What will you find through these doorways?
These links are aimed at education on some of the topics affecting all of us today, and a few for fun.
The first, on Mission 2020, is the most important of them all. If humanity doesn't 'get it' that we need to both be aware of the problem, and also act on it successfully, our grandchildren will likely see not just 'catastrophic conditions,' they will see the beginning of what many climatologists are already calling 'The Anthropogenic Sixth Great Extinction Event.' We must not let that happen, and we presently have all the solutions at hand to fix it. We are now at a time when it's 'all hands on deck,' for both personal and civic responsibility. Solutions involved for personal responsibility are mostly very simple ones.
Others, are complex and require critical thinking skills on a high level, hence the links to free college education courses, the MIT curriculum, the MIT OpenCourseWare project, the Khan "Academy," and more, below.
First, let's define the main problem we need to solve — global warming
Mission 2020 — This is essentially our roadmap, with timelines and emissions targets, to handling global warming. Written by Christiana Figueres, who moderated the first Paris Climate talks, and many of the climatologists that helped frame the Paris Climate talks. For anyone, in my opinion, this is the most important set of documents out there on our present need for actively dealing without delay on global warming. From there, every family, town, city, county, province and country is going to have to develop their own plan to bring them to a level where we all together can be in 'first gear' by 2020. Look at the link to the PDF of co-signatories, and you'll see the names of the primary contributors. We can do this!
Climate Communication — Global warming is the single largest threat to humanity's health, and our species' survival depends now on our solving it—slowing it down dramatically within the next ten years. If you look in Susan Hassol's biography, at her projects, you will see a list of U.S. Climate Impact Assessment reports and others that she has worked on—please explore those. She also wrote and featured in the first HBO documentary called Too Hot Not to Handle—highly recommended to watch, and available through many library systems.
Know that we do have the solutions at hand, we just need to implement them world-wide, as individuals, and as nations. This is hugely important, and cannot be stressed enough—we are in dire trouble, we know that, and it is past time that we now focus on full implementation of the solutions, which we have. Research shows we also have to solve the rest of the world's problems at the same time. People in poverty, starving, in war zones, suffering from disease or illness, etc., feel helpless to do anything about global warming—we need to bring everyone up at the same time, so everyone can help each other. A huge task, but with everything we have today, it is eminently doable, it simply has not been done before.
Research shows if you set your goals impossibly high, you'll actually reach much, much higher than if you only set 'realistic' goals, which are usually just reached, but rarely reached any higher than just that level. Education around global warming is key here, and they have a page of links specifically around that, and the solutions: here.
The 'disappeared' EPA Climate Change web pages—luckily, before Trump/Pruitt could do their 'Stalin re-enactment' of disappearing historical information, some folks archived the climate science information so it would not be lost. Some of it will be crucial to the federal lawsuit that a group of children have brought against the U.S. Government for not acting responsibly to mitigate it or slow it down fast enough, thereby endangering the well-being of future generations (99 % of whom I would not expect to be wealthy enough to afford their own 'Mars habitats').
The NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer — This new beta version allows an in-depth (not to be too punny) look at U.S. coastlines at varying sea level rise scenarios up to 6 feet from today's level. Given that last year it was announced at a large insurance conference that yet to be formally announced climate modeling shows that if we don't transition to non-fossil fuels within the next ten to fifteen years, we can expect to see sea levels rise to 9 feet higher by 2050-2060. So go ahead and crank it up to 6 feet to get the best idea of what is at stake just in terms of loss of U.S. habitable soil, and what will quickly become a need for mass evacuations of approximately 12..5 million climate refugees in the U.S. alone. Where will they go? How will we move all the elderly, infirm and the poor? How will we house them and feed them through the process?
Why not prevent it from happening in the first place and complete the transition in time? It would be a lot cheaper worldwide than dealing with a catastrophe that could likely make us go extinct (google: phytoplankton-ocean temperature rise-oxygen), and give us much cleaner air, more jobs, more prosperity, and greater health. We also would likely then Not go extinct and take perhaps a third of the world's species with us. I very much like the win-win-win scenarios much more than the extinction scenarios.
An Inconvenient Sequel—Truth to Power — The sequel to An Inconvenient Truth, You can check out the first one at many libraries if you didn't see that when it came out in 2006. It is often said in marketing circles that it takes seeing something important at least three times before it sinks into the viewer's mind that it should be thought of as important. So I hope there is another sequel to the sequel next year. We have no time to lose on this.
Knowledge to do our part to help fix it. Many solutions you will have to come up with yourself to be able to be the most effective in your own efforts to reduce your personal 'carbon footprint.'
The MIT OpenCourseWare Project — after the breathtaking views from the Hubble, I think anyone would want to know more about it all, and that's where MITs open knowledge project comes in; possibly the most laudable teaching mechanism/web-work on the internet. If you want your formal degree to be from MIT, you still have to go there, but if all you want is the coursework and basic knowledge, they're putting it all on the web, for free (sort of, partly, not quite true, more like 'virtually free'... as buying all the books in the bibliographies will set you back many thousands of dollars-so I hope you've got a library card and know how to use it!). I've most enjoyed that they have said they will post the best term paper, the latest researched conjectures, from each department - each semester.
The Khan Academy — For video tutorials on learning everything from Kindergarten math to algebra to computer programming to biology to chemistry to health and medicine and much more; for students, teachers and parents. Sooo much to learn in here, and with all the videos, it's even more fun than watching sports or reality TV or faux news! We need to encourage them to add a section on Climate Science posthaste.
