Senator Richard Lugar remembered for anti-corruption work

Senator Richard Lugar (1932 - 2019) championed accountability for multinationals, especially extractive industries, in how they deal with foreign governments. This was inspired in part by his work as co-chair (with Joe Biden) on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in examining the World Bank's role in Lesotho's Highlands Water Project. The Lesotho government had successfully prosecuted international companies for corruption, a rare and precedent-setting accomplishment. He can be seen at work in this video about the corruption case.

Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System - we have a problem

Boeing 737 MAX"At a high-level briefing at the Federal Aviation Administration on March 28, officials revealed "black box" data from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 indicated that the Boeing 737 MAX's flight software had activated an anti-stall feature that pushed the nose of the plane down just moments after takeoff. The preliminary finding officially links Boeing's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) to a second crash within a five-month period.

The neuroscience of lame excuses

If there was ever an illustration of the human mental interpreter at work, it may be this PR statement about damage caused by reflections from a curved building:   “The phenomenon is caused by the current elevation of the sun in the sky.

"A powerful analysis of our situation"

This book shows how societies and individuals can be victims of their own success, often unconscious of the effects of ingenuity on their environment. When changes are man-made and harmful, a downward spiral begins: development that excludes solutions to problems that arise from development.

10. Excuses, excuses.

Summary: We humans are very adept at creating systems, institutions and cultures which insulate and isolate from our surroundings. While learning is one of our species' special skills, under certain circumstances it fails. A progress trap is one of them. Innovation has unpredictable results that often defy solutions. Science creates unknown factors: pollution and disease, climate instability. Subjugating nature is part of man's culture, but while science has given us powers for dominating nature, it is weak in the area of observing and retreating from mistakes.

Most threats come from progress in science and technology ̶ Stephen Hawking (1942 - 2018)

The renowned physicist recently discussed his BBC* Reith Lecture1 on black holes.2 It emerged that in response to a question submitted by a schoolboy on whether the world is likely to end on account of humans, or through natural disaster, Hawking identified humans

Climate change, beyond a reasonable doubt

On September 20, 2016, three hundred and seventy five members of the National Academy of Sciences, including 30 Nobel laureates, made history. They published  "An Open Letter Regarding Climate Change From Concerned Members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences." Their main concern was that in "the Presidential primary campaign, claims were made that the Earth is not warming, or that warming is due to purely natural causes outside of human control."

Pentagon accepts climate change

solar tentFrom PBS: An operators' manual helps keep your car or computer running at peak performance. Earth science can do the same for the planet. Join host Richard Alley – registered Republican, geologist, former oil company employee and expert on climate change and renewable energy — on a high-definition trip around the globe to learn the story of Earth's climate history and our relationship with fossil fuels.

The book is available at

Download the Kindle version: US UK

You don't actually need a Kindle -

"The Progress Trap - and how to avoid it" Copyright Daniel O'Leary, registered at
the Copyright Office, Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Canada on April 5, 1991 (ref 405917)

Subscribe to the progress trap RSS