Monday, January 27, 2014

Neil Young: What was the point again?

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For brevity, let's let this represent the whole media & government & industry response:
Brian Gable.
Well more than fair to them.
Perhaps you can take an hour and try this (or not) ... listen to 'Fork in the Road' (the tune not the album, lyrics & YouTube link here), watch the video a few times. What's he sayin'? Is it a mystery?


                                        和悦梦想 (harmonious happy dream)


Look, see, and think for yourself. Make up your own mind.
What's left of it.
There could be quibbles with this, some of 'em serious; but let's let all'a that philosophical guff slide on by. A-and the consequences of a mistake could be more than temporary discomfort, make the Shoah look like the Teddy Bear's Picnic perhaps, by two or three orders of magnitude; but let's let that go too.

Round numbers - half a million years, four ice ages, and one hockey stick:
Four ice ages and a hockey stick.
The data comes from analysis of Antarctic ice cores & the Keeling curve published by NOAA - it is not even vaguely controversial. Almost regular (as things go in what we know of a wildly variable universe). Sort'a like, breathing.

So. Best guess. Make a long story short: Ditch the economy and keep civilization, or, blow 'em both off. Not much of a choice really. Could almost call it a 'no brainer'.

The drop-dead date is already passed, or, not later than 2020 depending on who you listen to. Do what's necessary to flat-line and reduce CO2 emissions by then or the window into a less than +2° world permanently shuts an' the fat lady starts singin'. See: Joeri Rogelj et al. '2020 emissions levels required to limit warming to below 2°C' in Nature Climate Change, December 2012. Heavy.

Tell me (I want to believe) that the polity: world governments, the EU, the United Nations, the twenty-years-on-and-so-far-zilch UNFCCC ... NGOs, Rob Ford; will get their thumbs out in time - and do it with a straight face.

Dan Wasserman.

The girls are lookin' straight atch'a:
Pussy Riot, photograph by Vanya Berezkin.Ajak Deng, photograph by Alexander Palacios.

And please, let the positive descend like a dove rather than a doctrine:
Jerry Van Amerongen: Ballard Street.xkcd.(Cartoons by xkcd are featured on Climate Central.)

Recessional hymn in memory of my friend Vincent Bernardus Tieleman Twight ... by The Rolling Stones: "May be the Last Time I don't know."

Be well gentle readers, enjoy.
Keep on bloggin'
'Til the power goes out
And your battery's dead.
Twist and Shout.
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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Neil Young: The rhetoric of authenticity.

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YouTube: Neil Young on Q with Jian Ghomeshi.
Watch this interview (clicking on the image above links to it on YouTube - you will have to bear the ad) of Neil Young by Jian Ghomeshi on 'Q' - fairly short, ten minutes - and maybe you will see what I mean by 'the rhetoric of authenticity' as exhibited by Neil Young. Maybe watch a couple'a times until you get it. Or not. You may also see the CBC buddy, wazizname, doing a capable, credible, job of threading the easy-ride/rough-ride needle - his skill being exactly in the threading (and concomitant inauthenticity). Or not.

He doesn't seem to know just what he's said when it slips out: "I guess the question is if it's something that big, that systemic, that revolutionary to change ..."

There are a number of other interviews & press-conferences you can easily find on YouTube; even one of the concerts entire if you're willing to pay for it.

The mainstream press is focussed on the predictable. Easy enough to find them with Google if you want that kind of thing. The only even vaguely interesting ones are the Official Attack Poodles: Ezra 'less-than-a-lawyer' Levant and Rex 'not-quite-a-Rhodes-Scholar' Murphy. One of those late-night TV marketeers should do up a set of $9.99 ceramic bookends of this exceedingly odd canine couple (both spayed) in appropriately apoplectic day-glo colours.

In the (sort of) alternative press: Rabble recycles a piece by David Climenhaga: The 'Petroleum Party' in full cry about Neil Young; and (Wait a sec! Here's something!),
Tyee's Ian Gill actually begins to get a look at it: Neil Young to Harper: Fear Our Emotion!.

