Saturday, March 27, 2004
Fossil fuel game over
Given that the current U.S. population is in excess of 292 million, 40 that would mean a reduction of 92 million. To achieve a sustainable economy and avert disaster, the United States must reduce its population by at least one-third. The black plague during the 14th Century claimed approximately one-third of the European population (and more than half of the Asian and Indian populations), plunging the continent into a darkness from which it took them nearly two centuries to emerge. Unless the focus changes, natch.
None of this research considers the impact of declining fossil fuel production. The authors of all of these studies believe that the mentioned agricultural crisis will only begin to impact us after 2020, and will not become critical until 2050. The current peaking of global oil production (and subsequent decline of production), along with the peak of North American natural gas production will very likely precipitate this agricultural crisis much sooner than expected. Quite possibly, a U.S. population reduction of one-third will not be effective for sustainability; the necessary reduction might be in excess of one-half. And, for sustainability, global population will have to be reduced from the current 6.32 billion people -- 42 to 2 billion -- a reduction of 68r over two-thirds. The end of this decade could see spiraling food prices without relief. And the coming decade could see massive starvation on a global level such as never experienced before by the human race.
1:20 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Peace activism and tax resistance
The history of taxation is tied to war. As money is needed to wage a war, new systems of taxation appear. Customs duties financed most of the Civil War. Tobacco, alcohol and other excise taxes were added to help pay for the Continental Navy. With each subsequent war, military spending skyrocketed, seldom returning to its pre-war level. The enactment of the Sixteenth Amendment in 1913 established a permanent personal income tax for the first time. The employee withholding system was established in 1943, in the midst of World War II Military outlays during this war increased to almost 80 times the prewar level, and debt taken on to finance the war jumped to six and a half times its 1940 level. War Resisters League
Maureen, an Albuquerque peace activist in her 40s who just recently began resisting taxes, credits a situation that happened in the '80s for planting the seed that now inspires her resistance. Alexander Haig, secretary of state during the Reagan Administration, commenting on anti-nuclear weapon protesters gathered outside the White House said, "Let them protest, as long as they are paying taxes."
"For me," Maureen said, "I think this kind of lay dormant. You know how you get influenced by something but you don't act on it but it stays. [Haig's comment] was truly to me a revelation, like, 'you know you can stand there, you can go on a hunger strike, you can fast and you can march and have your signs, but we have your money and we're going to do what we want with it.' And that I think stuck with me in a big way, even though I didn't really start acting on it until recently."
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
1:05 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Friday, March 26, 2004
The closest to my sense of the Gibson Christ movie appeared in this article where a French film distributor said that while he was refusing to pick up the film, he wasn't against its being shown "[b]ecause, behind this 'Passion' . . . you can glimpse a whole internationale of religious fundamentalism, a martyrology based on violence, contempt for the body and hatred for the human element."
I haven't seen it, and don't intend to. Any more than I intend to watch Kill Bill.
1:40 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Sign the petition for restoring reader privacy in America
4:40 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Poking around DVD review sites (keeping an eye out for contests mostly) I found the UK site DVD Outsider, which has thoughtful reviews of titles released in (ahem) ZONE 2 (this regional DVD thing is so stupid)
There were reviews of 2 Japanese films that aren't out here yet (A Snake of June by Shinyu Tsukamoto & Dark Water by Ringu director Hideo Nakata) which sparked my interest. Plus a piece on Thomas Riedelsheimer's Rivers and Tides, a documentary on British nature artist Andy Goldsworthy that won the Best Documentary award at the 2003 San Francisco International Film Festival, which is at least listed at Netflix, though no release date yet.
I guess this site would also be useful for fans with all-region players, who like to keep track of the different extras on regional versions.
Anyway, it's a site to check out for the discerning viewer.
1:58 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Monday, March 22, 2004
Interesting music blog Tofu Hut [Incoming Signals]
Featuring samples of Tuvan throatsinging (briefly).
1:21 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Elk die-off in Wyoming baffles scientists, rangers
1:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Olafur Eliasson's spectacularly popular artificial sun exhibit at the Tate in London closes
The Tate Modern in London recently suggested extending the wildly successful six-month run of Olafur Eliasson's installation in the museum's vast Turbine Hall. An instant cult site of mood-altering atmospherics, both gloomy and eye-popping, "The Weather Project" consists of a fake sun (yellow lights behind a huge semicircular screen, below a mirrored ceiling) and pumped-in mist. Wish I'd been able to see it.
His work is in fact very much an expression of his background and character. It's serious. Landscape components partly reflect his Nordic roots. Like Ibsen and Strindberg, writers he admires, Mr. Eliasson is, he says, after a kind of fleeting experience that is theatrical but at the same time transparent about its artifice. He is adamant that the Tate display is not about creating a convincing illusion, in that he lets a visitor see the lights behind the screen and the seams between the mirrors -- gives them a peek backstage, as it were.
The mirrors have another purpose, too. "I put mirrors on the museum ceiling to change the history of the Turbine Hall, which previously had sculptures in it, and to create a different experience, a place that looked even larger than it is, emphasizing the megalomaniacal ambition of the architects and the institution," he explains. "The mirror, not the sun, is what people are really staring at: so the work is not so much the general spectacle of a fake sun, but a person's individual encounter with his own reflection."
12:48 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
The filtered life
"It's not about bubbles, it's about figuring out which products work, which ideas work, which relationships work for you," said Robbie Blinkoff, the principal anthropologist at Context-Based Research Group, a consulting firm in Baltimore. "It's partly because of all the stuff that's available out there, the amount of channels you can get it through. You had to create a survival strategy." I know I much prefer email to phone calls -- really gotten to hate the phone.
So never mind that as I completed a week of experimenting with life on filter, a colleague said to me, "You hate us!" I wasn't a snob or antisocial, but practicing what Mr. Blinkoff calls "critical consumption."
Modern filtering has been around since the most answering machines allowed people to screen calls. But the popularity of Tivo and noise-canceling headphones suggest that demand for filtering is growing - hardly surprising in an age when people's cellphone conversations and blogs are giving you more far more information than you really wanted. Now, at the supermarket, Mr. Blinkoff said, "the coupon dispensers pop out at you."
Yet I get a comfort sometimes from the briefest dip into the social pool of the supermarket that I can't muster on my own.
12:40 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Sunday, March 21, 2004
Have to admit Century City was engaging -- and this from someone who as a rule avoids all shows featuring lawyers, cops or doctors
Of course I doubt whether life will be quite as bright and shiny as this show depicts, but it's not bad writing.
12:50 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Photo diary of present-day Chernobyl by young Ukrainian female cycle enthusiast [twin cities babelogue]
Something cheerful soon. Really.
12:39 AM - [Link] - Comments ()