Saturday, 26 January 2013

Lucky '13    (Mark II.)

Heal our broken selves.        (Mark I is here.)                                                     Up, Down.                        Wolf Moon 

The bottom line is this: not until we have a plan to heal the planet that also heals our broken selves and our broken communities do we have a hope of preventing this most dire of all crises, and our job is to begin to imagine - quickly - what that wholistic healing process might look like.”

              Naomi Klein at Powershift 2012 in Ottawa (video, 30 minutes).

Watch the video a couple'a times; listen carefully to her; read that quote until you have got it straight; and then skip the rest of this gentle reader. Take a break. Meditate on it. 
Naomi Klein at Toronto Police Headquarters, 2010.Naomi Klein at Occupy Wall Street, 2011.Naomi Klein at Occupy Wall Street, 2011.Naomi Klein, 42 years old. Here's her website.

Scott Parkin (you can get to know him a bit better in this very short video) quotes Naomi: “The climate movement needs to have one hell of a comeback,” in Harnessing Rebel Energy – Making Green A Threat Again, 18 January 2013; from Counterpunch & Earth First News. Reading this prompted me to re-read the source: Capitalism vs. the Climate from The Nation, November 9, 2011.

Which led me (by a commodius vicus of recirculation) to the Power Shift video above - which then    blew my mind. (!)    My only criticism is that she doesn't mention population - hesitated to do it maybe, for obvious reasons.

An exercise in understanding is to read Scott Parkin's article, then Naomi Klein's essay, and then come back to Scott Parkin for a quick 'compare & contrast'. I file things in that Addenda thing because (for me who is easily distracted) the pop-ups and advertising shit get in the way of reading; and also so they won't disappear or have the URLs change quite so quickly; and one of the aspects of doing it is to have to read the text repeatedly, intimately.

In Capitalism vs. the Climate she references 'Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States' by Aaron McCright & Riley Dunlap - several times in fact; so here (for the sake of completeness) it is at Science Direct for $31.50, or this free & open copy at University of Colorado Boulder. 
Naomi Klein & family at Power Shift, 2012.I was not always a fan of Naomi Klein; in fact I was a grumbling-arsehole critic (a white male of a certain background & experience y'unnerstan). It started before No Logo, early-mid 90's sometime, some article of hers set me off, must have been when she was at 'This Magazine' ... and then later on I read 'No Logo' and was not impressed. Someone asked me why - and - I can't remember anymore. All my papers from those days have been lost and I don't have a copy of the book anymore either ... so. More recently I tried to read The Shock Doctrine and was put off by the ideology - she seemed to be so pretty and so certain, a bourgeois princess with perfect pitch in the key of politically correct.

Then I saw her in 2010 during the G20 here in Toronto; and followed her, along with about 1,000 others, from Massey Hall up to Allan Gardens. She hit the grace note so perfectly, and so humbly, I could not resist: all she said was, "I'm going to take a walk up to Allan Gardens when this is over to see how it's going there, and if you want to come along, feel free." I began to change my opinion; and when I read her long article Capitalism vs. the Climate the first time in 2011 I was about turned around.

No one likes to change their opinion, especially when it is curmudgeonly and imperfect, maybe even shameful; but there you go, that's how this all happened as well as I can remember. 
She is in the index here half a dozen times, so when it was all done and dusted I followed up on 'maybe even shameful' and went to have a closer look at the past, the trajectory.

Uh oh!

At least nine times it turns out: Wednesday September 9 2009,   Saturday September 12 2009,   Sunday June 13 2010,   Sunday July 25 2010,   Sunday March 27 2011,   Wednesday July 13 2011,   Sunday October 2 2011,   Sunday October 9 2011,   Tuesday January 15 2012.

Whew! What a struggle! Google Search don't work worth shit (using double quotes in the blog Search box has no effect). I was sure I had mentioned her Pied Piper routine at Massey Hall but ... can't find it. And Blogger has changed the way the <P> tag is interpreted so the posts I touched (to insert a link) all got gibbled and the HTML had to be repaired (follow the </P> with an '&nbsp' non-breaking space, intuitively obvious) in many many places.

Another Odyssey: reviewing old opinions and statements (some of them quite scurrilous & loutish) can be humbling. Any lesson in humility is good I guess. See Negative Resilience below. Maybe someone else also remembers Brian Mulrooney saying, "we had to adjust our perceptions," during some election campaign.

I'm sorry gentle reader to have learned so little that I just ... carry on. 
Across this table lately:
Barack Obama a lame ... liberal:


Map of Keystone adjustment.
Russ Girling, CEO of Transcanada.Russ Girling, CEO of Transcanada.Dave Heineman, Governor of Nebraska.

1) Barack Obama's Second Inaugural Address (complete, 20 minutes), the bit on climate (1.5 minute clip from about 11:45), & the transcript; "We, the people ..." a rhetorical mantra ... Ommmmm ...

