civilization

The Fresh Air Fund: Seeking Host Families for Summer 2011

The Fresh Air Fund (Fact sheet: English, Spanish) is a program that helps inner city children from New York City; it's been around for a very long time, and we've even posted about it in the past. Some additional details, from their About Us page:

Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences in the country to more than 1.7 million New York City children from disadvantaged communities. Each year, thousands of children visit volunteer host families in 13 states and Canada through the Friendly Town Program or attend Fresh Air Fund camps.

Nearly 10,000 New York City children participate in the program every year. Children from low-income communities ranging in age from six to 18 years old are selected for participation based on financial need. Host families open their homes to these children for one to two weeks or more during the summer time; they are not paid, and there are no financial requirements for host families. Families are selected after "Friendly Town" committees review their applications, visit them in their homes and check personal references.1


Learn how two weeks can change a child's life...

With the summer of 2011 fast approaching, the Fund is looking for more hosting families:

If you or someone you know is able to host, please sign up now. In 2010, The Fresh Air Fund's Volunteer Host Family program, called Friendly Town, gave close to 5,000 New York City boys and girls, ages six to 18, free summer experiences in the country and the suburbs. Volunteer host families shared their friendship and homes up to two weeks or more in 13 Northeastern states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.

To learn more about becoming a host family, read more here. If you are located in one of the five boroughs of New York City and wish to sign your child up for the program, read more here about how to sign up.

Children are our future. Any time you can help children, you are helping by setting an example for the rest of us, as well as providing hope for the legacy of human civilization - a legacy of hope that our future will learn from our past, and benefit from the opportunities we provide.2

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Footnotes

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1 Information according to the Fresh Air Fund fact sheet.

2 Some additional ePluribus Media pieces, stories and blurbs regarding children our history and legacy:

A New Perspective On The Fermi Paradox

 

Ever heard of the Fermi Paradox? Essentially, it's this:

If there are intelligent civilisations elsewhere in the Universe with technologies that far surpass our own, why do we see no sign of them?

The article The Fermi Paradox, Phase Changes and Intergalactic Colonisation, posted June 26 online at the Technology Review, two gentlement from the National Technical University of Ukraine have come up with a new take that's yielding some interesting insights:

Their approach is to imagine that civilisations form at a certain rate, grow to fill a certain volume of space and then collapse and die. They even go as far as to suggest that civilisations have a characteristic life time, which limits how big they can become.

In certain circumstances, however, when civilisations are close enough together in time and space, they can come into contact and when this happens the cross-fertilisation of ideas and cultures allows them both to flourish in a way that increases their combined lifespan.

What's this mean? Well,

The result gives a new insight into the Fermi Paradox. Bezsudnov and Snarskii say that for certain values of these parameters, the universe undergoes a phase change from one in which civilisations tend not to meet and spread into one in which the entire universe tends to become civilised as different groups meet and spread.

Fascinating.

Of course, this doesn't resolve the question definitively, but certainly provides some interesting additional sparks that could catch and burn brightly in a fertile imagination.

What do ~you~ think -- is there any intelligent life in the universe? (Outside of Earth, that is -- effectively avoiding whether or not you'd qualify humanity itself as "intelligent.")

 

Global Climate Change: Warming, Stagnant, Cooling Or What?

The recent "scandal" of hacked emails has created a flurry of activity between global climate change proponents and opponents. From this AP article by David Stringer:

In one of the stolen e-mails, Trenberth is quoted as saying "we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."

He said the comment is presented by skeptics as evidence scientists can't explain some trends that appear to contradict their stance on climate change. Trenberth explained his phrase was actually contained in a paper he wrote about the need for better monitoring of global warming to explain the anomalies — in particular improved recording of rising sea surface temperatures.

In another e-mail posted online, and unrelated to Trenberth, the British research center's director, Phil Jones, wrote that he had used a "trick" to "hide the decline" in a chart detailing recent global temperatures. Jones has denied manipulating evidence and insisted his comment had been misunderstood. He said in a statement Saturday that he'd used the word trick "as in a clever thing to do."

A different AP piece, by Seth Borenstein, appears to provide some facts that back up the frustrated climatologists' claims about context:

Killing Tribes For Oil & Logs

You know the saying that if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it really make a sound? Well, some governments and companies are banking that the public needs to hear or see uncontacted tribes before we care that they are being killed or relocated in the name of oil and mahogany. Companies are invading indigenous lands in the Amazon rainforest of uncontacted tribes causing their deaths, yet officials claim that unseen tribes are nonexistent mythical creations of environmental groups who oppose oil and logging developments. The tribes are then forcibly relocated or members killed sufficient to terminate the tribe's continuity with future generations. Yet, some would like the public to believe that no one was harmed because the tribes are mythical.