Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Hasta la vista, baby.
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Greenpeace, Rodrigo Abd: Nazca, The future is renewable.

Gwynne Dyer in the Georgia Straight a few weeks ago: The threat of artificial intelligence and this in the New York Times a few days ago open up a thread, a vein, a seam of seeming gold in the murk:
R.U.R. a 1920 Czech science fiction play by Karel Čapek. R.U.R. stands for Rosumovi Univerzální Roboti / Rossum’s Universal Robots. (Thanks to Martin)

The theme is touched upon occasionally/sometimes/often in Doctor Who & Startrek.

Lately several years worth of 'Person of Interest' episodes - ultra-conservative undertones but some interesting insights among bushels & bushels (& bushels!) of every-cheap-trick-in-the-book chaff.

'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', which is the best in my estimation because of the light-hearted humour in such nuggets as: "Don't Panic!" and, "The answer is 42."

Luc Besson's recent film 'Lucy'. (Wowzers!)

The Terminator 'franchise'.
Recursion #1 (digression within a digression):

A thin layer of real story in James Cameron's efforts - T1 & T2 in this case - a tissue of lies rather than an integrated ideology of lies, which becomes clearer if you watch T3 & T4. Cameron seems to have fallen out with them over T3 somehow - idle speculation.
Terminator 2 Judgment Day 1991: Hasta la vista, baby.
Shades of Sidney Carton, altruism. Arnold Schwarzenegger later becomes the 'green champion' Governor of California. James Cameron becomes something approximately similar in the green movement with 'Avatar'.

Both immensely wealthy. Both entertainers. Both getting lots.
Rudy Park: Fire!
Michael Leunig: Bin it.

I use the public library WiFi connection because I can't afford $300 a month for telephone & Internet anymore. There seems to be an increasing number of other people doing the same - competition for the limited number of chairs so it pays to be there when the door opens in the morning.

A network such as the Internet is really a complex amalgam of devices spread through planetary space and components fail now and then. The reactions when the wideband narrows and slows (often apparently reacting to the weather outside) are interesting. No one says anything but you can feel people shift impatiently, hear them rebooting their PCs hoping for a return to 'normal' revealing that it's ... (just) an addiction.

When the infrastructure stops Moore's Law will go into reverse hyperdrive and it will all vanish in a heartbeat. A century-long study funded (presumably) with Google profits? Are you kidding me? :-)

A few loose ends:
Symmetry with undead: intellect & mind cf. A.I. & cyber-whatever; and spirit cf. zombies, golem, vampires and the like.

Last Exit to Brooklyn & Requiem for a Dream? These are some of the saddest stories ever. ... Why should they come to mind so strongly & repeatedly as I write this?

And anorexic females? (Linda Hamilton?)

Scale: at local & limited scale it all works fine; only in very large, general, planetary realms does it lead to collapse & extinction.
tOad: Mediterranée.tOad: Père Noël / Santa Claus.Martin Rowson: Olympic Sponsors 2012.
Recursion (or possibly pre-recursion) #2:

The effigies below are not identified by the Guardian editors responsible for the article in which the photograph appears. I guess you are just supposed to know who they are. One of them might be Stephen Harper but I'm not certain-sure.

Why aren't they named? Why don't I recognise them?

There is the odd link here and there to whatever the text of the agreement coming out of Lima might be. Why don't I bother to follow these links and read the text? And why am I ready to simply accept whatever the chief of AOSIS says about it?

In the clip (farther below) from 'The Newsroom' two numbers put my antennae up: 3 million years since CO2 levels were last at 400 parts per million, and 2,795 gigatons already released. I thought it was longer than three million years and I thought the 2,795 gigatons were the already discovered but not yet burned reserves (according to Bill McKibben's 'Do The Math').

Why don't I (bother to) check these numbers out?

These are rhetorical questions gentle reader.

Do government pension plan investments in fossil fuels count as subsidies? What are the seven criteria that Quebec laid out to TransCanada for acceptance of the Energy East pipeline?

No one answers so these questions hit the round file as 'known unknowns'.
UNFCCT COP(out)20, Lima Peru, December 1-12 2014:
Lima UNFCCC COP 20: Effigies, un-named.Lima UNFCCC COP 20: Christiana Figueres.Lima UNFCCC COP 20: Christiana Figueres.Lima UNFCCC COP 20: Christiana Figueres.Lima UNFCCC COP 20: Christiana Figueres.Lima UNFCCC COP 20: Christine Lagarde & Nadine Heredia posing with smiling native women near Ayacucho.Lima UNFCCC COP 20: Christiana Figueres.
Sebastião Salgado: Mali 1985.IF the remainder of the 'developed' politicians had imitated and exceeded the excellent but insufficient gestures made by Barack Obama & Xi Jingping, AND IF all of them had anted up dramatically to help their less fortunate neighbours THEN something useful might have been accomplished next year in Paris.

As it is I must stifle my feelings on such cunning stunts in fear of being arrested for uttering threats.

Some fluffy bit of TV dreck - a HBO soap called 'The Newsroom' aired around the world in primetime - slides in a few minutes of climate change between its main ongoing plot lines & cleavage (fore & aft). It ain't strictly factual but it's pretty damn close (say, 97%), and it lets you laugh at what is the un-funniest situation humanity has ever faced bar none - which is healthy psychology for a civilization on the edge, the brink, the very very verge, of collapse, dystopia, extinction, whatever.

So of course, people who could know better (viz. Peter Sinclair & Michael Mann among others) damn it with faint praise extending to outright condemnation. Doh!

The clip is here; Sinclair's petty crit here, and Mann's mewling here and here.
Kevin Carter: Struggling Girl, Sudan 1993.
Daniél Espinosa: Easy Money.
Aaron Sorkin: 'The Newsroom'.
There isn't a position on this any more than there is a position on the temperature at which water boils.

What else? ... Oh yeah, Jane Fonda has come a long way since Barbarella Psychedella & the Excessive Machine (at 31). A-and there's this.

"Fuck you," whispers Slothrop.
It's the only spell he knows.
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