James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Science, from a presentation to the American Geophysical Union, December 6, 2005:
The Earth's climate is nearing, but has not passed, a tipping point beyond which it will be impossible to avoid climate change with far-ranging undesirable consequences. These include not only the loss of the Arctic as we know it, with all that implies for wildlife and indigenous peoples, but losses on a much vaster scale due to rising seas.
Ocean levels will increase slowly at first, as losses at the fringes of Greenland and Antarctica due to accelerating ice streams are nearly balanced by increased snowfall and ice sheet thickening in the ice sheet interiors.
But as Greenland and West Antarctic ice is softened and lubricated by meltwater, and as buttressing ice shelves disappear because of a warming ocean, the balance will tip toward the rapid disintegration of ice sheets.
The Earth's history suggests that with warming of two to three degrees, the new sea level will include not only most of the ice from Greenland and West Antarctica, but a portion of East Antarctica, raising the sea level by twenty-five meters, or eighty feet. Within a century, coastal dwellers will be faced with irregular flooding associated with storms. They will have to continually rebuild above a transient water level.
This grim scenario can be halted if the growth of greenhouse gas emissions is slowed in the first quarter of this century.
Reconnecting to Kyoto, reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, lessening our reliance on petroleum and other non-renewable fossil fuels, these must be among our highest priorities once we've taken back the White House and Congress.
With a rare break in rehearsal today, I sat in a local dumpling bar (Rickshaw on 23rd St.), reading, when my attention was drawn to the song just starting on the restaurant's soundtrack, the unforgettable upright bass slides that introduce Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side."
Holly came from Miami, F.L.A. Hitch-hiked her way across the USA Plucked her eyebrows on the way Shaved her legs and then he was a she She says, Hey babe Take a walk on the wild side She said, Hey honey Take a walk on the wild side
Candy came from out on the Island In the backroom she was everybody's darlin' But she never lost her head Even when she was giving head She says, Hey babe Take a walk on the wild side Said, Hey babe Take a walk on the wild side And the colored girls go doo do doo do doo do do doo
Little Joe never once gave it away Everybody had to pay and pay A hustle here and a hustle there New York City's the place where they said, Hey babe Take a walk on the wild side I said, Hey Joe Take a walk on the wild side
In the UK, in 1973, this song got to number 10 on the charts (in the US it was the top jukebox hit, but suffered from heavy censorship on the radio).
It's the nature of pop music that every generation sees their own music as more relevant, more interesting, having more intrinsic value than the music of previous (or future) generations, but even given that prejudice, it's still hard to for me to contemplate a song such as this, so clearly articulated, and so direct and frank in its storytelling about a contemporary demimond, being a popular hit now. Even if the topic was broached, the words would be practically unintelligible and protected by layers of impenetrable slang.
The day of rest vanished in mid-century and the country hasn't paused since. Competition, tension, and pressure became relentless. The new calendar rewarded incessant and swift activity and penalized the reflective pause. The big Sunday newspaper, a veritable library of variegated reading material, fantasy, amusements, gossip, and entertainment, was good company for an age when most of the world still took a day off. Now, with Sunday almost as frantic as every other day, the hyperspeed of electronic journalism seems more suited to the nation's agitated temper.
The CBS show Sunday Morning is network television's one attempt at an electronic version of calm, old-fashioned Sunday journalism, and an elegant show it is. Little else, however, varies from TV journalism's routine daily style in which the usual suspects are rounded up again and again until the mind goes numb. With news channels running ceaselessly, journalism becomes as omnipresent as wallpaper. Tirelessness is its strength and monotony its style, though sometimes it does something absolutely irresistible.
An assassination occurs. The World Trade Center falls. War begins. A mountain explodes. The Indian Ocean rises up in boiling rage. Then things grow calm.... Police helicopters pursue a stolen car. Missing Girl is found dead. The President arrives, departs, declares, challenges; earthquake kills thousands; raid nets millions in cocaine. It fills you up while leaving you famished.
Remember on Star Trek (The Old Show), when Spock fed some calculation in the computers they would make whirly sounds and say (in the voice of Majel Barrett) "Working" before reciting an answer in a silted monotone -- remember that?
