The Blog

In preparation for The Crisis, read this

while listening to this

And remember Hawkwind's immortal words,
"Think only of yourself".

The key is to freak out early and freak out often (FEFO) in an agile way, and work towards a lifestyle that (ideally) feels like one continuously integrated and deployed mid-life crisis. There is actually good intellectual justification for approaching life this way. It’s called the Lindy effect, which says you’ll live as long again as you already have, until you don’t.

Which means you’re always at mid-life. Until you’re not.
[from: Google+ Posts]

Star Wars VII - Here be some small spoilers. Look away now.

I remember watching Star Wars IV in the cinema. And then going back with friends a few days later to the matinee performance and lying on the carpet in front of row 1 to watch it again. It was easy to enjoy a small boy's pleasure in lots of guns going pew-pew and fighter planes in dog fights. Then a few days later I bought a copy of International Times and was dismayed to read a critique of the film as a disgusting and obscene celebration of the US-UK Military-Industrial-Complex. That moment of cognitive dissonance as the concerned adult fought with the small boy for control has stayed with me ever since.

Now it's getting on for 40 years later, a new Star wars film has come round with almost exactly the same story line. It's got the same fighter plane dog fights. The same pew-pew gun noises. And the usual bloodless violence and obligatory hand to hand fighting. Amazingly, International Times has resurrected itself as well. And here's one of their suitably obtuse critiques of "Stop Wars" complete with free verse and obligatory Banksy. It's not as hard hitting as in 1977, but I'm feeling the same cognitive dissonance.   
 Stop Wars | IT »
Video and Montage by Alan Cox. Banksy . “All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.” – John Steinbeck . One in eight babies is born in a war zone, Its consciousness seized by toxic shock. First made aware of life by an act of love. The flow of love, due to war, is blocked.

[from: Google+ Posts]

Migrant refugee camps seen as a city-building, architecture problem. Every so often Bruce Sterling finds this stuff and this is one of those things that spins off ideas.

In several places around the world, but especially in the Middle East and Europe we've got an ongoing migration problem as war or water or climate change or food shortages force people to move to say alive. Traditionally we treat this as a temporary crisis and set up temporary camps with tight controls. But these camps aren't really temporary with it being common for people to be stuck in them for 15 years or more. The people inside them start doing city building and building a camp society regardless of how we attempt to control it. So the big idea is to place the camps in places that need repopulation and encourage the refugees to use free enterprise to build a new city there. Examples might be the empty southern central Italy, and especially the empty new towns and building projects in Spain. But this also applies to places in Central Germany as well.

The question is how much infrastructure, law and order and control we have to provide to kick start the process. The infrastructure is not just food/water/housing. Modern migrants have cellphones so electricity/cellphone coverage/internet is important as well. Perhaps the Migrant City should be a temporary autonomous zone or free port. Does that mean an "Escape from New York" compound with high walls? There's the possibility of experiments in new forms of social organisation here. Then there's the jobs problem. The ideal locations for re-population are often empty because there's no work. That's certainly true of Italy/Spain but less so for Eastern Europe. If this is a permanent rather than temporary city then the occupants need to fairly quickly move to generating wealth not just consuming it. What happens to guaranteed basic income or benefits for the migrants? How quickly do they get citizenship of the regional, national and super-national sructures where it's located?

It's good to see architects being interested in this as part of a long tradition from Wren to Corbusier. Both on the macro and micro scale from city layout planning to IKEA flat pack housing. The camps may start as rigid lines of tents but the residents quickly start modifying it. Which then leads to Favela Chic and the kind of (semi)functional chaos of Sao Paolo or the townships of S Africa. Should this be encouraged or discouraged? ather than try and control it, perhaps it would be better to have an orientation point that hands out the essentials but then to let the city self organise.

Finally there's the problem of land ownership. The whole of the western world is now owned. To make this work a space has to be cleared, presumably by government, for the Migrant City to be placed in. Does that mean compensating the current owners of the land in some way? Or do they get to charge rent?

How does this vary round the world? From S to N America. Europe compared with Africa. China compared with Siberia.

And all that starts with a simple idea. Refugee Camps aren't temporary and they shouldn't be.

Via one of Bruce Sterling's tumblrs

btw. That photo really reminds me of the really big festivals like Glastonbury or Burning Man. Camps should include entertainment, art and music. And no, Glastonbury and Burning Man are not preparation for finding yourself as a refugee!

The IKEA refugee shelter is an inspiring story.
(apologies fr the daily mail link. ;) It's there for the 10,000 figure. )

The better shelter has made it to bOingbOing

What we do now will stick around for 400,000 years. Flex your muscles, mankind. Doesn't that give you a sense of ... Power!