 

2) How serious is Barack Obama about climate change?, Suzanne Goldenberg, Monday 21 January 2013;

 

3) Obama under pressure after Nebraska governor signs off on Keystone XL, Suzanne Goldenberg, Tuesday 22 January 2013 7pm;

 

4) Obama stalls for time after Nebraska approves Keystone XL oil pipeline, Suzanne Goldenberg, Tuesday 22 January 2013 11pm;

 

5) Governor of Nebraska Backs Route for Pipeline, John Broder, January 22, 2013, which includes this sentence: "The decision came a day after Mr. Obama made an assertive pledge in his Inaugural Address to tackle climate change in his second term." The only victory here being in the structure of the sentence - that Keystone is now expected to implicitly connect with climate change.

 

6) A rally is being planned for February 17, President's Day, in Washington DC by 350, The Sierra Club, and the Hip-Hop Caucus. Another 17 hour bus ride? Dunno.

 
 
Margaret Wente, a lame self-serving woman of a certain age:

1) Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released... and here is the chart to prove it, David Rose, 13 October 2012;

 

2) Whatever happened to global warming?, Margaret Wente, January 24 2013;

 

3) Debunking the Denial: “16 Years of No Global Warming”, Phil Plait, Monday, January 14, 2013;

 

4) Global warming over the last 16 years (2 minute video), John Cook, 7 January 2013;

 

5) Short term trends: Another proxy fight, Gavin Schmidt, 1 November 2012.

 
 
I really don't want to mention Ezra Levant - any publicity being good publicity in that realm - but this longish video is interesting on all sides. And if he is going to be mentioned, I guess it's fitting to couple him with Wente.

I would like to be able to encounter Margaret Wente or Ezra Levant, or that guy from the anti-wind group, Daryl Hemingway, and stand up to them - short answer is: I can't. Tom Flanagan is another one; he gets his oar in here: Native talks with the Crown challenge Canada’s very existence. By all means! 
Nicholson, Heatwave in Australia: 44 degrees / It's all the fault of the greens ya know ...Boris Johnson, a lame hard-right wannabe:

1) It’s snowing, and it really feels like the start of a mini ice age, Boris Johnson, 20 January 2013;

 

2) Boris Johnson says snow casts doubt on climate change science, Leo Hickman, Monday 21 January 2013.

 
 
Ria Voorhar.Lauri Myllyvirta.2015 or 2020, not that much much to choose really:

1) China and Australia top list of 'carbon bomb' projects, Oliver Milman, Tuesday 22 January 2013;

 

2) Point of No Return - The massive climate threats we must avoid, Ria Voorhar & Lauri Myllyvirta, January 2013.

 
 
Kal.Kal.
UK vs. EU:    "Fog in Channel: Continent cut off." (an island nation)

1) David Cameron's speech, 23 January 2013 (40 minutes); transcript, the offending remark: "... we need to examine whether the balance is right in so many areas where the European Union has legislated including on the environment ..." (somewhere in Principle #3);

 

2) EU referendum: Climate efforts could be 'collateral damage', warn MEPs, Arthur Neslen, Thursday 24 January 2013;

 

3) David Cameron's EU speech is grave news for our environment, Tony Juniper, Friday 25 January 2013;

 

4) Britain’s Prime Minister Defends Decision to Seek Vote on European Union, David Jolly, January 24, 2013 (which does not mention the environment);

 

5) United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) petition; UKIP Environmental policy (2008) "UKIP accepts that the world’s climate changes, but we are the first party to take a sceptical stance on man-made global warming claims."; European Citizens' Initiative petition "We Demand Affordable Energy!";

 

6) EU carbon price crashes to record low, Damian Carrington, Thursday 24 January 2013 - It fell to €2.81 ($3.81CDN) from ~€17 in 2010. So what? It had to be $1,000 & Fee & Dividend to do any good!;

 

 
Theresa Spence Thursday January 24.Bob Rae, Danny Metatawabin, Raymond Robinson.OH MY, I knew right away, almost at the beginning that she wasn't gonna pull it off - as I watched that first interview (the first one I saw) and she played the money card; and Raymond Robinson cinched it.

I didn't say, because I    hoped - superstitious simpleton that I am - not for their deaths but for a ... miracle, understanding, on all sides. Some of my feelings are echoed in Naomi Klein's Globe article.

Theresa Spence & Raymond Robinson folded, gave it up for some bullshit bureaucrat's blancmange; here, read it and weep: Declaration of Commitment - January 23, 2013. "First Nations: Working Towards Fundamental Change," thirteen points (A daemonic parody of Lucky '13? Is that it?) ... Bah! And Bob Rae gets his ol' clamdigger in there (reported in the Globe & Postmedia/Canada.com/Regina Leader-Post).    Bollocks!

