Friday 10 May 2013

Do the math.

or: Walk around THIS!                                                                                               Up, Down.                 Solar Eclipse 

350 founders.
350 founders.
Contents: Do the Math, Dumbass Criticism, Humility, Jokes, Joe Oliver, Solar Eclipse for Kiribati, Daniel Pudles, Hong Kong, The Shallows, Keith, Wayne.
In the same hour came forth fingers of a
man's hand, and wrote over against the
candlestick upon the plaister of the wall
of the king's palace: and the king saw the
part of the hand that wrote. Then the king's
countenance was changed, and his thoughts
troubled him, so that the joints of his loins
were loosed, and his knees smote one
against another.
                                                                       Daniel 5

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
                       Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
                       Omar Khayyám (1048–1131)
                       Edward FitzGerald (1809–1883)

The writing on the wall -
Come read it, come see what it say.
                                      Thunder on the Mountain
Going to and fro in the Internet (where one can cancel lines as one chooses) and walking up and down in it. Complicated I know, and misleading in so many ways - silly biblical fol-de-rol; but it takes this kind of stimulus these days to achieve a fugal state and get the wheels turning. (The Daniel story is about humility too eh?)

One more thread, from Closing Time: "There's a voice that sounds like God to me declaring ... that your body's really ... you." Keep in mind that Cohen can't quite be trusted on this. Handel was confused about bodies too; taking 'the dead shall be raised incorruptible' from First Corinthians without really ... knowing.    A thread too much to be sure. Oh well. Sorry.

For the love of God y'all take pity on yourselves.

Cheguei aí faminto, meio fechado meio durão, marrento. Elas me deram as mangas pra chupar e o coração virou mais jovens, se tornou quase novo; e sim, renovado e mole, mas esquisito. É assim que falam os velhos safados, gordos e fedorentos e feios; cada um, no final, em sua propria solidão. 

First, WATCH THIS FILM! - Do the Math, The Movie - a mere 45 minutes.
Do the Math.Do the Math.Do the Math.
I grabbed what seems to me to be the central image and added a few details - click on the image above to see it. These are difficult numbers to walk around. What I find even more difficult to walk around is:
Continuous human growth CAN NOT FIT upon a finite planet.
The very most important number is 350!
I had an optimistic message from Jim Hansen this morning by email (God bless 'im), he wrote, "So don't despair re the tar sands. There are sensible alternatives."
Euro 350 on the steps of the Bundestag, July 2009.Euro 350 on the steps of the Bundestag, July 2009.Euro 350 on the steps of the Bundestag, July 2009.
[This image is not in the film ... ho hum ... but thinking of '350' always brings it to mind.] 

There have been many such impassioned, rational, & coherent expressions on the Internet over the years. I made a short list a while ago here: from Severn Suzuki to Naderev Sano. Each one takes us a tiny step closer towards breaking the spell (as Michael Brune calls it) that has been spread over the smug & complacent multitudes. Watch it, think about it, and tell your friends about it. We have quite a way to go.

We had 40,000 recently on the Washington Mall. There were 100,000+ there in 1969 but it still took years to end the war in Vietnam. Time is short, it may be too short, but there is only one way to find out.

I wonder how metrics such as YouTube hits translate into action? Kony 2012 had a million hits in a few days last year - and then vanished like the morning dew when Jason flamed out. As I watch this film there are ~40,000 hits on it on YouTube - what does this mean? Hard to say.

Oops, I had it wrong: There were 250,000 with Martin Luther King in 1963 and legislation came in 1964 and 1968 (he had to die to achieve half-measures); the war in Vietnam had 200,000 & 600,000 in 1969 and the war ended in 1975 (how many died for that, two million?). You can check it out starting here. 
350:   We were training to get arrested in a church in Washington; lined up in rows and marching. I suggested a group Tim DeChristopher salute as I had seen in photographs of the previous days. Some woman (a certified 'trainer' of some kind, one of the leaders) said no, they wanted it respectful: suits and ties and no rude gestures. Rude? I didn't want to argue with her. We did it anyway in the event. Why does this memory stay with me?

The photograph (above) of the kids on the steps of the Bundestag is labelled (on the Flickr) as "sending the message, a little aggressively." Look at it. Look at them. Do they seem aggressive? WTF is that about? Is this a Christian sunday-school thing?

