I watched The Lorax one evening (a thoroughly forgettable film) and went to bed and dreamed two dreams:
The first was a sort of Roger Rabbit adventure where every sequence ended by turning into an image of the Mandelbrot set and tumbling dominoes. I woke thinking, "Aha! It's a program and there's a bug in it - up near the beginning someplace but the variable that trips it is towards the end."And woke in the morning with an inkling, a notion of a way out of this hole.
The second was not so salubrious - two enormously fat middle-aged sisters with blonde bouffant hairdos sprayed to rigidity, playing with hot rats in their trailer home. I'll spare you the details except to say I was not aroused. I woke again understanding how one might simply ... back away.
It is an odd kind of self-indulgence to even consider carrying out an urban legend such as hot rats (though dreaming of it is ok I hope). Not so unlike insisting upon unrealistic standards in one realm or another which only realize some personal integrity (a kind of lazy simplification) which leads (or may lead) to making rude and offensive remarks gratuitously, consistently overreaching - jumping in with both feet (f'rinstance) when someone says, "If only things were like this," when they are not, or, "If only humans were rational!" Gentler to whisper 'If wishes were horses beggars would ride,' very softly, even silently to one's self (like a good Buddhist) and leave it at that, carry it away for private meditation.
Resonates with Dylan's line: "... every man’s conscience is vile and depraved: you cannot depend on it to be your guide when it’s you who must keep it satisfied." (The context makes me think he is doing a biblical reference but I don't know what it is - and Google hasn't helped.)
[If this works I may say, years hence, "Someone might have said something, told me. That was sure the hard way to get here. ... But, better the hard way than not at all eh?"]
Not being paranoid or schizophrenic is a lucky break - not a danger, nor violent nor physically threatening (moreso in younger days perhaps), not 'certifiable'. The worst is maybe just spreading skewed ideas on the outside (and often being lonely and unhappy on the inside). Double jeopardy in full force on both fronts of course - spreading the skewed and not spreading the straight, being indeed of no use or ornament, a drag, nor no advantage to no one neither.
So. How to follow this thread without tugging too hard and falling back into the same muck?
It began before The Lorax: hearing of the gov'nor's death; the waiting room in The Magus floating up again; watching Nineteen Eighty-Four again - Room 101 is where they take you when you are ready, softened up to face your greatest fear.
[There could be a digression here: distinguishing art from dreck not by what endures but by what is worthy of being looked at repeatedly - which is different ... another day.]
Unde Malum: "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing," as I remembered it from high-school, from Alexander Pope (1688-1744) in his early poem An Essay on Criticism:
A little Learning is a dang'rous Thing;"A little learning is a dangerous thing," he says. By itself we could easily take it another way to: All learning is partial and therefore 'little', so all learning is dangerous and bad. A sort of Taliban interpretation of a single line from Pope. Probably better to keep it in context.
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
In fact the last imagery in this section of the poem could be called despairing: "... we tremble to survey the growing Labours of the lengthen'd Way, th' increasing Prospect tires our wandering Eyes, Hills peep o'er Hills, and Alps on Alps arise!"
[This time let the digression proceed.]
Nuremburg. Two quotes from a 2005 article in the Washington Post:
Arnold Weiss: "You must understand that I'm not ready to talk about what happened. Because there is no statute of limitations on murder." (Changed his name from Wangersheim to Weiss/White somewhere along the way.)Prejudice. Eradicating evil. None of it is very simple. (Without once mentioning that Arnold and Ben are not tall either, though not as tiny as Alexander ...)
Benjamin Ferencz: "I once saw DPs beat an SS man and then strap him to the steel gurney of a crematorium. They slid him in the oven, turned on the heat and took him back out. Beat him again, and put him back in until he was burnt alive. I did nothing to stop it. I suppose I could have brandished my weapon or shot in the air, but I was not inclined to do so. Does that make me an accomplice to murder?"