BUT this does not diminish that they opened a door. Curious; I used that phrase 'opened a door' with someone I know and she thought I meant opening a door into native culture or 'ways' or something - which is not it at all.

What I mean is that they demonstrated the power of courage combined with an effective tactic (including someone trustworthy at your back).

And they did their best, in the face of the full force of bourgeois inertia, external & internal, bore the brunt. Too bad it's not about one version or another of 'economic development' aka growth. Close but no cigar, oh well. 
CALL TO ACTION!   NO LINE 9!
A hardy handful showed up at City Hall, some familliar faces. When it wound up, three of us decided to walk over to Moss Park en route to Allan Gardens.
Demonstration against Enbridge Line 9 at Toronto City Hall, Saturday January 26 2013.Demonstration against Enbridge Line 9 at Toronto City Hall, Saturday January 26 2013.Demonstration against Enbridge Line 9 at Toronto City Hall, Saturday January 26 2013.
Several hundred, maybe 500 by the time the march got underway, were gathered at Moss Park. A percussion corps played while people ate the delicious hot lunch provided free, coffee too. We were joined by another smaller rally of teachers before we got to Allan Gardens.
Gathering at Moss Park for OCAP rally, Saturday January 26 2013.Gathering at Moss Park for OCAP rally, Saturday January 26 2013.Gathering at Moss Park for OCAP rally, Saturday January 26 2013.
Another handful, more familliar faces, were waiting at Allan Gardens with a banner and some large bird puppets wearing 'NO LINE 9' accessories.
Allan Gardens.Allan Gardens.
Someone told me there were 30,000 in the rally by the time we were on our way to Maple Leaf Gardens and this has been repeated by the social media - so maybe it was 10-15,000. 
For a few moments in front of Maple Leaf Gardens the crowd roared, as one. I had never heard such a thing before - it felt louder than a football crowd in the Maracanã. Awesome! Hit me right in the 0'th chakra.

The short answer is that (in Toronto) 10-20, maybe 50, will come out for the environment, 500 or so will muster for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), and an order of magnitude or two more for Sid Ryan (Doh!?) and the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL). There were about as many anti-wind placards in the OFL march as there were to stop Enbridge's Line 9 reversal! Disheartening.

So.     ...     There are a number of lessons to be learned here. Many of them are impertinent so I'll spare you. Anyway you should be able to figgure them out for yourself. F'rinstance, ask (quietly and to yourself of course): Exactly what do the civil service unions want?

Stop Line 9 near Yonge & Finch.Stop Line 9 near Yonge & Finch.There was something going on up at Yonge & Finch too but no idea how it turned out; more later maybe ... Ah! Some pictures of it here (thanks to Amelia for letting me know): Stop Line 9.

Loose Ends:

I want to find out who paid for that OCAP lunch and give them some support.

Greg Renouf and his photographer sidekick Frank showed up at the OCAP rally - and for some reason I do not understand they were asked to leave (on the ridiculous charge of 'security'), they didn't. I am wondering about this ... 
"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so," (Thomas Jefferson, slave owner).

Syllogism:   An argument expressed or claimed to be expressible in the form of two propositions called the premisses, containing a common or middle term, with a third proposition called the conclusion, resulting necessarily from the other two (OED). Or check out Wikipedia. Sort'a like means & extremes. Out-of-date in some circles, old fashioned.

Justice or Just Us?     Couple'a tunes for y'all: Neil Young Bound For Glory & Leonard Cohen (watch out for the ad) Always.

Negative resilience:   This could be two posts in one: A vanishing point, to beyond the zero vs. a possibility for change & even a kinda-sorta feasible prescription for it. The internal landscape is so reduced and bleak that anything short of orgasm doesn't register and any hiccup locks the gates. A Heisenberg uncertainty principle of the soul. The merest hint of a hiccup, even a hypothetical hint, and the wheels fall off. Or I go out and Give 'er! and barely manage to crawl back here on broken feet to an empty inbox. Can't hardly walk today and gotta take the garbage out. (Boo Hoo. :-)

“We'll be goin' down so deep the river's gonna weep and the mountain's gonna shout, "Amen!"”

It's all good gentle reader. Be well.


This space intentionally left blank.

 
Down.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Totally Different (Not!)

It's midnight and I really should come clean.                                         Up, Down. 
CALL TO ACTION!   NO LINE 9!
 
 
Saturday, January 26, 2013.

1) Toronto City Hall, Queen & Bay, at 10:30 am.

2) Allan Gardens at 12:50 pm.
     Gerrard Street East at Sherbourne Street, details.
350.org     (See also: OFL Rally.)

3) Yonge St. and Hendon Ave. at 1:00 pm.
     1 block north of Finch on Yonge, details.
 
[Trying to hold onto that positive LUCKY '13 energy gentle reader ... and it is a struggle (in an Aikido 'avoid-the-thrust' sort'a way) but ... it's midnight and I really should come clean.]

