Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dutch news and ideas

Dutch BikeI’ve been stuffing things into Pocket as I read in between work assignments and calls.  Things are hectic, but I want to take time to share a few links and ideas. 

I can’t decide whether the busy days or the short nights are wearing me down but I’m looking forward to having a weekend off.  

People say I’m sighing more than usual too: ‘probably becoming a bad habit when I make a mental shift of perspective on a topic rather than any specific critique on the world.

Can the Dutch have too many bicycles?  link.

This one came from the New York Times, highlighted by a photograph of a woman lost in a sea of parked bikes in the garage outside Amsterdam Centraal.

I don’t see bicycles as a big issue. I’ve learned to look both ways crossing bike paths and feel more pushed around by motor scooters.  Finding a slot on the racks and worrying about having one stolen are my biggest concerns.

Nederland moet vooral weer geld leren verdiene. NLink ELink

Tweede KamerMP Jan Vos writes that the Dutch should return to doing  what they do best: Earning Money.  In particular, foster entrepreneurship and creative innovation to find sustainable energy solutions.  His argument is both historical and global and utterly oversimplified.

Historian Daniel Bell writes thoughtfully on the links between economic and political power, and better analyzes the tensions between business and government.  He goes further to suggest a solution: What if democratically elected representatives were chosen from economic rather than geographic blocks?  Imagine a  Tweede Kamer made up of elected representatives of business, labor, social and cultural groups.  Would that promote transparency, eliminate lobbying?

It’s a more intriguing idea than ‘green startups’.

Dutch are leading more sober lives.  NLink ELink

Nederlanders leiden steeds soberder leven,  but not in a good way.  More materialistic, less open, and more interested in violence according to a survey.   The authors attribute it to the effects of financial austerity; I hope that Dutch tolerance and optimism aren’t fleeing the country.

Bill Nye Aims to Change the World.  ELink

NyeNo, not that Bill Nye.  This is Bill Nye The Science Guy, an American engineer and TV-Science geek who turned up on the local late-night comedy show Almost Live in Seattle in the 80’s.  With the kids, we became fond of his knowledge and his shtick.

I hadn’t thought of him in years, but heard the other day that a conservative radio talk show host had excoriated him on the air for his support of climate change.  When contacted, Bill said that “When Rush Limbaugh says I'm not a scientist, I'm charmed”.  It was a classy comment, and made me go back and look up what he’s doing today.  ‘

Good to see feisty optimism lives on, 30 years later.

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