[Ah, you probably know by now, or could know, how I love to heap on red herrings till the cart collapses. In the hope of coming out on some 'other side' and blowing a kiss at R.D. Liang's Bird of Paradise.]
There are ample clues in the 'War On Terror' and the 'War On Drugs' to convince anyone that demonizing, even eradicating perpetrators does not work. If only humans were rational!
Shunning, the direst illth - or so it is according to certain bourgeois bromides. Nonsense of course. How to compare being chopped up alive or dipped in acid, a Sharia stoning or amputation, with being ... shunned, PNG, unwelcome. Not on the same scale at all. (Or are they? Maybe they are on the same scale but just in different places on it: "Do what we tell you to do, or else! Whatever it takes.")
In the policies of correctitude there is no need of splitting hairs.
Compared with the utter simplicity of correcting faults in common as laid out in, say, Matthew 18. Not the Sermon on the Mount 'r nothin' but it's right up there, and the source of that wonderful old (if somewhat counterintuitive) chestnut The Ninety And Nine.
In verse 15 we may be curious, half convinced, in verse 16 more confident, the two verses interpenetrate. And then, suddenly, shockingly, in verse 17, Ka-bam! Shun the sucker!:
15: Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.The meshing of 15&16 vanishes, transmutes into a linear argument with all the authority of gravity. And no confusing semicolons in this passage either eh?
16: But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17: And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Just to put Ovid to bed: David Malouf in his novel An Imaginary Life too often crosses the line between imaginary-suspended-judgement and imaginary-damned-inconsistent-nonsense. (This on third or fourth reading too - not a quick learner.)
As if one doesn't know: that learning the basics of a language (especially for such exalted sensibilities as our Naso claims to enjoy) is not a matter of years (p21); that learning to ride a horse (p42) is more than a five minute exercise; or recognize in such minor nonsense as "walking through the high grasses side by side" (p145) that he has no idea or experience of doing any such thing; so that by the time he writes of "the sap mounting in bubbles" (p146) it is ... unbelievable, incredible. There are clues in the Afterword (p153-4) that the source of the pervading falseness could be a certain arrogance - but you might not agree.
There may also be a reason for Ovid's salacious bits being stressed (or unstressed as the case may be among the bowdlerizers). As Malouf says: "this glib fabulist".
Nonetheless worth any and all the trouble to come upon this (discounting the reference to 'fate'):
"... I am going out now into the unknown, the real unknown, compared with which Tomis was but a degenerate outpost of Rome, and am, I believe, following the clear path of my fate. Always to be pushing out like this, beyond what I know cannot be the limits — what else should a man's life be? Especially an old man who has, by a clear stroke of fortune, been violently freed of the comfortable securities that make old men happy to sink into blindness, deafness, the paralysis of all desire, feeling, will. What else should our lives be but a continual series of beginnings, of painful settings out into the unknown, pushing off from the edges of consciousness into the mystery of what we have not yet become, except in dreams ..." (p135).Page references are to the Picador 1980 edition, 154 pages.
Four scientific preludes: A (not generally mooted) reason for the lack of public uptake around the environmental crisis is the ambivalence with which we (the lumpen-prole hoi polloi) regard scientists, augmented by the increase both of scientific illiteracy and economic inequality. It's cool to have your own language and to live, or feel that you deserve to live, among the plutocrats, the so-called 1% (or at the very least get the perks). And all for very good reasons - organizationally and personally defensible, entirely. No surprises.
(As he tentatively takes a seat among the stinking jeering jackanapes.)
[It is more-and-more difficult to access source documents. Why is that? I trust collecting these few together here is of some use to someone.]
1. Seeing Red: (REDD REDD+ SMF SFM RIL ...
I get the news every day from Amigos da Terra Amazônia, and about two weeks ago it was: Extração sustentável em florestas tropicais é impossível, afirma estudo. So I plod along to see if I can track down and winkle out this 'estudo' and find:
Source documents are so locked-up behind pay-walls but there are rituals to free them, secret handshakes. I indulge, hope for the best. Sometimes it works. But it's a struggle and by the time I actually have copies I really don't feel much like it any more, so plus it all a week to 'accentuate the positive'.