Why is Bill McKibben still claiming to have written 'the first book'? He didn't. Why is this film so much about him? One of my red-neck friends tells me the thing he really dislikes about leftards and tree huggers and Greenpeace enviro-nutbars is that it is always "All about me!" Unfair criticism, sure; untrue & unreasonable, sure; but understandable, yes.

I tried to have a conversation with them years ago - on their blog, via comments - and they ditched it, deleted it, gone. All good.

Someone said to me that my criticism of 350 is unjustified - that I ask for too much. She may be right, there was no room for conversation at the time so we didn't get through it. Nonetheless, I put out for them big-time and got no help in return: money, demos, arrest in Washington, anything I could do to help, anything. If I am now somewhat bitter it is no surprise, or at least not unreasonable ... or at least understandable. Isn't it?

[It is May month and I keep my windows open and the screens off because I like it that way - the may flies come in, sometimes (briefly) in numbers - but I do not put up the screens. It was the same in Rio when the flies might carry Dengue. Crazy stubborn motherfucking old curmudgeon. OK. All good.] 
[I need a dump truck mama to, unload my head.]

And if I often wonder what makes 350 less effective than it might be (than it HAS to be, MUST be) - this should be no surprise either - I do it because I care. Mostly it comes in uncomfortable memories and (possibly ugly & 'impertinent' and definitely) unanswered questions.

Man! The talking points are so good, SO GOOD! The film is generally so well constructed. Then why doesn't it equal Kony 2012? Not in terms of counting hits (which does seem to be something both Invisible Children and 350 obsess about - the numbers of hits, and the numbers of fricken 'Facebook Likes' and the numbers of email addresses on the mailing lists are simply neither true nor meaningful metrics; useful maybe in a minor way, but never the main game) but as a film artefact, as a communication.

Do the exercise, watch both films back-to-back (here: Kony 2012 & Do the Math), download 'em with KeepVid, take notes, analyse, consider, deconstruct if that's what it takes - look at them straight and figgure it out.

Towards the end of it Bill McKibben says, "I think we can win this fight. I think we can win it if we act as a community; if we do not do anything that would injure that community but instead build and knit that community together in a way that allows it to take powerful action." Why does he mention this I wonder? Is there a fifth column at work?

I have to imagine what he means by "if we do not do anything that would injure ..." We? Injure? Unless ... he is talking to the likes of me. I guess it depends on what you mean by 'knit that community together'. We could duke it out with duelling scriptures but it might end in a draw, equivocally; or ... Matthew 18, v15 ff might be an ace in the hole. The Amish knitted up a strong community based in part on that one I believe and I am here doing my part.

[All that said I would give the little that remains to me in a moment if they called.] 

True humility:   (As if I knew what that is.) But that's where my analysis of the two films fetches up. (Remember that Kony 2012 didn't work in the end - the actions largely evaporated - so this is not about good/better/best either.) Jason is humble but was unsupported; Bill is vain and unsupported; sure, it's more complicated than that.

Nevermind for a sec if I actually know how to distinguish degrees of humility: no one will deny there are such categories will they? However approximate and relative and qualified they may be?

We get so used to thinking of the likes of Martin Luther King and Mohandas Ghandi as great people (and Bill McKibben and Jason Russell) that we may lose sight of them as human people, with OEM supplied feet of clay. And it should also go without having to be stated that they did not start out as great as they ended; everyone makes mistakes, maybe the great learn more from them and more quickly.

Were King and Ghandi humble (nevermind truely or falsely)? Each of them had every reason not to be; but yes, I think so.
[My father was humble too - I am quite sure - but that's another story.]

350 founders: Jamie Henn, May Boeve, Jon Warnow, Will Bates / Jeremy Osborn, Bill McKibben, Phil Aroneanu.350 founders: Will Bates, Jeremy Osborn, Kelly Blynn, Jamie Henn, Phil Aroneanu, Jon Warnow, May Boeve.Trying to see where 350 came from I wanted to get to know the founders a little better. Somewhat easier said than done - except for Bill McKibben they seem almost not to want to be known. Eventually I found a video: What's Next for the Climate Movement? Part 1 & Part 2 in which each of them speaks (though generally without introduction); brief bios at 350: Our Team for all but Kelly Blynn; the two photographs at the top of the post and (approximate, tentative) names to the faces in them. They are: Jamie Henn, Will Bates, Phil Aroneanu, May Boeve, Jeremy Osborn, Jon Warnow, Bill McKibben, and Kelly Blynn. 
Jokes my father used to tell: (about the way he told them)