SeeAlso: Hot Earth Dreams - Frank Landis.
 Fossil fuel burning 'postponing next ice age' »
Climate change is altering global cycles to such an extent that the next ice age has been delayed for at least 100,000 years, according to new research identifying Earth’s deep-freeze tipping point

[from: Google+ Posts]

White Noise Best Tracks of 2015 - The Playlist

I've done a YT playlist of my favourite music blog's best of list. It's all club music but biased towards the early evening "cocktails at sunset" mood and the end of night walk home. There are some bangers but mostly down tempo. Whatever, It's all good.  

[from: Google+ Posts]

That was quite a final performance.

Farewell, then, whatever your name was.

[from: Google+ Posts]

Looking at the Indian Sub-Continent as a whole, it appears to contain a perfect storm of chaos factors.

- 1.6b people growing at 20m/year. Maybe 2b by 2030.

- Nowhere to go since the land routes out all involve 15,000ft passes that are closed, easily defensible and that already have military presence. Or into Myanmar which is dense jungle. Or into Iran and that route's harsh and lawless. Or into Afghanistan which is an active war zone. The sea routes are difficult, long and the likely destinations uninviting. All of which makes any mass emigration very unlikely. 

- Pollution problems (see all the main cities but especially Delhi, Karachi)

- Large areas at risk of flooding from rising sea water when they're not being flooded by the monsoon.

- One country (India) that controls water flow to two others (Pakistan, Bangla Desh)

- Dysfunctional governments

- Religion

- Nuclear weapons

- Severe and increasing danger of Black Flag weather every year. That's a combination of heat and humidity that kills humans without air conditioning.

- Mass exposure to Black Swan weather. Bangla Desh in particular is densely populated and prone to flooding. But so are the poorest states in India.

- Very rich anarcho-capitalists, in control of technological industry, powered by very large reserves of coal but with little oil.

- A proxy war zone on one porous border with Afghanistan that keeps spilling over into Pakistan with the help of US drones.

That's quite a pressure cooker.
[from: Google+ Posts]

This is deeply disturbing, on so many levels.

[from: Google+ Posts]

A question for the #lazyweb. Is there a site online that gives a good summary of the state of borders round the world? I imagine this on several dimensions. It's a directed graph or matrix for each major country pair with sub-divisions for specific border crossings. But then with detail depending one one's home country, transport mechanism and a bunch of notes. So for instance, USA->Canada, Blaine-I5, for a German, by bus. Or AzerBaijan->Turkmenistan, Baku-Turkmenbashi, Ferry, Motorcycle.

This was prompted by watching the excellent "Walking the Himalayas" series on Channel 4 where Levison Wood attempts to walk from Afghanistan to Bhutan. The first couple of episodes involved walking the Wakhan corridor to the Afghan-Pakistan border. Then helicoptering out, Kabul-Islamabad, Gilgit to continue walking from the Pakistan side of the same border post. Then repeating the exercise at the Burzil pass between Pakistan and Kashmir-India having to go Lahore-Amritsar-Srinigar-Dawar to continue the walk only a kilometre or two from where he got stuck and had to bug out. Both were 1500Km detours. The second event was the beginning of the end of the Schengen agreement in the EU where Germany->Denmark and then Denmark->Sweden are turning into check points. This is forced by the influx of middle eastern migrants but it's forcing everyone to carry ID and explain themselves. This is all symptomatic of a world where borders are not opening up. Increasingly they're closing down. And places where you used to be able to cross easily, are now blocked by armed guards. Where you used to be able to just cross, you now need a visa; or a paid guide.

Talking of Refugees. Just came across this,
A bunch of UK tech journalists and commentators brainstorming apps for refugees. That sounds horrendous and easy to criticise but they're actually producing some useful stuff.
 Walking the Himalayas »
Explorer Levison Wood sets out to walk the length of the world's highest mountain range, from Afghanistan to Bhutan

[from: Google+ Posts]

[from: Librarything]

[from: Librarything]

[from: Librarything]

[from: Librarything]

I came across a new word today. "Declinist".

Beware the fnords. Pop-Sci mixed in with Real-Sci.
Subscribe to Edge. ×. You can subscribe to Edge and receive e-mail versions of EdgeEditions as they are published on the web. Fill out the form, below, with your name and e-mail address and your subscription will be automatically processed. Email address *. Your name *. Country * ...

[from: Google+ Posts]

The "Best (club) Music of 2015" Meta-list of lists.

