~ ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF THIS WEB SITE – AND ABOUT ITS AUTHOR, BRUCE SUNDQUIST ~
Origin and character of the web site:
First off, people sometimes ask me if this website is for a government agency or some other organization. The answer is No.
I started the website project in the mid-1980s, probably as a response to President Reagan's rejection of environmental determinism theory (when he argued that the scale of human activities are dwarfed by the scale of natural processes). All subsequent Republican presidents have repeated this rejection. That tragic ideology formed the basis of Republican policies (and numerous serious errors) in the areas of population policy, environmental policy, foreign relations (indirectly) and other crucial issues. My interest in environmental determinism theory came from books by Marvin Harris that convinced me of the theory’s value and importance. This led me into the topics you see studied, reviewed and analyzed in my website. (Believe it or not, all the seemingly disparate subjects dealt with on my website are linked by a common thread, a thread that will be made increasingly clear to site visitors as my site continues to be developed.)
Many site visitors mention being impressed by the large amount of work that went into the research that the web site summarizes. I admit to being somewhat of a workaholic. In my high school years I mowed lawns for 9 hours per day, 6 days per week to get money for college. (Subsequently I got scholarships and fellowships to get me through college.) I got a bachelor’s degree in metallurgy with over 140 credits instead of the normal 120. I got a Ph.D. in metallurgy (in 1960) two years after my bachelor’s degree instead of the normal 3-4 years.
I became concerned during the final years of my professional career about the extreme underutilization of computers throughout the US. That fault caused my employer (Westinghouse) to experience a lot of cost overruns and canceled projects. The cost to the nation as a whole is staggering, and is costing US citizens a significant fraction of what they pay for health care. I continue to do research on that issue. That research, plus some environmental determinism theory is what resulted in "Large-Scale Computerization: The Cure for the Health Care Crisis" in my website.
At some point in my professional career I got interested in Maslow’s hierarchy of human motivations and saw the value of proceeding along that hierarchy as a guide for how one ought to proceed through life. My web site reflects the outlook of someone on the fourth level of Maslow’s hierarchy (the level at which one tends to be motivated predominantly by philosophical values).
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Future changes in my web site:
In 1979 I wrote "Capital Utilization Efficiency Vs. Leisure: An Accommodation" that wound up as one of the Finalist paper in the Mitchell Energy Foundation's international competition for economics papers on "The Management of Sustainable Growth." I have now come to realize that this topic has an important role to play in how we in the developed world deal with globalization-related problems. So you may eventually see that paper on my web site.
I am also collecting data from my reviews of the global literature on the degradation of soils, croplands, forest lands, grazing lands, irrigated lands and fisheries to prepare a paper on the sustainability of the world’s food and fiber productivity. That sustainability paper is now on my website. It too has implications for how globalization ought to be managed by the US.
I grew up in Minnesota and Wisconsin and went to Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. I think of myself as a child of Sputnik, since Sputnik produced a huge expansion of US national interest in science and technology (and material sciences in particular) in the early 1950s when I was finishing high school. That "national awakening" is what got me the scholarships and fellowships that got me through my undergraduate and graduate education in metallurgy.
After grad school I moved to the Pittsburgh area and worked as a Senior Scientist in the Physical Chemistry Department of US Steel's E. C. Bain Laboratory for Fundamental Research (1960 - 1972) working and publishing mainly on metallurgical reaction kinetics. I worked as a Senior Engineer in Westinghouse’s Advanced Reactors Division (software development for nuclear fast breeder reactors) from 1972 to 1991, and retired from Westinghouse in 1991.
When I am not working on my website I am frequently writing trail guides. Guides that I have authored or co-authored include: "Allegheny National Forest Hiking Guide" (Eds.1-4), "Hiker's Guide to Laurel Highlands Trail" (Eds.1-5), "Monongahela National Forest Hiking Guide" (Eds.1-8), "Ski-Touring in Western Pennsylvania" (Eds.1-4), "Hiking Guide to Western Pennsylvania" (Eds.1-5), "Canoeing Guide to Western Pennsylvania" (Ed. 2-3), and "The Laurel Highlands – A Hiking Guide" (Ed. 1)
In August of 2006 I turned 70, causing me to give increasing amounts of thought to how best to address the lack of immortality of both my web site and myself. I would like to pass the five literature reviews on land- and fishery degradation off to other people or organizations, since there is plenty of talent more qualified than I to handle such reviews. Also it would keep these reviews from dying when I do.
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