The source: Prospects for Sustainable Logging in Tropical Forests by Barbara L. Zimmerman and Cyril F. Kormos in BioScience;
Some additional commentary: (in English this time) Experts: sustainable logging in rainforests impossible;
An opposing view: (or contrasting at least) Sustaining conservation values in selectively logged tropical forests: the attained and the attainable by Francis E. Putz et al. in the latest Conservation Letters;
A-and commentary on that too: Can loggers be conservationists?.
[But before a positive thrall force-field can be fully established and 'kicked in' (it's inexperience y'unnerstan') I am already peeking, and musing ... something like this: SMF? Suck yo MothaFucka? SFM? Suck yo Fatha Mothafucka? RIL? Is that anything to do with a rim-job? Or with that clever definition a while back for 'Santorum'? Turning up words like: 'expert' 'governance' 'meta-analysis' (with the adjective 'simple' applied to it). Uh oh! (Good thing I decided to wait.) In days gone by trying to write LISP programs, AI stuff to perform this meta-whazis. AECL wanted a program to 'read' the operational documentation for a nuclear power plant - 100+ shelf/feet - and find inconsistencies (but we want a computer to do it not a person, it's a secret y'know). Turned out the answer was lurking right there inside the question the whole time, and anyway, nobody cared much. (Bad as it is, this stays put - but in tiny gray text - to remind me to persevere and as evidence of what goes on, what does go on like it or not.)]
So what have we got? One says 'Nay nay! (but you could maybe go this other way),' and the other 'Yea yea! Cut baby cut! (but gently, tenderly baby).' All of it bundled and hedged (an apt word in the context on several senses of 'hedge') in thickets of arcane & newly-minted nomenclature.
For the record: the Nay definitely wins the argument (by my limited lights) and shows a way to a way out of the quandary (unlikely to occur? - but then again, there was that father & son team in Miguel Pereira recently eh?). On the patented Acme Seem-o-Scale there are no, none, zero 'seem's in the 'Nay' and three (3) of 'em in the 'Yea'. QED right there.
Old fashioned I guess - I like to see and hear people. Here's a video: Barbara Zimmerman, Protecting The Amazon Rainforest (20 minutes). If you listen carefully you may hear a story with the ring of truth about it, nuanced and messy truth even (the best kind!). Also a connection to Tuíra Kayapó and to David Suzuki who tells another part of the same story in here (20 minutes).
The bottom line? A(nother) smoke screen of false controversy ('false' - I would say false, you might not, but if not controversy, then unnecessary uncertainty at least eh?) which mostly serves and benefits the greedy corporations (and their greedy employees) who are unquestionably extracting resources unsustainably and who use whatever they can find as boilerplate for their lies and delay.
Problem is that the discussion is carried on in a format and language that has been about thoroughly debased and discredited by the UNFCCC fiasco. (Though here again 'Nay' does a better job than 'Yea' - there are residual, vestigial hints of passion.) The word 'chagrin' which comes from a method of tanning that sometimes leaves the skins greenish was made for this.
Do we need a special definition either of 'dangerous' as used in the '92 climate pronouncement or of 'sustainable'? Does what is in the OED not serve well enough?
I do enjoy reading the proper names of trees and something about their lives, comforting: ipé (known as 'icky wood' around BC Ferries docks), Tabebuia; jatoba, Hymenaea; flamboaiã, Delonix regia ... açaí, Euterpe oleracea (Euterpe is another of those pesky muses, not a grace but tall, swaying, someone imagines).
Who knows what to do? Turn up the voltage on the electric fence around the source documents? Keep 'those people' right out'a there? Move the whole shebang to a gated community? Buy guns? ... Is that it?