I believe this nonsense about humanity's doom because I want to. Simple as that. Rhetorically I might say, "I have to believe it," implying something positive about both the strength of the evidence and the depth of my knowledge and understanding; but no. It was about the same quasi-transcendent language when I believed in Jesus in a magical way. I am a stupid knucklehead, silly; and I can prove it (beyond the obvious proof that almost no one speaks to me anymore).

Patrick White, 1980, a face consumed by wondering.Miles Davis, 1985.Mind you, less stupid as time goes on - f'rinstance, the recent article in Nature: 2020 emissions levels required to limit warming to below 2 °C; reported in The Guardian, showing that the peak in CO2 emissions must be 'round about 2015 to avoid a 3° or 4° world (or apocalyptic catastrophe, 'doom' as I call it, Ragnarök). Consider what is necessary to accomplish such a flattening of the Keeling Curve by 2015. (Do you really think a letter to your MP is enough? And how silly is that? :-)   
[I exaggerated somewhat; please see the note on the Nature article below.]

There is a lot more to wonder about here: the function of bourgeois forbearance & euphemism; Ubuntu vs individualism in a thoroughly atomized society; and so on. Another time.

And of course that damned 13th fairy in the story of Sleeping Beauty: righteous anger at not being on the guest list, and that because there were not enough golden plates to go 'round. Doh!
 
I was chatting one day last April, towards the end of a short fast, with Adriana Mugnatto (the Green Party environment critic) and Daryl Hemingway (a leader of the anti-wind movement from Scottsdale, Arizona) and threw in a comment about wind supplying base load requirements. A gaffe, a faux pas - she shut me up quickly. I acquiesced because I do in fact humbly bow to her superior knowledge; but I was clever enough to keep the business card he gave me and subsequently the three of us had a lengthy email exchange ... which eventually ended on all sides.

I have a theory of stupidity (particularly supported by idiots) that we are all numbskulls at one moment or another (and often most of the time) and that we can forgive, remember or not, and get on with it if we choose to (see Matthew 18-15).

So it didn't cut me, not really, until later when she refused steadfastly to even entertain what I have come to call 'the question' viz. "Why can the environmental movement not get its thumb out?"
Adão Iturrusgarai: Amor ... precisamos conversar! / Sweetie ... we need to talk!Adão Iturrusgarai: Amor ... precisamos conversar! / Sweetie ... we need to talk!

Anyway, QED on 'stupid knucklehead'. 
This belief in general doom, 1) suits my age; 2) suits my situation; and 3) suits my brand of guilt (on at least several axes):

You get old, inevitably, and mortality, from being an off-hand acknowledged bromide, gets very specific and comes into focus. You can't get it up; you can hardly piss with it ... and so on. It can be comforting to know that it happens to everyone in the end; but more satisfying by far to believe that it is the fate to be shared with one's entire species.

I walked away from a fat position when I finally realized that my efforts supported the kind of thing going on in Fort Chipewyan. It was not noble - I was overcome by cognitive dissonance not conscience. Even so I thought I might contribute to the counter force somehow - but all that has happened is a slow downward spiral into ignominy. So, as "the seasons tear off and condemn" it is a vestigial sweetness to imagine the simultaneous stopping of the whole infernal shebang.

You can simply blame others, 'project' guilt as it were. And it doesn't have to be entirely simple - there are so many clever redirecting fallacies to employ - I'll leave it to others to mark & precisely delineate this territory. It's a 'suffices-to-say' thing - I have used more than a few of them. At least I do not blame God - not the easiest 'out' but a common one - or the inverse, think that God will save us. (You can submerge into the warm bath of shame too - but it doesn't wash :-)

Just one thought, implied in Martin Buber's so eloquent "he must lay his hand in the wound of the other and learn: this concerns you," that it takes at least two, working together to get anywhere with anything - or (and my 2nd ex-wife so hated it when I would say this :-) "It takes two to tango." 
Alas, contrary to popular perception, ostriches don’t actually bury their heads in the sand – this is just an optical illusion caused when they put their very small heads to the ground to feed.   
[Thanks to The Daily Maverick for this nugget.]

Paul Ehrlich 1974.Many eminent (and otherwise) minds long ago turned, and more are now beginning to turn towards the question of how to get the collective thumbs out and humanity off its stump and away from this problématique cliff-hanger.

The latest I have seen is the Ehrlich's - who provided early impetus with 'The Population Bomb' in 1968. In this recent essay: Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided? they conclude with a "Yes" though they qualify it so heavily as to mean "No." Even these two are equivocal - they don't want to bring their readers to the point of vomiting in fear (I guess) - so they hedge, using hope to counter collapse ... 
... when it's either collapse, mitigated by as much resilience as we can muster or nothing (and I believe they know it) and hope has nothing to do with it.


