Beyond cause and effect

11.24.15_Tree-compositeEconomists and statisticians distinguish between correlation and causality. What if, one day a year, those two were switched? What if they switched once a month, or once a week? Maybe in the minds of the desperate, the distinction is meaningless.

Two Swiss researchers found that when plankton levels in the ocean drop 10%, Somalian pirate activity ticks up a corresponding 10%. With the collapse of the fisheries they’ve relied on for generations, they are driven to find other uses for their boats.

Last year, earthquakes over magnitude 3.0 increased in Oklahoma from an average of less than two per year to 585. Bore holes from fracking chewed their lacy patterns into the earth’s mantle like termites under a house.

Years of drought in a country with poverty and ethnic and religious tensions destabilizes an already stressed situation and tilts the people into civil war, as well as making them easy prey for terrorist organizations. If they’re under authoritarian rule, this is even more likely.

There’s a whale researcher who theorizes that whale song helps to regulate the movement of the earth’s unstable tectonic plates. Even as a byproduct of their communicating and navigating underwater, it’s wondrous. Right up there with the processional effect of pollination by bees.

Every behavior on earth has secondary and tertiary effects, some we can’t even begin to imagine, fixated as we are on the seen world, the measurable, the marketable. Maybe those very words, secondary and tertiary, have been waiting patiently for us to discover this truth and get more curious.

The fossil fuels we burn today to heat our homes and power our vehicles emit gases that take up to 50 years to render their full effects on the climate and the oceans. Today’s climate effects come from the economic engines of 1965.

We have actually allowed fat, obscenely rich white men to lie to us and steal our children’s future and kill the one home we have, all so we could drive big cars and wear T-shirts indoors in January and aspire to own a beach house and wear Pandora bracelets.

In the police raid of the St-Denis apartment after the Paris terror attacks, a 7-year-old police dog named Diesel was shot and killed. The golden-coated Malinois (Belgian shepherd) who was due to retire in two months.

In London, just outside Hyde Park, there’s a memorial to animals in killed during war sevice. The sweep of white Portland stone is carved with a bas-relief of animals, from carrier pigeons to elephants, horses, dogs, mules and camels. The inscription reads, “They had no choice.”

The words, “idiomatic” and “anomalous” are favored by scientists because they don’t like the sound of “I don’t know.”

On November 14, Baltimore broke its record, last set during the drug wars of the 1990s, for the most per capita murders in one year. We are up to 310 now. The victims range in age from 9 months to 71 years old, with most in their 20s and 30s. They cluster in the poorest neighborhoods.

Tens of thousands of scientists have poured their life’s work and spent the equivalent of nine billion dollars to find the Higgs boson particle and prove a mathematical theory of reality. Are they just a curious bunch? Or are they looking for better ways to master Creation?

I first saw and heard buskers in the tunnels of the Paris subway. There were no buskers in the suburbs where I grew up, because everyone was sealed away inside their cars listening to pop music on the Top-40 station.

A group called Anonymous has declared cyber war on ISIS, shutting down thousands of their social media accounts and publishing a “how to” hacking guide for others. They are also “rickrolling” all pro-ISIS hashtags, flooding them with a 1987 music video of Rick Astley singing “Never Gonna Give You Up.” I like the humor in that.

Instead of bombing ISIS, what if we invited them to do Improv with us? There are three simple rules: 1) Make offers; 2) be generous; ad 3) no matter what the other person says, reply with “yes, and . . .”

Our arms and legs were designed to be equally useful pulling things towards us as pushing them away. We draw in and we reject with equal efficiency. In reality, muscles only work by contraction of the fibers. So what looks like a pushing motion is actually a pulling in.

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