What I can do for now is this: If anyone wants to read these reports, contact me via the blog profile or leave a comment - I will send them to you with a smile. Then you can read them at leisure and make up your own mind - that's always best. We could even discuss it - theoretically this Internet thing is good for that.
2. Fracking studies (Not!):
[There is a metaphor for love-making: 'wind and cloud'; I have been told it is chinese but it is so ... incoherence ... static ... (This paragraph intentionally left blank.)
Or try on some scripture (for what it's worth), Genesis 25: "Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles." Worthy of a careful look this story: twins, so one is born first, and who wins? and who gets the girl?]
This short clip (4 minutes) by Raymond Orbach & Charles Groat at The University of Texas sums it up in a way. The original doesn't play very well for me so I posted a copy on YouTube.
Some source documents are readily available:
Ohio: An Analysis of the Economic Potential for Shale Formations in Ohio, Andrew Thomas, Principal Investigator, CSU; Iryna Lendel, CSU; Edward Hill, CSU; Douglas Southgate, Ohio State; Robert Chase, Marietta - (as a 'cloud', whatever that is - but given where I began a few minutes ago it has me looking over my shoulder), or as a pdf (81 pages).
Texas: Assessing the Real and Perceived Consequences of Shale Gas Development which presents a menu of items. The two that I find interesting are: Separating Fact from Fiction: Assessing the Real and Perceived Consequences of Shale Gas Development (booklet, 8 pages); and, Fact-Based Regulation for Environmental Protection in Shale Gas Development, Charles Groat & Thomas Grimshaw (full report, 400+ pages). (Sometimes the links don't work (?) but right-click 'Save Link As' seems to be ok.)
You can watch and listen to Charles Groat in this video: Dr. Charles Groat Discusses New Study on Hydraulic Fracturing and Groundwater Contamination (12 minutes); and in this video playlist: Hear Our Voices produced by ANGA - America's Natural Gas Alliance, very slick (beware, playlists repeat automatically).
Not hard to see where the bottom line is at in this one.
A-and some source documents are not:
Two-year survey comparing earthquake activity and injection-well locations in the Barnett Shale, Texas, but just the abstract is unlocked and I can't be bothered going after it. The author is Cliff Frohlich, at UTIG (University of Texas Institute for Geophysics), and another blurb at IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) where he was a speaker in 2008, a 'Distinguished Lecturer' in fact.This is from the abstract: "Injection-triggered earthquakes are more common than is generally recognized.", understated and all.
3. Eco Toilets: Phosphorus and the phosphorus cycle are important (!) (without adenosine triphosphate - ATP - you won't go far) and in jeopardy from, you guessed it - human mismanagment, greed, & stupidity. This story starts with phosphorus (not 'phosphorous' by the way). Here is a decent review of 'the science': Sustainable Use of Phosphorus from SEI in 2010 (140 pages but worth it).
I sat in an Ecology lecture at Sir George Williams in the mid-60's sometime and got a clearer view of it than this diagram gives (but it's the best I can find just now). It does not make a clear enough impression that most of the phosphorus ends up in that arrow going to Marine Sediments - which is the case. I knew then that flush toilets have to go (but I am still using one, and if I seriously tried to manage my shit differently? - I sometimes sketch little schematics for an apartment-sized composter to do it - what would happen? Would you help gentle reader?).
Arno Rosemarin looks to be the 'main man' on the Daxing/Dongsheng/Erdos/... (enough different names to choke a horse) experiment. Among all of the bureaucratic management nightmares in the structure of this project (enough 'partners' to choke another horse) any such words and phrases as 'leader' 'boss of it' (CPT - Chefe de Porra Toda) 'architect' or 'designer' are simply not applicable, defunct in the circumstances. Some details about Arno here.