When a-a-all of, your advisers heave their plastic
At your feet to convince you of your pain
Trying to prove that your conclusions should be more drastic

(Bob Dylan, Queen Jane Approximately, 1965)
 
Last year saw the IEA & World Bank trying to shift the greed-heads out of the ditch (or trough or whatever it is); trying desperately even. We could call them 'rightards' to couple with the 'leftards' you often read about - because they too imagine that there is a gradual, tweaking, change of course to steer us away from the abyss - but ... there's not.

Your Cadillac
Has got a wheel in the ditch and a wheel on the track

(Neil Young, Alabama, 1972)
 
Hope as a bourgeois value dies hard (see the Ehrlich's essay), and despite many converts to Lester Brown's way of thinking and a gradual colouring of economic thought with the hues of décroissance, the shift to a 'war regime' is not happening - neither at all nor quickly enough.

The gates of love they budged an inch
I can't say much has happened since
But closing time

(Leonard Cohen, Closing Time [watch out for the ad], 1992)
[No. And not fast enough neither.] 
I came across this the other day: "Criminals, like the rest of us, aren’t much influenced by things they might have to experience far in the future."    (a New York Times pundit)

But for some reason I am. (?) Maybe it is an extension in the virtue of Frye's observation on Thomas Pynchon: that his vision is driven by paranoia (of a polite and inoffensive kind). Ditto Will Self when he writes about Kafka (or is it Kafka writing about Will Self?). Dunno.

The positive energy of LUCKY '13 - This is the year we are going to turn it around! morphed into trying to see what, precisely & exactly, has to become 'totally different' in the environmental movement for it to ... move. That effort is still mostly mired in beholding the mote that is in my brother's and sister's eyes (although the beam in my own is also getting some attention :-). I'm sorry gentle reader, I'm just not a very nice person.

Glen's hand.A prof of mine used to stand up on a chair which was up on a desk at the front of the class and (perilously) bend over and look at small models and drawings between his legs - "trying to look at things differently" he would say. That's his hand in the picture there.

So it goes.

Three examples: Idle No More, 'The Media', and Blogger: 
Idle No More, Theresa Spence & Raymond Robinson:     I have never gone hungry for very long, a few days at most and then intentionally fasting - but enough to know what it feels like; so my admiration for Theresa Spence & Raymond Robinson is large.

There is a continuum of protest that runs from letters to the editor, letters to your MP, attending rallies and marches, civil disobedience, (maybe sabotage and destruction of property fits in here), symbolic fasting, hunger strike ... and so on to insurrection, revolution, and war. It seems (to me) that such situations evolve, quickly or slowly, and that participants tend to move along the continuum one step at a time.
  [This may seem elementary - I am really just making notes here.]

Two videos: Chief Spence interview December 18, 2012 (15 minutes); and, Raymond Robinson interview on his way to sit in solidarity with Theresa Spence December 31, 2012 (10 minutes).

Not Ghandi: Canadian chief is no Gandhi, but hard truths are being revealed (and here). And this: Do Not Disturb.

"Oh, she went to the meeting with Governor-General David Johnston," I thought, "That's it then." I underestimated her. "It didn't feel too good inside that house ..." she said afterwards, and I saw some of the toll that such a length of time on 200 or 300 calories a day takes. And as the days pass - more than 40 days now - Theresa and Raymond show no sign of relenting.    Good on them! 
Murray Clearsky.Murray Clearsky.The “fundamental transformation” being talked about is largely economic.    Shawn Atleo says, "a better revenue sharing model for resource development," and many other comments by chiefs echo this. There are also statements by some of the Idle No More initiators and others, that the environment is important, that what the government is doing and allowing to happen there is key; but it does not come across as being at the true centre. An exception (maybe) is Murray Clearsky who says, "It’s going to be so damn polluted none of us are going to survive."

There is also infighting & petty politics around who speaks for whom - which is mostly competition for the political salaries rather than statesmanship (it looks like to me). A text reportedly from one of Theresa Spence's supporters to Shawn Atleo on his way to meet Stephen Harper: "Since you have decided to betray me, all I ask of you now is to help carry my cold dead body off this island." Harsh.

In the disappointment and despair following the Doha COP 18 fiasco, I was coming around to thinking about hunger strike just before I learned about Theresa Spence's action. A moment of clarity soon buried in contradictory details.

Now I am thinking (and others are thinking along similar lines - see Alex Himelfarb) that Theresa & Raymond have opened a door, shown an example, made the situation liminal - and who knows where that may lead? 
Day 41:   It was a toss up whether to put this with Media or the hunger strike - somewhere in between I guess, If I am a knucklehead, what is Kevin Newman I wonder? Watch this 20 minute interview on Question Period last Sunday: Part 1 & Part 2 (originally here) and find out.