Two guys work together; one is French, the other black. Before starting work the French guy always runs his finger underneath his nose saying, “Ah, Fifi!” He does this every day until eventually the black guy asks why he does it. He explaines that Fifi is his wife and her smell reminds him of her. The next morning the French guy sniffs his finger as usual saying, “Ah, Fifi!” Then the black guy drags his whole arm under his nose and says, “Aaahhh! ... Sapphire!”

Two little black boys, Rastus & Remus, are playing near the railroad tracks. Rastus climbs up on the fence beside the tracks and is sitting there when they hear the whistle of a fast-approaching train. Remus says, "Rastus! You get down off'a that fence right now, you hear? That train gonna come 'long an' suck you right off!" To which Rastus replies, "C'mon train!"

Three little boys are discussing riches as they oogle a new Corvette and a new Thunderbird parked at the curb. One says, "I want to be covered all over with gold, and if I want that car, why, I'll scratch off a little gold and go buy it." The second says, "I'd rather be covered all over in diamonds and if I want that car, why, I'll scratch off one'a those diamonds and go buy it." The third says, "I wann'a be covered all over in hair." "What?!" say his friends. "Yes," he says, "My sister only has a patch of hair about this big (making a triangle with his thumbs and forefingers), and she owns both'a those cars.

A farmer is complaining about a new mule who will not pull the plow. His friend says he knows just what to do. "Ask him politely and he'll pull." The farmer does not believe this so they go for a demonstration. They come into the barnyard and his friend picks up a piece of two-by-four and whacks the mule over the head. Then he just says, "Giddap," and off they go with the plow. The farmer is taken aback: "Is that what you call politely?!" "Well," says his friend, "I ask him politely - but first I have to get his attention." 
Joe Oliver speaking at CSIS in Washington, April 24 2013.Speaking of jokes: Take Joe Oliver ... please!
[I got the news from The Guardian.]

Oliver spoke in Washington recently and tried to discredit Jim Hansen. (Doh!) A description of the event at CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies), a video of Oliver's remarks, and a short excerpt of what he actually said about Jim Hansen and the laughter that followed. (Which he interprets as praise of course. He wants to grow up and be John Diefenbaker I think - you can tell by the way he nods his head all the time.)

Needless to say the attempt backfired and discredited Oliver instead. This is a man willing to drink water from tar sand tailings ponds - maybe that will help make sense of it.

Later on he spoke with CBC's Evan Solomon (here is a screen-grab of that conversation). He sticks to his (guns?) but admits, "That's the point, he [James Hansen] does know his stuff ..." (?)

Oliver cites Andrew Weaver as his scientific authority, but Andrew Weaver demurs: Climate scientist hits back at Oliver for citing his study, saying “What Mr. Oliver has critically failed to grasp here is that although some scenarios are indeed much worse than others, these are all nightmare scenarios that we must not allow to happen. To prevent 2 degrees of warming, which is the stated goal of this government, we know that most of the world’s proven oil, coal, and gas reserves must be left in the ground.”

Another pre-eminent Canadian scientist, David Schindler, is reported saying, "By acting like this, he is actually jeopardizing Keystone, not promoting it, and making Canada look like a country full of jerks." 
Solar eclipse of May 10 2013:   Details from NASA, and more here.
Path of eclipse visibility over Kiribati.Path of eclipse visibility over Kiribati.Kiribati in Pacific context.Kiribati in Pacific context.
The green circle-thing on the left map indicates GE - Greatest Eclipse. The yellow lines are 10-minute intervals and the complete annular portion of the eclipse lasts just over 6 minutes so there won't be much to see from Tarawa. Still ... They get a front row seat for sea-level rise and almost a front row seat for the eclipse - some kind of symmetry in that.