You can read the recent article in the Guardian: World's biggest eco-toilet scheme fails, sourced at ChinaDialogue and here. Perhaps you will appreciate the poor quality of journalism in it, and be moved to wonder, as I was: "What (TF) really went wrong?"
There are some clues in the proceedings of the December 2009 wrap-up workshop: EcoSanRes Erdos Workshop 2009. Going on at about the same time as the UNFCCC fiasco in Copenhagen - Ah sweet symmetry!
And there is a book, or a pamphlet - 116 pages: The Challenges of Urban Ecological Sanitation: Lessons from the Erdos Eco-Town Project, China, available from Practical Action Publishing for about $40CDN (including freight, or $2+ per page, not shabby) - that's IF you can get their version of PayPal to work. (I could not get it to work and, for the record, when I compained to Arno Rosemarin he kindly promised to send me a comp.)
So. I have not seen the book yet, but (BUT) I suspect that all of it will skirt the fundamental issues - 'fundamental' being apt in this setting. When and if it arrives and if there is substance there, I will revise this shoddy opinion - with
How could someone design a ten inch diameter vertical column of air fifty feet high in a heated building and expect the air in it not to move? (I am willing to bet single-malt that the women who objected to sawdust in their pussies were mostly on the upper floors.) Or for that matter an equally long urine tube with no trap? Every single individual who ordered a pencil to be wielded or who wielded one to draw those stacks should have their pencil permits permanently revoked.
A-and just watch as bigger and more quick-fix ventilation fans proliferate - but none of them up to the task of reversing the laws of physics, nor recognizing that this is humid air they are moving and they do have winter in China.
What has been proven here is that not only are humans not rational, they are particularly irrational around their own shit. If you are going to design things to handle excrement you are going to have to know that the stuff is sticky f'rinstance. That said, it is not rocket science either. Pitter patter let's get at 'er!
4. Rolling the dice: A few weeks ago I did my blog dance from a piece in the NYT to an article by James Hansen posted on his website: Perceptions of Climate Change: The New Climate Dice. And I remember now, there was this niggling minor mystery: the article on Hansen's site was undated (?).
Then last Sunday I found an interview with Hansen by Hari Sreenivasan at PBS: some text and a video - 'James Hansen: Extreme Heat Events Connected to Climate Change'. And he says "... set to be published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (PNAS)," and in the Washington Post he says "... which will be published Monday."
So ... Monday comes and sure enough, there it is, unlocked and all: Perception of climate change. Same article I had last month, and the same graphics - the snazzy bell curves he used in the interview are not there (which is what fooled me). Oh well.
He's looking a bit frazzled in the interview - I hope he's ok - I fear for this prostate business that got our Jack.
Before the Fall: Смерть тюрьме, свобода протесту 'Death of jail, freedom of protest'.
The Fall: Punk Prayer in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
After the Fall: Three young women in jail with no bail facing seven years.
Weasels & Stoats: Patriarch Kirill: "Putin is a miracle of God." His spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin: "It was a sin against God and it is God that is judging it, and all Christians should know this," (from the Guardian). Fuck your Patriarch and your God too with a syphilis-rake umbrella dildo! And the Pope while you are at it! (Oops, sorry, lost the positive thrall for a moment there.)
There is some bad international press that Putin cannot control so he begins (to pretend at least) to play nice (also from the Guardian).
Unfortunately, what could be called the central plea: "Virgin Mary, Chase Putin Out!" is ... not likely. With a cow like Madonna is backing them (or fronting as the case may be) ... less likely still.
Gwynne Dyer sometimes appears to be the adult in the room: The power of mocking political tyrants.
¡No pasarán! / They shall not pass - not my choice of slogan, WWI and all that, Nicaragua notwithstanding ... ¡Ya basta! is more like it for my nickel:
A verdict from Judge Marina Syrova on the 17th in the afternoon they say. No dependable pictures of her on the Internet for some reason. The only one I can find is at the right there (source) but I am not confident that it is she. Maybe it is.