Well, "Working", that's me, still working.
I hope to be back to some semblence of regular posting next week, and then throttle up the week after that.
America's political leadership has encouraged the belief that grandiose political goals can be realized through the use of streamlined forces in short, low-cost campaigns. In reality, while a strategy of "shock and awe" can destroy the armed forces of an enemy state, it cannot overcome the resistance of its population. Rupert Smith, the British general who commanded UN forces in Bosnia and served as NATO's deputy allied commander in the Kosovo war, has argued that a new type of conflict waged "among the people" has to a large extent replaced the old-style industrial warfare of the last century. The key to success in this new form of warfare, he writes, is that military force must be used in the service of feasible political objectives.
The operative word here is, of course, feasible.
Of course, if you operate from a condition of ideologically-determined blindness, you really can't rationally evaluate what is feasible and what is not (assuming you're even inclined to define policy on the basis of rational evaluation in the first place). Similarly, Paul Bremer's remarks that the Administration didn't expect the Iraqi Insurgency would be totally absurd for anyone committed to rationality, but to be expected for a faith-based Presidency.
Even though it's over four years since 9/11, I still have a difficult time reading about it, or watching documentary programs about it on TV. The images of the Towers falling are especially hard for me to see, and more often than not I change the channel rather than watch.
New Orleans is not my town, I've only been there once, for a week, but in spite of that I have a similar (if less powerful) reaction when exposed to accounts of what happened in that city in the wake of Katrina. This article, "Deluged" by Dan Baum, in The New Yorker, about how the police behaved in that crisis, is one of the few pieces I've been able to struggle through.
Yes, the levees should have been built stronger or better, the city should have had an evacuation plan for those without cars, the governor should have called for help earlier, and FEMA should have responded more vigorously. But the police owned the failure. However much other agencies pass the buck, cops know they’re responsible for the safety of a city.
Some of the events described are quite emotionally devastating.
The dove of Liberty sat on an egg And hatched another eagle.
But didn't disown he bird.
Down with all eagles! cooed the Dove. And down all eagles began to flutter, reeling from their perches: Eagles with two heads, eagles with one, presently eagles with none Fell from the hooks and were dead.
Till the American Eagle was the only eagle left in the world.
Then it began to fidger, shifting from one leg to the other, Trying to look like a pelican, And plucking out f his plumage a few loose feathers to feather the nests of all The naked little republics come into the world.
But the feather were, comparatively, a mere flea-bite. And the bub-eagle that Liberty had hatched was growing a startling big bird On the roof of the world; A bit awkward, and with a funny squawk in his voice, His mother Liberty trying always to teach him to coo And him always ending with a yawp Coo! Coo! Coo! Coo-ark! Quark!! Quark!! YAWP!!!
So he clears his throat, the young Cock-eagle! Now if the lilies of France lick Solomon in all his glory; And the leopard cannot change his spots; Nor the British lion his appetite; Neither can a young Cock-eagle sit simpering With an olive-sprig in his mouth.
It's not his nature.
The big bird of the Amerindian being the eagle, Red Men still stick themselves over with bits of his fluff, And feel absolutely IT.
So better make up your mind, American Eagle, Whether you're a sucking dove, Roo--coo--ooo! Quark! Yawp!! Or a pelican Handing out a few loose golden breast-feather, at moulting time; Or a sort of prosperity-gander Fathering endless ten-dollar golden eggs.
Or whether it actuall is an eagle you are, With a Roman nose And claws not make to shake hands with, And a Me-Almighty eye.
The new Prpud Republic Based on the mystery of pride. Overweening men, full of power of life, commanding a teeming obediance.
Eagle of the Rockies, bird of men that are masters, Lifting the rabbit-blood of the myriads into something splendid, Leaving a few bones; Opening great wings in the face of the sheep-faced ewe Who is losing her lamb, Drinking a little blood, and loosng another royalty unto the world.
Is that you, American Eagle?
Or are you the goose that lays the golden egg? Which is just a stone to anyone asking for meat. And are you going to go on for ever Laying that golden egg, That addled golden egg?
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.