley.For he has no inkling of things metaphysical.For he never meets a creature who is not his friend.For if he worships, it is done his way.For first he sniffs incessantly in circles.For secondly he … Continue reading

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on the Inauguration of Barack Obama

We are in Washington, DC, for the Inauguration–attending some parties and trying to catch a glimpse of the actual event. This blog is carefully nonpartisan, because I believe there is an important nonpartisan agenda for civic renewal, which is the … Continue reading

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