Modern States — "A non-profit education alliance dedicated to college access for all, in partnership with edX from Harvard and MIT. ... Modern States offers free, high-quality online courses taught by college professors that prepare you for virtually all of the major AP and CLEP exams, which are well-established and widely-accepted. Solid performance on the exams (each participating college decides what scores you need for credit) can earn you college credits and enable you to save tuition dollars. You can take one course or many; if you do well on eight exams, you can potentially earn Freshman Year for Free." This is a great opportunity for thousands of us to pick up speed, the knowledge for free, and the college credits for very low cost (the courses are free, the CLEP exams to get the official college credits average around $92 per subject).
Excel-Easy — From Amsterdam, and not just for kids, this is about making working with Excel easy. Spreadsheets and dealing with data are things many of us need to master in order to make certain elements of life more understandable.
Goodwill Community Foundation–Global — From learning the pathways through Microsoft Office programs, to how to use Dropbox, create Resumes, utilize Mac OS, Windows 10, or understand how the internet works, this website has a huge amount to offer–for free.
LOC–Library of Congress — Guide to Online Resources—A treasure trove of knowledge available through the web.
Please remember to always take a break each day, hopefully also getting in a 'powernap,' and not forget to 'smell the roses' and marvel at this amazing universe we live in.
Hubble Space Telescope pictures — The Hubble has been upgraded many times now, and the result has been more spectacular than anyone ever expected! Be prepared to have your view of the universe changed dramatically. The colors and shapes of the different nebulae and supernovae are beyond what anyone ever imagined. The Eagle Nebulae Star Egg Pillars can be seen from this page. I can't recommend this site highly enough.Chandra X-Ray Observatory—The pictures and article are such that about all one can do is be amazed and wonder. A presenter at a lecture at the Aspen Physics Institute once showed overlaid pictures of infrared, X-ray and the optical spectrum; and afterwards, rather than address the 'potential implications' of what was seen, she simply went further into describing the clouds of oxygen and hydrogen present in massive quantities as the audience's jaws were left on the floor. While the link describes certain energy flows, it is, alas, about all we can do. The magnitude and possible implications of the energy flows, when combined with images and corresponding theory from the visible and infrared spectrums, the verified existence of black holes coming together in huge galactic collisions, the mystery of seemingly attractive dark matter and the confirmed acceleration of space as we know it, well, I think each of us is going to have to give it private thought, contemplation, and come to our own unique conclusions. Visit this page for one of the pictures the lecturer displayed.
The NASA Shuttle site —"The NASA Shuttle Web" — when happening, this has Live Audio and Video feed from the Space Shuttle Houston Center. Some incredible footage of the earth from space!
National Geographic Photography — Stunning, amazing, jaw-dropping pictures of our world.
Animated knots — If you're going fly fishing in Glenwood on the Colorado River, the Roaring Fork River, or up on the Gold Medal world class Frying Pan River up from Basalt, or the Gunnison anywhere on its path to it's grand junction with the Colorado in Grand Junction, brush up (and practice, practice, practice) on your knot tying. The site is amazing; for all of us that never got our knot-tying merit badges... it has links to virtually every kind of knot imaginable, from sailors knots, to fly fishing knots, climbing knots, and knots that are more like jigsaw puzzles and brainteasers than anything functional.
Personally, my all-time favorite is one I used when I worked at a lumber yard during my college years and sometimes made deliveries of lumber to job sites: the Trucker's Hitch—a power-cinch knot. Easy to do (but not so easy to remember—hence the website link in here to remind me). Just remember that when you get the rope through the loop, that's when you pull/cinch it down, then secure it; is easy to untie, and holds tight if you did it right, and like the granny knot, it's known for coming undone and spilling loads if you didn't get it right.
Visitor guide for the Grand Junction, Colorado area—for family vacations, the Grand Junction area is hard to beat. Grand Junction is named for the grand junction of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, with the Colorado Monument National Monument only a few miles to the southwest, and adjacent BLM land with majestic canyons and incredible rock formations stretching all the way to the Utah border; there is abundant wildlife—bighorn sheep, mountain lion (though luckily you virtually never see them), marmots, the Colorado River, which you can raft through in the summertime, with a company started in 1989 called Rimrock Adventures based in Fruita. I'm also going to do a shoutout here for a friend who volunteers for a lot of things, is a great graphic artist, and is doing a start-up at the Factory co-working facility, called Wild Monkey Designs.
Visitor guide for the Glenwood Springs, Colorado area—for family vacations, the Glenwood area is also hard to beat, with the world's largest hot springs pool, the Glenwood Caverns for both tourist style tours, as well as real spelunking, and its Adventure Park for the kids and adventurous parents, with swings over cliffs, and roller coasters and zip lines that go down the mountainside; the Yampah Spa and Vapor caves for an historic kind of steam bath, and massages, the breathtaking Glenwood Canyon, which is formed by the same river forming the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, which you can raft through in the summertime; the White River National Forest (make sure and get a trail map at Summit Canyon Mountaineering in downtown Glenwood before you go hiking though.. don't want to get lost!); and if you're lucky, you'll get to see some of the bighorn sheep No Name herd just outside of Glenwood in the canyon. But don't get too close, those horns can go right through you, and while normally peaceful, they're known to charge if they feel threatened.
I hope you have a very enjoyable time exploring all of what is through these incredible doorways.