Alan Flippen: ‘As much as I agree with you on the substance here, the Roman history lesson you posted doesn’t really work as an analogy. By 68 BC the Roman Republic had already been through 60 years of intermittent civil wars and dictatorships; this was merely one more step along the road to its destruction, not the start of it. What may be more relevant in the long run is the cause of all the turmoil: the widening gap between patricians and plebeians, or in today’s terms, between the haves and have-nots. It was as unhealthy for society then as it is now.’


Joanna Opaskar: ‘Maybe good news for Borealis?’

☞ This is a link to an NPR interview where Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson, who has committed $3 billion or so over 10 years to reduce CO2 emissions, described an idea for saving fuel on the tarmac:

You are towed by a small tug to the starting grid. Then the pilot would turn on the engines 10 minutes before take-off and then take off. On a global basis we’re talking about millions of tons of CO2 saving just on that idea alone.

So what if you didn’t even need a tug? What if an electric motor the size of a watermelon could drive the plane on the tarmac instead? Maybe Sir Richard will risk a tiny sliver of that $3 billion to take Borealis subsidiary Chorus Motors subsidiary WheelTug under his wing.

(If you speak English, you could do it, too)

Jesse: ‘There were 48 teachers for the three weeks this September in Wuhan – 140 grad students for each pair of teachers, so it’s a significant thing [24 pairs x 140 = 3,360 students] and much appreciated at Huazhong University. Our students have been studying English since the 6th grade, but almost none of them ever talked with an American before. Don’t know the American teacher numbers on the July session [though summers are probably even more popular]. My lady Sharon and I took the optional one week tour (Beijing and Xian) before classes, and yes, that plus airfare ate up our stipend and then some. There is also a week tour after classes which we did not take. We live in Ohio in Summer; Tucson in Winter. Got interviewed in Tucson but did not attend training sessions there. Most of the teachers are from Tucson, but some from far away places, many walks of life. Teach for Friendship is sort of a private mini-Peace Corps, all administered by unpaid staff. A great way for retired people to spend time and effort. If the idea could catch on and similar outfits set up around the US it could be a great thing for our country.’


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