Saturday, May 28, 2011

Politics at Brown and in Its Environs

If all went according to plan, as you read this I’m in Providence, which back when I lived there was also the home of Shepard Fairey, the artist responsible for famous cartoony portraits of Obama, Andre the Giant, and (as seen in the nearby image) Olivia Wilde, the Tron Legacy actress and ACLU fan whose uncle is left-anarchist Alexander Cockburn (and who renamed herself after Oscar Wilde in high school).

Politics leaned way left at RISD and at Brown back in the day and probably still does, though at my Campus Dance table last night, if all went as planned, was at least one fellow libertarian and the dear crunchy-left friend who gave me her first edition, first printing copy of Atlas Shrugged.  Let us hope I did not get drunk and recite the John Galt speech, though that would be impressive, you have to admit. 

And even Brown Alumni Monthly now runs ads selling gold as a hedge against economic collapse, judging by the May-June issue with my Class Update note in it (in which I mentioned Fox News and the like, just to make trouble).

BAM and Brown are not giving up on the neo-hippie-lefty dream, though, as noted by Ali Kokmen, who e-mails to say:

I am amused by the last-page piece of the latest Brown Alumni Monthly talking about the new solar-powered automatically compacting trash cans in use on campus, where one sentence after talking about the cost of these items--about $5000--there's a quote from someone in facilities/operations claiming that they estimate these high-tech trashcans save 24 hours of human labor per year.

I'm not a trained genius in business of mathematics, but really, it seems that this thing would have to last for quite a few years before its amortized cost approaches (let alone becomes less than) what I expect is the typical salary of a garbageperson.

Am also amused by the anecdote that the usage of the things are sometimes so not-intuitively obvious that people leave their trash atop them, obscuring the solar panels that make the thing compact. Sometimes, I love Brown students.

Coincidentally, I talked to a woman a couple nights ago who says one of her main worries about global warming is the sinking of the quasi-island of Tuvalu – but she also notes that the place is making great strides by environmental standards after introducing seven composting toilets.  I find it hard to believe that any place that can be greatly affected by seven toilets would be expensive to rescue or relocate in the event of a climate worst-case scenario, as compared to civilization-altering alternative energy schemes.

Maybe I’ll mention that while drunk at some point this weekend.  And if Providence got around to firing its school teachers, I will toast the whole city. 

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