If you only read one and want to broaden your musical horizons, try this. 
"Forget the squeezed middle, most of the music we love at The Quietus is from the fucked bottom." DJs Live acts Albums Tracks Recommended Recommended

Some of the web sites have multiple lists beyond the ones here. Follow the links.
 The Quietus | Features | The Quietus Albums Of 2015, In Association With Norman Records »
Forget the squeezed middle, most of the music we love at The Quietus is from the fucked bottom. Yet with the music business coin situation still appalling, our albums of the year list 2015 proves the underground is alive and screaming

[from: Google+ Posts]

You know I'm born to lose, and gambling's for fools,
But that's the way I like it baby,
I don't wanna live for ever,
And don't forget the joker!

Keith's mum has some stories about seeing you in the Hawkwind tent at the Isle of Wight festival.

But nobody really believes she was there.

[from: Google+ Posts]

30 Dec 2015, North Pole expected to peak at +1C
 Warm Arctic Storm To Hurl Hurricane Force Winds at UK and Iceland, Push Temps to 72+ Degrees (F) Above Normal at North Pole »
We've probably never seen weather like what's being predicted for a vast region stretching from the North Atlantic to the North Pole and on into the broader Arctic this coming week. But it's all in...

[from: Google+ Posts]

Now the Paris Climate Change talks are over. We got the deal, now we actually have to do something. Starting today.

Small personal efficiencies all help but they won't solve the problem. Which does raise the question of what we expected to happen in Paris, and what we expect politicians (or anyone really) to do next.

Politicians (in all countries worldwide) can do some big macro things by setting rules, regulations and putting processes in place. And by investing public money in big infrastructure.

So as a start this should be penalising fossil fuels instead of subsidising them. Taxing fossil fuel use and using the funds generated to change the game and to push the market. And subsidising renewables to encourage deployment. With low structural inflation and low oil prices this is a perfect time to to be introducing aggressive carbon taxes.


Not in 2016 or 2020 or 2030 or 2050.


From the article:-

you don’t get to go drilling or mining in new areas, even if you think it might make you lots of money. The Arctic will have to be completely off limits, as will the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming. The pre-salt formations off Brazil, and the oil off the coasts of north America too.

You’ve got to stop fracking right away (in fact, that may be the greatest imperative of all, since methane gas does its climate damage so fast). You have to start installing solar panels and windmills at a breakneck pace – and all over the world. The huge subsidies doled out to fossil fuel have to end yesterday, and the huge subsidies to renewable energy had better begin tomorrow. You have to raise the price of carbon steeply and quickly, so everyone gets a clear signal to get off of it.

At the moment the world has no real plan to do any of those things. It continues to pretend that merely setting the goal has been work enough for the last two decades. 


And this kind of thing really doesn't help.

The UK Conservatives’ attacks on wind, solar and other ‘clean’ technologies has undermined ability to meet CO2 targets, experts say

The government has been warned that a major U-turn in energy policy is required if it is to avoid charges of blatant hypocrisy following the commitments it made in the Paris climate deal this weekend.

Say one thing, do another. Amber Rudd and the Tories will tell you "The UK will deliver" while cutting subsidies to and blocking renewables, subsidising fossil fuels and wasting huge amounts of money on unrealistic nuclear projects.
 Climate deal: the pistol has fired, so why aren’t we running? | Bill McKibben »
There can be no complacency after the Paris talks. Hitting even the 1.5C target will need drastic, rapid action

[from: Google+ Posts]

Climate change modelling based on the rate of carbon emissions, their effect on CO2 concentration and the resultant global average temperature.

The Limits to Growth revisited on their 40th anniversary. An attempt to model the world economy via at least 8 interdependent variables. Where only one of them is pollution and where CO2 is only part of that.   

It's not clear at the moment which of the 3 obvious scenarios we'll follow. It's likely to be a mix of the three in different times and places.
1) Continue with business as usual and blow the #terafart of 1TtC into the atmosphere as fast as possible. For all the talk, this is what we're actually doing, following the worst case scenario from the IPCC.
2) Voluntarily reduce our carbon emissions along the lines of the Paris agreement. Too little, too late resulting in 4oC increase by 2100
3) Overshoot, crash and burn as we hit a whole series of fundamental limits before 2100. The actual detail is messy and unpredictable. This is where we don't blow all the carbon as other factors strike first. 

One way in which this will be modified is that we will deploy large quantities of Solar, Wind and other renewable energy sources along with increased efficiencies. And it's not clear if this helps or if it simply hardens demand.

Or as somebody said last month, "Since we can't fix it as individuals and we can't get off the planet we might as well point out the interesting bits to each other as the ship sinks." and somebody else replied, "that doesn't sound terribly cheerful. I've got kids on that thing"

[from: Google+ Posts]

[from: Librarything]

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