Raymond Robinson on Question Period Sunday January 20.Theresa Spence on Question Period Sunday January 20.Danny Metatawabin on Question Period Sunday January 20.He actually tries on the motherhood argument! Doh?! Every word out of his mouth reveals a sensibility so lame that one has to imagine it is entirely scripted by Stephen Harper. So then, an indication that Mr. Harper is worried; another is that he arranges for The Globe to declare in an editorial on the 21st (in rhetoric on par with Kevin Newman's): "The hunger strike has run its course," which it most evidently has not. Roger Augustine may have laid down, others not so much; even Shawn Atleo looks like he might stand up.

As for Kevin Newman, I guess he figgures, "If Peter Kent can do it, so can I." 
The (Evil) Media:     The Guardian reports: New York Times dismantles environment desk, and the same day NYT's Andrew Revkin responds & amplifies with The Changing Newsroom Environment. It ain't necessarily bad, but it don't look very good.

I have noticed The Guardian toning down their environmental coverage in the last 9 months or so. I imagine there are circulation pressures affecting all newspapers. I didn't think The Guardian covered the brouhaha around Brazil's Código Florestal last March very well, mis-translations and worse; and the headlines during and after COP 18 in Doha:

         Why the Doha climate conference was a success,
         Why a global climate treaty remains worth fighting for, and,
         Global warming talks progress is 'slow but steady';

aside from self-serving the reputations of these very well paid bureaucrats, seems too 'balanced' by far - the damned thing was an out and out flop!

Why haven't the alternative media picked up the slack? Why don't sites like Rabble & Tyee & Straight Goods work very well? Or maybe you think they do? I'll leave it to you. One that does work reasonably well by my lights is The Daily Maverick.

 
[An interesting digression from them this morning: 'stop nonsense' being a South African slang update to Robert Frost's 'good fences make good neighbours' in Mending Wall.] 
More importantly, the networking and 'social media' sites are not what they are cracked up to be.

There is a long list of networking sites, not one of which has the least idea of how to establish much of a network, nevermind foster it. But you see, networking takes place between individuals not Noms de Plume or 'Display Names' or avatars. That, and the software is generally shit. One that has promise is the comment interface at The Globe and Mail, powered by Pluck and (I believe) ScribbleLive. Of course software of any quality is not a silver bullet either - you have to have an intention to foster communication, to listen, connect, share. There are lots of case studies which I'll spare you - but here's one you can see for yourself: just compare and contrast the Occupy Wall Street (about unchanged in format from day 1) and Occupy Toronto (on its umpteenth platform) sites.

None of this is at all evil of course. These sites are just what they are, which is ill-coordinated, under-staffed, and under-funded; owned and operated by bog-standard humans ... and so on.

As for Facebook & Twitter & LinkedIn and the rest of the so-called 'social media': they are shills and barkers, paid for by advertising. There's no 'there' there. QED.

We go in the streets chanting "The people, united, can never be defeated!" But we are not united, and consequently we certainly can be defeated - sorry to tell you.

Problem is that time is so short - the old adage "fish or cut bait" is perfectly apt. 
Blogger:     I thought I would try the 'Read more »' feature in Blogger - to make more space on the first page and as a sort of natural index. But I ran into a glitch because of the black lines I use to separate this blog into lumps and skip through them more easily.  
[The struggle to make those internal jumps work properly is described somewhere else in here (at the top of this).]

I was surprised because the whole thing seems to work off a single tag "<!--more-->" BUT I failed to remember that you must be on the Compose tab (never never send cash in the mail, and never never ever go into 'compose' mode unless you want all of your Html mangled beyond recognition) to get at the button to insert the jump break. At first I was just interested, programmer to programmer, to see how it works: create a second URL, a 'token', for the continued part of the post and qualify any '<A' internal link tags (like the ones in the black lines) with the token - straightforward enough. But he or she was, you know, in a hurry I guess; the code to convert the links was supposed to work - then I noticed the mess it had made.

If someone shows up and claims to be a hot-shot programmer you can give them some simple tasks to code and then look at the algorithms they write - and their hot-shot-ness (or not) becomes immediately apparent. F'rinstance: write a loop that will turn "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" into "4, 3, 2, 1, 5" (which is what the Google image uploader does).

A confusion on how to use a variable as an index to a loop - unforgivable. This time it is more understandable - converting elements in a free-form string of text is problematic at best - but it is still shit. 
HTML has been around since 1990 but there is still no wysiwyg interface I know of that actually works. This is good for programmers because it means that you must code in HTML in order to get what you want. HTML is a rudimentary tool, but it doesn't work very well either so you need a huge kit of mostly counterintuitive tricks to accomplish even elementary formatting. No TAB f'rinstance, or try a hanging paragraph. Very comparable to SQL - still impossible to write in anything like 'natural language' (which was the intention as I rememmber it).

