Cliff Mass makes the case that we should ban personal fireworks. I was a skeptic going into the piece, but he convinced me. Among other things, check out the air quality chart documenting the almost unbelievable spike—most especially in Tacoma—of harmful air contaminants that presumably arise from fireworks.

It’s wonderful to see Lindy West get fulltime billing in the op-ed pages of the NYT. I thought her debut entry, which is pretty much aimed at dudes like me, was spot-on.

A moment of brilliance at Vox with “Imagine if the media covered alcohol like other drugs.”

An ongoing drug epidemic has swept the US, killing hundreds and sickening thousands more on a daily basis.

The widespread use of a substance called “alcohol”—also known as “booze”—has been linked to erratic and even dangerous behavior, ranging from college students running naked down public streets to brutal attacks and robberies.

It’s pretty decent illustration, in my view, of the profound hypocrisy in our distinctions between relatively benign illegal drugs and colossally destructive legal ones.


More good news out of the renewable energy sphere this week, as analysts continue to predict the rise of renewables and the demise of fossil energy. According to researchers at Morgan Stanley, the US is on track to exceed its commitments under the Paris agreement regardless of the federal administration’s decision to withdraw from it, based purely on the economics of cost.

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  • We also took a first hesitant step toward eliminating the threat of nuclear annihilation last week with the adoption of a global treaty to ban nuclear weapons. None of the world’s current nuclear powers participated, of course, but a first step is a step, nonetheless.

    I’m not sure how to categorize this article about the “Arks of the Apocalypse”—seed banks, frozen zoos, a mammal milk repository, and other vaults meant to store traces of our fast-disappearing natural heritage for future recovery. I’m glad that they exist, and that scientists around the world have had the foresight to have started these collections before the specimens were lost to us forever. It’s also a sad reminder of the havoc our species continues to wreak on our planetary co-habitants. I suppose it makes me hopeful that, should we ever break out of our current consumption-based paradigm and fall in line with basic principles of ecological limits, we may be able to salvage just a bit of the bounty of biodiversity that allowed our species to develop on this world in the first place.


    I realize Sightline does not often run posts about sports, but I ran across an item that I found worth sharing. The event is summarized in a song by folk singer John McCutcheon and told in more detail in an ESPN segment. IMHO, it is a story of sportsmanship that readers may want to share with their children. And since we ran a free song of Mr. McCutcheon’s from YouTube, we might as well plug his recent baseball-themed album.


    John Abbotts is a former Sightline research consultant who occasionally submits material that Sightline staff members turn into articles.