Ice-Free North Pole—This Summer?

June 27, 2008 at 7:25 pm (frightening things) (, , , )

Via Treehugger, reporting on this CNN article.

Over the past few years, scientists have been predicting that a total melting of the geographic north pole will occur around 2050. But with each day, it seems, predictions get dramatically more dire.

Yeah yeah, you’re thinking. I know.

But get this.

Based on information gathered by The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, CO, the center’s senior research scientist says: “We kind of have an informal betting pool going around in our center and that betting pool is ‘does the North Pole melt out this summer?’ and it may well.”

Granted, it’s expected that should the ice melt away completely from that spot, it will re-form shortly after. But still. The bet is 50/50. For THIS summer.

Shite.

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That “Apocalyptic Doom” Category of Ours?

May 9, 2008 at 8:46 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Comes in handy.

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Who are the real terrorists?

May 8, 2008 at 8:12 pm (amazing things, frightening things, funny things, movies/video/clips, politics) (, )

From Shakesville, check out this short meditation on what one man would do if he were a terrorist:

Hell’s bells!

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On Stewardship And A Just Use Of Power

April 30, 2008 at 3:21 pm (environment, injustice, proclamations) (, , , , )

This is what it comes down to.

For those of us who find ourselves in positions of power, there is exactly one right course. There is only one acceptable use of power. We must protect those who cannot protect themselves. We must help those in need. We must never, never, use our might to harm those weaker than ourselves. This is our unshakable obligation. This is the one just use for strength.

And that is exactly where we have failed as a species. That is why the damage we have done to the biosphere is so wrong. Forget that we have plundered and destroyed the pristine and the beautiful, forget even that we are endangering our own children: the havoc we wreak on the planet is wrong because we chose to use our power in the wrong way. We could have done better, but we didn’t — we chose not to.

We are the stewards of the Earth. This is not because an omniscient creator-god made us so, gave us dominion over the animals, but because it is humandkind, alone among creatures, with the incredible power to change, pollute, pillage, and destroy the world. No one can deny that we posses this power. We are, so far, incredibly powerful. Alone among species, we control our fate, and the fate of all of creation. We can and we do overpower non-human animals. We can and we do destroy ecosystems, contaminate water and air supplies, turn forests into deserts.

This makes us the stewards of the Earth. We must be the stewards of the planet, for the only alternative is to be its oppressors. We can be caretakers or we can be despots.

There is, of course, exactly one right choice. What is the right choice when an adult encounters an infant? What is the right choice when a child plays with a kitten? When one comes upon a person who is badly hurt?

We must be guardians. If we fail in this regard, we have failed as human beings, exactly as parent who kills a child has failed as a father or mother.

Edited to add on: And so power, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing. Power can be an incredible force for justice, when used that way.

That’s not to say that unjust power imbalances — like say, between genders or races — are ever okay, or can ever be a force of good. But those that are unavoidable, such as the gap between parents and children, or between people and fish, can be very good. I don’t believe we will ever have egalitarianism amongst species, but I don’t believe we have to in order to have liberty and justice for all.

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The Best Post-Apocalyptic Survival Vehicles

February 25, 2008 at 3:56 pm (frightening things) ()

From Boing Boing Gadgets, check out this list of the ten best post-apocalyptic survival vehicles, complete with pictures. I can’t say I’m a fan of enormous, gas-guzzling machines of death, but they are certainly imaginative, and once the collapse comes, we will all do whatever we have to do. Some of them seem to be fictional, while others are far too real.

You can vote on which of the top ten is the ultimate post-apocalyptic survival vehicle. I’m endorsing the Sisu XA-185 — it’s the one I’d most want to have in a total chaos situation (assuming I could power it on a combination of sunshine and the blood of our fallen enemies). Other highlights include Wothahellizat and the Dobbertin Surface Orbiter.

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Eating Tofu In The End Times

January 8, 2008 at 12:46 pm (neat things) (, )

From Boing Boing, check out these tips for making your very own vegetarian survival kit

3. My basics for the car and work are canned beans and bean-based soups, tetrapak soup (Imagine), individual packs of soymilk, vegan (Clif) energy bars and crackers. SELECT LOW-SODIUM ITEMS, AS YOUR DIET MAY CONSIST ENTIRELY OF THESE FOODS. Since you may not have access to fresh fruit or vegetables for a while, also keep some vitamins or (my choice) Emergen-C packets on hand. I also keep a small bottle of spirits (vodka, brandy, etc.). Sometimes it’s just what you (or others) need to relax–and it can be used as an antiseptic.
4. Plenty of water.

Most of the information is just general disaster stuff, for hurricanes specifically, that apply to people across the food spectrum. Definitely worth a read.

The first list of suggestions (they’re sent in by readers) is called “Be ready for the Apocalypse.” As much as I never want to eat meat again, I’ve gotta say, if it’s really the end of the world, I don’t think I’ll be so picky.

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Laugh Or Cry?

January 7, 2008 at 11:57 pm (frightening things, funny things) (, )

Funny Pictures

I think both.

Simultaneously.

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The Ice Caps May Be Gone By 2012

December 14, 2007 at 3:34 pm (frightening things) (, )

Okay, everybody, I’m just going to come right out and say that Emily and I grew up in Santa Fe, NM. By which I mean that we’ve been steeped since early childhood in predictions that the world will end in 2012. End, or enter a entirely new era, with a radically different global consciousness. Not that either of us believes this stuff. Really.

On to the topic of this post. We last blogged about arctic melting projections less than five months ago. I repeat, less than five months. At that time, the forecast said the ice caps might be gone as soon as 2030. That number, less than 25 years away, was shocking and scary.

In case you haven’t heard yet, I am here to bring you the revised estimate (with a hit tip to our friend Anya): 2012.

2 0 1 2!

That’s in five years. FIVE. GAH.

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Edward Burtynsky and Manufactured Landscapes

December 7, 2007 at 12:25 am (amazing things, art, environment, frightening things, injustice, movies/video/clips) (, , , , , , )

Today in one of my classes we watched about 30 minutes of the film Manufactured Landscapes, a documentary about Edward Burtynsky and his photography, which exposes and explores globalized industry’s effects on the world’s environment. Both the movie and the images that inspired it are visually striking and emotionally haunting. This is definitely something I must see in its entirety. Disruptively upsetting, but mesmerizing and, in an almost perverse sense, beautiful.

(Not sure I’m completely on board with the “no right or wrong way to look at this” sentiment, but, okay.)

Another thing the film does well (at least in the small portion I’ve seen, and corroborated by a classmate’s post-viewing comments), intentionally or not, is to highlight the role played by economic superpowers (hint: US) and the necessitation of severely oppressive class exploitation for the current mode of industrial resource extraction and production to work (maybe that’s a “duh,” but the inescapable visual depiction really enforces and confirms that understanding).

Can’t go wrong with this one, I don’t think.

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“…kidnapping foreign citizens is permissable under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it.”

December 2, 2007 at 4:13 pm (frightening things, politics) (, , , )

This is a real headline: US says it has right to kidnap British citizens.

No, really, it’s not parody:

AMERICA has told Britain that it can “kidnap” British citizens if they are wanted for crimes in the United States.

A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it.

Until now it was commonly assumed that US law permitted kidnapping only in the “extraordinary rendition” of terrorist suspects.

The American government has for the first time made it clear in a British court that the law applies to anyone, British or otherwise, suspected of a crime by Washington.

No further comment, from me nor the US Justice Department.

Via Shakesville.

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