This map puts you in the zone and shows Bonriki & Bairiki. They turn out to be parts of Tarawa which is Kiribati's capital & largest island city (50,000). Looks like Nauru the world's smallest republic (10,000) misses the eclipse altogether.
Kiribati, Tarawa.Kiribati, Tarawa.Kiribati, Tarawa.Kiribati, Tarawa.
Highest elevation in Kiribati (comprising some 30 islands) is 3 metres, ten feet, not very high; and there is population pressure there too. We all remember Ian Fry at Copenhagen in 2009 eh? Here he is speaking for Tuvalu (which is not far away). A-and some recent photographs of Kiribati from The Guardian to keep y'all entertained. 
Daniel Pudles - planet roast.Daniel Pudles - the horror.Daniel Pudles - keep it under your hat.Daniel Pudles - yee haa.
Daniel Pudles.Daniel Pudles must be doing alright - he keeps two websites: this & this; but neither shows his illustrations time-ordered so it's difficult to find the 'latest' without a bit of poking around. In the end this Google works (though not very well). Imaginative and eloquent. Well worth the effort to find 'em.
Daniel Pudles - captains of industry.Daniel Pudles - christian hypocrites.Daniel Pudles - progress.Daniel Pudles - the various savours of coffee.
[No way to get rid of this %$#@!!-ing line that I can find with this wretched HTML.

On the other hand, Blogger sometimes makes improvments that actually improve: images now load in order, and 'Preview' looks more-and-more like a post looks when it is 'Published'.] 

Michael Wolf: Hong Kong - 40 stories showing.Michael Wolf: Hong Kong - 53 stories showing.Michael Wolf:   These thumbnails look as if the digital copies are gibbled somehow, or maybe bar codes. At higher resolution they at first seem cobbled, possibly Photoshopped. (Can't be real!) Go to the website of Michael Wolf for a photographic vision of how the middle class lives in Hong Kong. Not fun as his portraits make very clear. Daemonic. 
Pearls Before Swine, May 23 2010.Pearls Before Swine, May 23 2010.BookOS seems to have gone for a long lunch ...

So here's a short but telling excerpt from Nicholas Carr's 'The Shallows': a digression on the writing of this book (pages 199-200). He ends with, "I'm not sure I could live without it." Profound.

Nicholas Carr.Nicholas Carr.You can visit a website calling it "a 'Silent Spring' for the literary mind"; or read his 2008 Atlantic essay, it's still online; and you can find all the links you need on Wikipedia. No cheap copies at Abe's yet. Won't be long, wait for it.

Nicholas Carr.The very last line (not counting the Epilogue) is "We are welcoming the frenziedness into our souls." Not far off Cohen's "The blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold and it's overturned the order of the soul."

Good on 'im - a place on the lecture circuit for a few years, hope he sells lots of books and makes a pant-full and treats his family well. 

                (writhes the reacher)


"Let's in" saith then that Fool.
                (the wreather wretches
                  the wrider wights

[From Umwelt Preface by Keith Ecclestone.] 

Wayne, Mr. Hollywood, is gone:   Not a word about him that I can find. I haven't seen him for a while so I ask the checkout lady at the supermarket and she tells me.

He was the very best person I met on this street, in this city for that matter since I came back. I liked him. He deserves a proper obituary. I don't know enough to write one; except that he had diabetes and numerous other ailments that kept him in and out of hospital. I guess he didn't fall through the cracks in the social safety net; but he told me he had a sister so maybe she was looking out for him, running interference.
Mister Hollywood, Wayne.
I will miss him and his cheerful song - he was always singing, making up the lyrics as he went along; or offering to marry every woman who came by - calling all of them 'Marilyn'; selling pens, taking donations. He called me 'Robert Redford' as he did all the men; said, "Hey Robert Redford, let's go to Hollywood!" Paul Quarrington wrote this song about him; a bit condescending but that's no matter now.

When he wanted something - when it was cold and he wanted a coffee - he would ask for it straight out, and you had to go and fetch it too, he didn't like to walk very much.

Important Update:   I met someone begging in Wayne's old spot who tells me that Wayne is still on the go - over close to the Toronto General somewhere according to the report. I will go over there and see if I can find him one of these days. Very pleased at this news if it is true, very pleased indeed.
Be well. 

Gilmar is back on-line:
Gilmar Barbosa.Gilmar Barbosa.Gilmar Barbosa.
So! Are you just going to sit there looking?    Take it easy.    /    I want to see which will come out on top - the finasteride or the viagra ...    [See finasteride, a chemical treatment for enlarged prostate.]


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