Try this: Do a Google News Search for anything, say 'Theresa Spence Attawapiskat' and use the Search Tools to limit it to 'Past 24 Hours'; here . This morning I get 3 pages, 30-40 items. But now change 'Sorted by relevance' to 'Sorted by date'; here. I get 9 items. (?!)

Back up a bit and consider that these guys have built a huge company, with unquestioned dominance in searching the Internet - and basic features don't work very well. I'll see your 'advanced technology' and raise you 'bungling incompetence'. 
Louis Lesosky aka Crowbird, November 2012.Louis Lesosky aka Crowbird, November 2012.There is at least one guy out there doin' it:

Louis Lesosky aka Crowbird: Occupation Apple Tree and a short video (3 minutes).

"We've gotta occupy the spaces we need to do things, that's all there is to it," and, "The whole world needs help so the thing is until we get together on it and start doing stuff that makes sense then we're all in trouble."

And a video (2 minutes) of part of an all-candidates meeting during the Canadian federal election in May of 2011 in Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.

Meanwhile a McCain scion puts out 175,000 a month in alimony in Toronto, Berlusconi is reportedly paying 132,000 a day In Italy ... so ... just think of how much fun they're having :-)

Be well. 
Joeri Rogelj at a UNFCCC meeting in Bonn, Germany, in 2009.'2020 emissions levels required to limit warming to below 2 °C':   Buy it for $35 CDN from Nature; or read the commentary in The Guardian, or ask me for a copy (I have one thanks to the generosity of one of the authors, Joeri Rogelj, at ETH Zurich).

Aaron Swartz 1986-2013.Worthwhile giving a moment's thought to Aaron Swartz at this point, and maybe this comment in The Globe.

Initially I was only able to read the abstract, and the commentary; and I confused a peak in the growth of CO2 emissions with a peak in the absolute quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere. (OK-okok, I jumped to the conclusion that my twisted psychology was craving.)

Clip from Figure 1 of the report.Even then, my guesstimate of 2015 is not completely off the wall - you can see in the clip from Figure 1 that most of the trend-lines begin to go down before 2020 (though this may be just a function of tidy graphics). And anyway, what's likely to change in five years unless we get lucky and the economy collapses?

In any event, best is always to read the original and form your own understanding and judgement; as they say in the Discussion, "the range presented here contains much richer information."

Keep in mind that the models used here deal in probabilities, odds. You might ask yourself if you would cross the street on a 2 out of 3 chance that you would get to the other side eh? What about 1 in 100?
 
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Monday, 14 January 2013

There's gold in them thar hills!

or: All that glisters is not gold.                                                                                 UpDown.                                          Ides 
Prince of Morocco:

O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.
[Reads]

     All that glitters is not gold;
     Often have you heard that told:
     Many a man his life hath sold
     But my outside to behold:
     Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
     Had you been as wise as bold,
     Young in limbs, in judgment old,
     Your answer had not been inscroll'd:
     Fare you well; your suit is cold.


Cold, indeed; and labour lost:
Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!
Portia, adieu. I have too grieved a heart
To take a tedious leave: thus losers part.
 Belo Sun Mining Corp., Canada (BSX:CN).I have been seeing Belo Sun regularly in the Amigos da Terra daily newsletter; most recently here. The MPF (Ministério Público Federal) has doubts, naturally. There was a meeting on January 10 to go over the revised Belo Sun environmental assessment. Who knows how it will turn out? One imagines that Belo Sun will get the go-ahead and 'everyone' will be happy according to Mining.com.
 
[I understand the correct word to be 'glisters' not 'glitters', but I could be wrong.] 
Mining.com: Market shows confidence Brazil probe into Belo Sun gold project is temporary hiccup, Frik Els, September 22, 2012.Mining.com's narrow-focus editorial approach merits a moment's reflection - reinforcing as it does the complex of relationships between T&A and Brazil in engineering consciousness etc. (and through Carnaval to the liminal for others) ... as does the caption, "Anglo finally has something to smile about in Brazil." The MPF investigation is a 'temporary hiccup' they say, and they are probably right. 
Like the pretty girl at the dance this Xingu gold 'tem fila' / has a line following her, mostly horny Canadians: Kinross Gold Corporation, Yamana Gold Inc., Jaguar Mining Inc., and, Aura Minerals Inc.; plus AngloGold Ashanti Limited from South Africa; all with bated breath and thumping hearts (but no condom in their pocket I bet) awaiting the outcome on Belo Sun's (formerly Verena Minerals Corporation) Volta Grande project.

Kinross Gold Corporation.Yamana Gold Inc.Jaguar Mining Inc.Aura Minerals Inc.AngloGold Ashanti Limited, South Africa.
[The lion in the AngloGold Ashanti logo reminds me of C.S. Lewis for some reason; or The Lion King ... or something. Ashanti has antecedents too (and more).]