Almost all of the political cartoons I come across on-line are uncomprehending and unkind (or, in the case of Ingrid Rice, incomprehensible), and none of them is very funny:
MacKay.Mayes.Ingrid Rice.

Only Brian Gable seems to have a glimmering. This appears in The Globe and Mail (of all places):
Brian Gable.

Is it plain talk or is it entertainment? Is it culture? Is it literature? Myth? Ficção?

Is it cynically anaesthetic television with many layers of manipulation & exploitation cloaked in double & triple & quadruple irony-bypasses selling soap? Is it hits like: 'Dexter', 'Breaking Bad', 'Low Winter Sun', 'Forbrydelsen/The Killing'? There's a long list of 'em. I watch without a TV, without ads, but sometimes an episode will slip through the download with Geico or Froot-Loops or whatever kind of soap it is embedded.

Is it nonsense from the likes of John Gummer/Lord Deben which wouldn't matter so much if he were not the chair of the UK's Committee on Climate Change saying it with an official imprimatur (in The Guardian)?

Is it more nonsense from the likes of Connie Hedegaard, ex-Danish Environment Minister, hysterical hostess of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, now the EU Commissioner for Climate Action (in The New York Times)?

Is it more nonsense from the likes of Christiana Figueres, current UNFCCC Secretary (in her post-Warsaw press release)? "Keeping governments on a track towards a universal climate agreement in 2015," say fricken' what?! This is the bottom line on all that bullshit ideology around mandatory positive thinking - is that it?

David Cameron & John Gummer aka Lord Deben.John Gummer aka Lord Deben.Connie Hedegaard, Copenhagen 2009.Christiana Figueres, Warsaw 2013.Christiana Figueres, Doha 2012.

These are supposed to be the good guys?! Bollocks.


(Oops. Sorry. Got carried away.)

The pervasive imagery in Neil's 'Fork in the Road' album is of his automobile as a woman, girlfriend, lover, muse. This reminds me of ee cummings' 'she being Brand-new':

                she being Brand

                -new;and you
                know consequently a
                little stiff i was
                careful of her and(having

                thoroughly oiled the universal
                joint tested my gas felt of
                her radiator made sure her springs were O.

                K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her

                up,slipped the
                clutch(and then somehow got into reverse she
                kicked what
                the hell)next
                minute i was back in neutral tried and

                again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg.    ing(my

                lev-er Right-
                oh and her gears being in
                A 1 shape passed
                from low through
                second-in-to-high like
                greasedlightning)just as we turned the corner of Divinity

                avenue i touched the accelerator and give

                her the juice,good


                was the first ride and believe i we was
                happy to see how nice and acted right up to
                the last minute coming back down by the Public
                Gardens i slammed on

                brakes Bothatonce and

                brought allofher tremB
                to a:dead.


(ee cummings, 1926.)
I like it, but I'm suspicious of fetishes except as artefacts.
Angeli: Mara Tara.Angeli: Album de Viagem.

A couple of eu-words (cf. correctitude) might help bring some perspective:
        eunoia   (well mind; beautiful thinking)
                which is in Wikipedia but not the OED - Doh? ; and,
        eunomy / eunomia   (a political condition of good law well-administered).

Several additional words, also possibly useful in the context:
        tinge   (a slight admixture of some qualifying characteristic; a touch or flavour of some quality);
        temperament   (constitution or habit of mind; natural disposition).
                Note the spelling - there is an 'a' in there; and,
        poetaster   (petty or paltry poet; rimester).
                I had this last one wrong - thought it applied to critics & hangers-on, not artists.

An exercise to perhaps assist in sharpening the blade:
        Edward O. Wilson   cf.   Jared Diamond   cf.   David Suzuki   cf.   Neil Young.

These assumptions make me uncomfortable, misgivings, gas ...

"Honour The Treaties" he says, but what are native motivations exactly?

Theresa Spence in Attawapiskat going to the wall for a bigger share of the local diamond mine? Aleqa Hammond & Jens-Erik Kirkegaard in Greenland opening the doors wide to welcome in China, BP, Shell?

