Friday, April 27, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
The first is "A Crude Awakening: Oil Crash," which premiered the other night on the Sundance Channel, and is set for a few more showings this weekend. A fine documentary which covers all the basics of the subject; the visualizations are scary and excellent. Gather any "nonbelievers" in your circle and plop them down in front of this one, if you can.
Our second entry comes from the blog of esteemed poster Greyzone on The Oil Drum....a near future scenario laid out in enough detail and drawing upon currently known facts. Quite fine, and frightening in its possibilities.
Enjoy your day in the Matrix, readers.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
There are many objections someone who is familiar with the issues of the end of cheap energy, global heating, and the effects of exponential growth on finite resources might make; language like this, for example, not only gives one pause but tends to undermine whatever value the rest of the article might contain:
"After World War II, President Eisenhower responded to the threat of Communism and the 'red menace' with massive spending on an interstate highway system to tie America together, in large part so that we could better move weapons in the event of a war with the Soviets. That highway system, though, helped to enshrine America’s car culture (atrophying our railroads) and to lock in suburban sprawl and low-density housing, which all combined to get America addicted to cheap fossil fuels, particularly oil. Many in the world followed our model.Today, we are paying the accumulated economic, geopolitical and climate prices for that kind of America. I am not proposing that we radically alter our lifestyles. We are who we are — including a car culture. But if we want to continue to be who we are, enjoy the benefits and be able to pass them on to our children, we do need to fuel our future in a cleaner, greener way."(emphasis Chaos')
The effects of the continuation of ridiculously wasteful American lifestyles is obviously not going to be addressed by Friedman; why not? Perhaps Friedman's audience would find that too disturbing to consider. What soporific effect is meant by "we are who we are"? In fact, transportation uses quite a bit of energy, but simply stating that citizens may have to drive less is "beyond the scope" of this article; why? Another interesting question might be: how does an optimist like Friedman expect to handle the energy needs for the "extra" 100 million citizens of the US who are projected to "arrive" by 2050? In fact, the overall tone of the article seems calculated to induce a pleasant sensation: just a little old-fashioned American ingenuity and government incentives, and these problems will just go away. Overall, the piece is disturbing, in that it contains a bedeviling mixture of facts and delusions that together give a much more optimistic tone than is reasonably warranted by the nature of the looming multiple catastrophes. (Chaos is adopting a more strident tone in preparation for the introduction of the next writer).
Chaos will now leave off the criticism of Friedman or, more properly, turn it over to James Howard Kunstler, who addresses this piece in his weekly blog, Clusterfuck Nation. Besides being screamingly funny, the man has put it all together, in such works as The Geography of Nowhere, and The Long Emergency, both highly recommended. Chaos thinks that it might help readers to get a sense of just how large the problems are by reading Friedman's piece and Kunstler's response to it. Further, what lurks behind the NYTimes article (and many others like it in the MSM) is the plain fact that it is impossible to tell the truth to the American public. Any solutions proposed will have to account for this "energy ADHD" aspect (hint: few, if any of them do).
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
"America is proud of its hyper-individualism, our liberation from the bonds of tribe and the social constraints of traditional societies. We glorify the accomplishments of inventors, innovators, entrepreneurs, pioneers, and artists. But while some individuals thrive and the cutting edge of our technology is wondrous, the plight of the chronically homeless tells me that our communities are also fragmented and disintegrating. We may have gained the world and lost each other."
"What do you think about a culture that abandons suffering people and expects them to fend for themselves on the street, then criminalizes them for expressing the symptoms of illnesses they cannot control?"
What do you think, readers? An isolated event, an unfortunate byproduct of our success, or a sign of the beginning of the collapse of the Empire? Chaos suggests, once again, to pay attention to the actions of the culture, not the "values" it proclaims it has.