There are up to (possibly) several thousand 'garimpeiros artesanais' / artisanal miners, more-or-less organized, from several communities in the Grande Volta zone taking maybe 5 kilos a month with dynamite and (probably) mercury amalgamation, compared with Belo Sun taking out ~450 kilos a month over 20 years with cyanide leaching (based on 4 million ounces). See here and here.

Belo Sun stock, 2009 to present.A $2 stock; blips in May & September 2012 based on the MPF investigations maybe - but 6 billion in cash flow (based again on 4 million ounces) might change all that.

Map from Belo Sun environmental assessment.Map showing Belo Sun claims.I don't understand why the only map included in the revised Belo Sun Relatório de Impacto Ambiental shows such a small fraction of the area covered by their claims. (?)

I remember life as a consultant: fill up the report with pictures of small animals and bumph on methodology, and throw in "The Decommissioning Plan will seek to mitigate socioeconomic impacts of the end of the undertaking in a regional context." 
What might clean gold mining look like? (one asks):

Best to get a cognitive map going; Wikipedia is good for this: mining, extraction possibly involving amalgamation with mercury, cyanidation, recovery by carbon in pulp or electrowinning or the Merrill-Crowe process.

Using mercury amalgamation.When gold was to be had in nuggets and flakes, 'dust' in river beds it was a matter of physically separating it - panning, sluicing - employing gravity. More-or-less the same for digging it out of the ground, plus crushing. Possibly augmented by using mercury to catch and consolidate the dust - done from ancient times apparently.

Heap leaching.Heap leaching.But to get the really tiny microscopic flakes, you need a chemical process: crush the ore, pile it up, drip cyanide solution on the pile to dissolve the gold, catch the water with the dissolved gold, and use activated carbon or electroplating or precipitation to get it out again. Heap leaching - often carried out in the open air, on pads with impervious clay or plastic liners (which never leak of course).

So, long story short, it looks to me like the only clean way is gravity (minus mercury).    Not happening.

When advanced technology is in play the production of one gold ring can generate 20 tons of waste material - so say the environmentalists.

But we all know how they exaggerate; so reduce it by three orders of magnitude to ... 20 kilos. Are you willing to carry even that portion of the the environmental weight of your bauble on your finger or on a chain around your neck?

What might a golden ring signifying 'the circle of eternal love' mean then I wonder? 
Who are these people?   Well, in the case of Belo Sun they are:
Peter Tagliamonte.Mark Eaton.Helio Diniz.Stan Bharti.Clay Livingston Hoes.C. Jay Hodgson.Rui Botica Santos.Catherine Stretch.
There are brief bios here.     The answer is that they are nobody special; richer than most - Forbes gives Mark Eaton's annual take as just short of a million - but a proportion of qualities quite in line with actuarial tables no doubt. And I was wondering what it would take to change their minds. No idea. I don't think they can or will change their minds, any more than the 99%, the consumers who drive this crazy contraption of an economy towards doom, will change theirs.

If Lester Brown had his way and the entire civilization were directed towards solving the environmental catastrophe as it was towards defeating Hitler during WW II, these people would almost certainly be in the thick of it as would I.

Or if there were time for the social imaginary to complete a cycle and fill itself with consciousness of right relationship - but that takes ... generations.

To quote Kurt Vonnegut, "So it goes."     As I was putting this nonsense together I found myself humming an old hymn; couldn't make it out at first but after a while I got the chorus:
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
Maybe some of us worship of a Sunday and sing this tune, feeling strong and faithful.

Be well gentle reader. 
Postscript:
Google Map.More of the same by another k-k-Canadian 'player', Guyana Frontier Mining Corp. (formerly Shoreham Resources Ltd. of Houston(?) and a penny stock this time) in Guyana, with collaboration from Rexma in French Guiana (Guyane). See map, and details here (from Le Monde), & here.

A-and didn't even mention the natives, or the Terras Indígenas (the TI's indicated on one of the maps above). It's a perfect storm: caught between the evangelists and proselytizers (some of whom, like Erwin Kräutler, play both sides); the government with their Código Florestal and Portaria 303 (ditto Deborah Duprat); pension funds investing heavily in Belo Monte; gold; not to mention the loggers - all it needs is discovery of huge and accessible Coltan deposits to bring on the iPhone Valkyrie; Ragnarök.

Damn!   Just think I have finished and Presto! this appears in the NYT: A Rumble in the Jungle. With points I did not think of making, a-and information on a bunch of TV that I was not (even after a week's researching) aware of. Oh well :-) definitely worth reading and thinking about.

The Yangtze is a river so there are bound to be pictures of bridges ...
Nadav Kander - Yangtze, Chongqing XI.Nadav Kander - Yangtze, Shanghai I.Nadav Kander - Yangtze, Qinghai II.
Nadav Kander, some details at Wikipedia, and the photographer's website; or troll for images with a search engine.
 
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