He is simply wrong about ethanol, and I wonder if it's disingenuous that this Lincoln of his keeps being referred to as an 'electric car powered by biomass'. Is this a euphemism? Did the phrase fall out of some strategy & tactics session with David Suzuki? Is it clever marketing?

And is the disinformation around ethanol he refers to in his speech at the National Farmers Union press conference last year coming to us from the same purveyors as the disinformation around Fort Mac?

"Science is the backbone of our future," he says, seeming to (also) imply that technology's gonn'a save us - which I don't happen to think it's gonn'a do.

Even a booster like Gwynne Dyer has figgured out that geo-engineering ain't where it's at (in the Georgia Strait).

[Sorry to say that our Gwynne has stood himself corrected and is back to being a geo-engineering booster: Mea culpa on geo-engineering; it's not as bleak as I thought. Oh well, nobody's perfect.]

Anyway, I could be wrong, he could be wrong. ... The answer is Thorium! (Not.)

... but that's the kinn'a guy I often am - a nasty & unpleasant quibbler.

So ... listen to 'Fork in the Road' (the tune not the album, lyrics & YouTube link here) a few times, watch the interviews again. What's he sayin'?

See for yourself. Think for yourself. Make up your own mind.
What's left of it.
When I worked for KBR/Halliburton we went to Arlington or someplace for a week of training on a new software package. Over breakfast the first day I met a personable & articulate middle-aged Texan - "Good," I thought, "A friend for the duration." But at one point in the conversation I happened to mention something I had seen in The New York Times the day before. "Oh," he said (with an odd look), "Do you read that stuff?"

And that was the end of it. Not another word during the entire week. Cold shoulder.

And yeah, you will sometimes find the term 'Guardian reader' used pejoratively in British media.

So. Sifting. Winkling out some kind of sense from amongst the apparently intentional bafflegab of
Edward O. Wilson. Putting aside gallons of Indonesian whitewash to hear what Jared Diamond has to say about chimpanzees. Trying to ignore David Suzuki's ... arrogance? snobbery? superiority? - he reminds me of wazzername? John Ralston Saul's wife? ... (ah! - ten hours later - got it!) ... when she was on CBC saying, "Hi, I'm Adrienne Clarkson. And you're not." Maybe it's just bourgeois insecurity.

A-and now our Neil.

I didn't know someone had made a movie about Hannah Arendt. Thinking about her last week I came across it - must'a bin a harmonic convergence - so I downloaded and watched it. Turns out I also didn't know about the controversy surrounding her 'Eichmann in Jerusalem' articles/book. Got drowned out by my own applause when I read it I guess. People do not want to know that they are even potentially complicit, resist knowing at all costs. Evil is not banal, it's ... special.

There it is again. Although I do think that the idea of evil as a fundamental human quality has steadily gained currency in the meantime - even as we are all reduced to Muselman.

I figgure there will be no Nuremberg or Jerusalem trials, no ICC for the climate criminals - seems to me that whatever justice systems there are will be among the first to fall as the house of cards collapses - and they are so numerous, these climate criminals ... a-and anyway, they control the courts.

It's the rhetoric of authenticity - genuine, but it's still rhetoric.

We could ditch the economy and possibly still preserve a civilization. Or we could ditch both.

Ai Ai Ai. Said too much, sorry.

Moudakis (edited by Glenn MacIntosh).
The little frame to the left started out as a shot at the Leafs (hockey team) by Moudakis in The Toronto Star a few years ago.

Glenn MacIntosh of ecoSanity changed it up to 'The Harper Government' adding subtlety and eloquence in the process.

"Who'll remember?" indeed.

I praise him but he don't talk with me. None of 'em do.

Oh well.
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Everything I do is wrong. I'm sorry.

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Object lesson in near-universal complicity:
They tried to teach us in Sunday school that "We are God's hands;" "We do His work with our hands;" and so on. I guess in the equal-and-opposite anti-universe schools somewhere, other kids were being taught that we are in fact God's feet.