1. K-k-Canada's GDP is slipping again (Hallelujah!): Economic growth slowed to just 0.1 per cent in May. A recent news report in the Globe, and a somewhat more sanguine headline at StatsCan: GDP edges up, or here.
When you say "Economic collapse is about the only hope!" and they all start looking at you funny and backing away - just remember the Special Period in Cuba (and read more than just this 'disputed' Wikipedia entry, there is lots of evidence that they not only survived but improved ... flourished).
2. The American Senate (or some of it at least) is coming awake: Or you might think so if you watch these recent Senate Hearing excerpts (2 minutes).
The video comes to us from Climate Desk, some kind of journalist clearing house. This piece, 'Gen Xers Say “Meh” to Climate Change', on their website is at least as interesting in what it does not say as in what it does. I have dressed up their chart a bit, there at the right.
Some meat there for activists to chew on.
3. Amazônia: In the Guardian they say deforestation in Amazônia has fallen 20-25%, a quarter to a fifth in the last eleven months. Do you believe it? I don't - this is with a satellite that can just make out 50 acre plots. Cherry-picking of high-value logs is going on like gangbusters but the sites are smaller (though not small enough) and are not seen by this satellite. And it is just as destructive. And meanwhile, the best and some of the worst are carrying on as descibed above - slicing dicing and julienning the words to fit the needs of human greed.
Here is a video of Felipe Milanez taken in 2011 which has been linked to here before. The 'CC' button works for english subtitles.
And a memory of Zé Cláudio: Zé Cláudio e a Majestade. Felipe Milanez has also made a film (mostly in English, fully subtitled where not): Toxic: Amazon - just over an hour well spent seeing the situation there and the last days of Zé & Maria and the aftermath of their assassination.
This may all just pretty well resemble what has gone before in this blog. Of course it does.
I come back again to Louis Lesosky who says, "Let's see ... 42% of the people aren't voting and aren't paying attention to elections - we only have 58% more to convince that there's nothing happening here." An earnest green politician says to me about this "But everything is happening there! [meaning Ottawa, Parliament] If you don't vote then you won't even be at the table." I am looking up more and more often and thinking, "What table?"
If something came along that offered any scope I would drop this blogging like the useless receptor of dry eco-toilet waste it truely is - there would not even be a goodbye. But ... it hasn't, yet. In the meantime, life and physics being what they are, one has to be somewhere doing something (simply breathing wears very thin).
I am beginning to better get at what is required on the indexing side in order for it to be useful to me. At least until the Alzheimer's really takes hold. This is good.
And a question - not as good as Parzival's maybe, but a good'un.
Aung San Suu Kyi finds it expedient to let the Rohingya suffer, starve, die. Fuck 'em! Moslems are not necessarily citizens she says - inyenzi then I guess. It's not quite that simple (or maybe it is), more news: here, here, here, and here.
Looks like Demonoid is busted. Long live Demonoid! It was more than a suite of servers though - it was a network of peers (in several senses) so something may rise in its place. You know, some denialists oppose action on the environment because it represents the threat of 'world socialist government', nonsense but not quite - is the Ukraine bowing to the US then? or to a larger emerging-something? and really, the UNFCCC has shown the efficacy of world government hasn't it? So.
Some are sure getting it right. Three gaffers in Tennessee, Michael Walli, Megan Rice, & Greg Boertje-Obed of Transform Now Ploughshares shut it right down for a few days at least. You can read their story here. Righteous! Good on 'em.
Call me up somebody. Let's go!
I thought I heard a mourning dove singing yesterday at dawn. I had it all wrong, for years, knew it was aka 'turtle' and so imagined 'morning dove' (what the girls sometimes called café da manhã :-) but I don't remember hearing it through this particular window before (?).
But ah, the shift of seasons begins to slide more quickly - it is still dark at 5AM. Soon the good burghers will notice a vague psychological discomfort and commission their bureaucrats to change the clocks.]