Dilbert: Disaster Plan.Malvados.Aislin.
The sea has risen 6 metres in the last 5 hours.
There's no need for you to study anymore David.
And you can smoke all the marijuana you want ...
Facetious nonsense from Aislin.
Somewhere, someone still thinks the social media revolution's gonn'a save us:
Rudy Park.
Rudy Park.
Andrzej Krauze.Genildo.
Free Election Advertising
Smile! You're the one who pays the bill.
Gado.Mike Keefe.

The civilizing process:
We killed almost all of the natives.
It's lucky a few were left ...
... for us to sell.
I don't feel like making love.
Think!   What would a great leader do in this situation?
A war!
Girls framed in various dimensions:
Girl framed in pink neon.Anorexic girl (Sarah Bond) framed in toxic waste.

Angeli seems to be sinking:
If so, then I am at least in good company.

Humans walk by falling forward:

Profane, Angel and Geronimo gave up girl-watching about noon and left the park in search of wine. An hour or so later, Rachel Owlglass, Profane's Rachel, passed by the spot they'd abandoned, on her way home.

There is no way to describe the way she walked except as a kind of brave sensual trudging: as if she were nose-deep in snowdrifts, and yet on route to meet a lover. She came up the dead center of the mall, her gray coat fluttering a little in a breeze off the Jersey coast. Her high heels hit precise and neat each time on the X's of the grating in the middle of the mall. Half a year in this city and at least she learned to do that. Had lost heels, and once in a while composure in the process; but now could do it blindfolded. kept on the grating just to show off. To herself.

(Thomas Pynchon, V, chapter two: The Whole Sick Crew)
Neil Young is in the news these days. No one told me he was coming. Out of the loop. No invitations. Today I am just humming a fragment I remember from somewhere, "... can't go wrong till I get right." Not sure where it comes from?
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Saturday, January 18, 2014

A cracked pot.

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Translation: fracasso: failure, otimismo: optimism.
This seems to me to be The central issue for 'the environmental movement':

How to tell the awful truth without driving the audience either away or mad?
All of the end-runs (and they are many, 'legion' as the Christians say about devils) are lame and unconvincing time wasters. It is tempting to make a list of notable failures; maybe another day.

There could also be a list of those who are not failing, who are trying, sometimes courageously, sometimes with exceeding courage & fortitude, sometimes to the very edge of doom and beyond ... (there is one started at the very end, below).

But these two guys, whom I happen to actually know, look like they're grappling successfully; and through the amazing wonder of Internet technology you can get to know them, get acquainted a bit on-line if you are so inclined:

           Sometimes the night seems darkest just before the dawn by Peter Sale; and,
           Louis Lesosky Crowbird's blog, Occupation Apple Tree.

Martin Buber thought that goodness is simply facing the right way. He thought the right way is towards God. I don't know about God so it doesn't quite work for me.

Oh well. Maybe cracked pots also serve (to mangle Milton's famous phrase). I hope so.

Far Side - Gary Larson: dancing cockroaches.Tom Toles: Today's Specials.

Australians: Nick Xenophon, John Madigan, Tony Abbott, Maurice Newman
Nick Xenophon & John Madigan.Nick Xenophon & Tony Abbott.Tony Abbott & Maurice Newman.
It is customary (in some quarters), given their history, to think of Australians as genetically selected for criminality & anti-social behaviour generally. This is of course unfair, unjust, biggotted, probably even (simply) wrong, but there it is.

They certainly set a terrible example for Stephen Harper a few months ago - which he and his brown-nose lackey, Paul Calandra, promptly took them up on with loud Hee-Haws of applause.

Now they are backtracking on the miserably pathetic and insufficient policies they put in place a few years ago.

Donkeys! Dinosaurs! Let them eat cockroaches!

Renewable energy target faces delay amid calls for Abbott to scrap policy

Lenore Taylor & Daniel Hirst, Wednesday 8 January 2014, The Guardian

PM's top business adviser demands inquiry into claims that wind turbines are operating in violation of compliance requirements.

Australia could delay its mandated target for renewable energy use in a compromise option being considered by the Abbott government as it faces growing internal demands to scrap the policy completely.

The environment minister, Greg Hunt, has canvassed compromise options with industry including changing the existing target that 20% of energy come from renewable sources by 2020, to one requiring 25% from renewable sources by 2025.

The government is finalising plans for a review of the target, which it promised would be retained to underpin the business case for wind farms and other forms of renewable power after the carbon tax was scrapped.

Hunt and the responsible minister, resources minister Ian Macfarlane, are understood to be determined to keep the election promise to keep the RET, but several MPs are pushing that it be scrapped altogether.

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, signalled before Christmas that the target could be wound back or the scheme scrapped, saying lower power prices are the government’s primary goal and the rationale for the RET no longer exists.

And his top business adviser, Maurice Newman, who wants the RET scrapped, is now also demanding the review investigate allegations that wind turbines are operating in violation of compliance requirements, even though state and federal authorities say this is not so.

Newman and his wife have been active members of a community group campaigning for years against a wind farm near their home in the town of Crookwell, 240km south-west of Sydney, and the former chairman of the ABC and the ASX also rejects the idea that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is the main driver of climate change. The anti-wind farm lobby claims turbines pose a health risk to nearby residents, push up energy prices, harm property values and operate “fraudulently” and “illegally”.

The “illegal” argument has been regularly advanced in parliament by the DLP senator John Madigan, who Newman – chairman of Abbott’s business advisory group – cited in a recent article in which he claimed that “tens of millions of dollars are being paid annually to non-compliant wind turbine operators by compliant politicians and bureaucrats”.

The claim that wind farms are “non compliant” is usually based on the fact that the Victorian government has not made a final determination on Acciona’s Waubra wind farm compliance with noise regulations, despite having had the company’s compliance report since 2010. The anti-wind campaigners say that because the compliance report has not been formally signed off, the wind farm is “illegal” and therefore engaged in a “fraud” and improperly receiving renewable energy certificates under the federal subsidy scheme.

But the Victorian government has written to Madigan and others who make the claims stating it has never said the wind farms are “non compliant” and asking them to correct the record.

“The minister for planning has not determined whether the wind farm is or is not compliant with the relevant planning permit. The minister or the department have never stated that the Waubra wind farm Is not compliant with the current planning permit. It cannot be assumed or inferred from the departmental advice that Waubra wind farm is not compliant with the relevant planning permit and I seek your co-operation in correcting the public record,” the then departmental secretary Andrew Tongue said.

And the federal government’s Clean Energy Regulator, which issues the renewable energy certificates, also insists the company is receiving them legally. “The Waubra wind farm was assessed and found to be compliant with the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 at the time its accreditation was granted,” the CER said in a statement. “...Having sought and received information from multiple sources, the Clean Energy Regulator has no reason to believe that the declaration(s) have been false or misleading or that there are any grounds on which to suspend the Waubra wind farm’s accreditation under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000.”

The Coalition is also moving to implement its election promise to hold another review into the alleged health impact of turbines from the National Health and Medical Research Council, which three years ago found that they posed no health risks, but advocated ongoing studies.

Professor Will Steffen from the Climate Council said on Wednesday his organisation was planning to compile a report on the health impacts of a range of energy systems, including wind and solar and coal, oil and gas. Steffen said Denmark had imposed a 1km buffer between residences and wind generators. "They've had the longest history of any country I know of with modern wind generators and I don't think they've seen any health problems with the precautions and buffer zones that they've instituted."

He argued that allowing the climate to become increasingly destabilised posed a greater risk than wind farms, saying extreme heat caused "far more severe health risks … on our body, on our physiology, on our work productivity, on eco-systems, on infrastructure".

Newman is among a group of country landholders who have threatened to sue a neighbouring farmer for "substantial damages" if their health or property values are harmed by his agreement to allow wind turbines to built on his property.

The 20% renewable energy target requires 45,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy by 2020. Due to falling electricity demand, that amount will represent well over 20% by 2020, adding to calls that the target date be pushed out or the target reduced.

Is this what it means to be soi distant? Maybe call it 'instant Karma':

And a tribunal convened to consider the question:
Gunnar Salvarsson: girl in Nicaragua.Gunnar Salvarsson: child at La Chureca dump, Nicaragua.Gunnar Salvarsson: child at La Chureca dump, Nicaragua.Doubtful & angry.

Umwelt, editor's note.

                             ( editor's note )

            eX  be-un around

con   u   bial   -ial

                             eul  eul  eul

                             pooh pooh

                                     puH   !

                             huh   ?

From Umwelt little poetry magazine,                     
MUN - Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1969.
Omar Figueroa Turcios: Man feeding on his dreams to avoid eating reality.Omar Figueroa Turcios.Omar Figueroa Turcios.

Special Bonus Parable
In a place out of doors, near forests and meadows, stands a jar of vinegar–the emblem of life.

Confucius approaches the jar, dips his finger in and tastes the brew. "Sour," he says. "Nonetheless, I can see where it could be very useful in preparing certain foods."

Buddha comes to the vinegar jar, dips in a finger and has a taste. "Bitter," is his comment. "It can cause suffering to the palate, and since suffering is to be avoided, the stuff should be disposed of at once."

The next to stick a finger in the vinegar is Jesus Christ. "Yuk," says Jesus. "It's both bitter and sour. It's not fit to drink. In order that no one else will have to drink it, I will drink it all myself."

But now two people approach the jar, together, naked, hand in hand. The man has a beard and woolly legs like a goat. His long tongue is slightly swollen from some poetry he's been reciting. The woman wears a cowgirl hat, a necklace of feathers, a rosy complexion.

Her tummy and tits bear the stretch marks of motherhood; she carries a basket of mushrooms and herbs. First the man and then the woman sticks a thumb into the vinegar. She licks his thumb and he hers. Initially they make a face, but almost immediately they break into wide grins.

"It's sweet," they chime.

From 'Even Cowgirls Get the Blues' Tom Robbins, 1976.
(A somewhat romanticized notion of hippies is forgiven ... this time :-)
L'armée des étoiles jetées dans le ciel:

Hannah Arendt's rather odd collection, 'Men In Dark Times' (1968) is a book I often turn to (in dark times) - and always come away from again both enlightened and ... baffled. It is a kind of list of examples, almost exemplars to be emulated but not quite. I would reproduce her short preface, but not today, maybe it is on-line somewhere - I will check later. [Yes, at Book ZA.]

That, to introduce a list which is maybe just as odd in its way.

If the question is How to tell the awful truth without driving the audience either away or mad? then it might (I don't know, I'm just saying) be worthwhile considering, keeping in mind:
Irmã Dorothy,   Zé Cláudio & Maria do Espírito Santo,   Tim DeChristopher,   Brigette DePape,   EF Schumacher,   Yvo de Boer,   Marina Silva,   Northrop Frye,   Rachel Carson,   Barbara Frum,   José Datrino - Gentileza,   Chico Mendes,   N!xau,   Nick Ut,   Jim Hansen,   Stephen Schneider,   Wangari Muta Maathai,   Mike Frastacky,   Pierre Teilhard de Chardin ...
... a list which goes on and on.

Teilhard de Chardin; that reminds me ... Whatever change in evolutionary direction may get us out of this dead-end fix, it seems to me that it has to be along the lines of his noosphere notion, communication à la Matthew 18:15 & Ivan Illich's take on The Good Samaritan ... something like that. Plus maybe a bushel of Arthur Clarke's 'Childhood's End', and a peck of First Corinthians 13:12.

I have been reading that the big bang is a probability event (Paul Davies in The Independent in 1996). If the whole damn universe is a probability event then why not spirit too? And being just somewhat out of the purely physical realm such a change could happen (even without quantum physics) ... in a twinkling.     (as they say :-)
Be well gentle readers.
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