In the past few years, science has lurched closer to envisioning habitable Mars, though at the moment estimates for creating breathable oxygen range from hundreds to 100,000 years in the future, the soil is currently toxic to astronauts, and travel is so unwieldy that scientists have proposed "printing" humans on Mars. Meanwhile, I wondered why not make Earth's increasingly inhospitable deserts greener.[more inside]
Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
Andy Grove on Our Electric Future - "Energy independence [viz.] is the wrong goal. Here is a plan Americans can stick to." Perhaps some infrastructure spending1,2 is in order? [etc., &c., cf.] [more inside]
vivoleum ExxonMobil has hit upon a novel and renewable source of fuel "Attendees paid 50 dollars a head to hear a speech from the National Petroleum Council, a group that also advises the White House on oil and gas matters. It was rumoured a new joint energy policy from the Canadian and American governments was coming."
To hear Rupert Murdoch's newspaper The Australian tell it, "Science" is now tempering its claims about the urgency of Global Warming. Arts and Letters Daily goes even further, declaring a "Catastrophe Postponed" on its front page. But a closer look at the meager factual content of The Australian article (as opposed to the specious inferences and dramatic allusions to "leaked IPCC documents") suggests that, in fact, "Science" has just gotten more specific about its Global Warming claims, and the real situation remains as urgent as ever if we continue on our current track. Meanwhile, in tangentially related news, Chevron is reporting a massive new oil find in the Gulf of Mexico. Not to imply any kind of conspiracy here (since, you know, "Science" has proven that actual conspiracies are an urban myth).
Zeitgeistfilter: Lumpen Leisure and Welcome to Middle-Class Lockdown... Now Shut Up and Buy Something -- two fine rants about our current state of disunion by James Howard Kuntsler, author of The Long Emergency (excerpt), and writer and Vietnam vet Joe Bageant. "All over but the keening for our soon-to-be-lost machine world," Kunstler predicts in The American Conservative, while Bageant taps the inner stream-of-unconsciousness for Dissident Voice: "Things cannot be as bad as the alarmists say. They cannot be as bad as I often suspect they are. If there really were such a thing as global warming they would be starting to do something about it. And besides, even if it were true, science will find a way to fix it. If there really were genocide going on in so many places far more people would be concerned... If the earth were heating up we would surely notice it. If our soldiers and government agencies were torturing people around the world it would make the news. If millions were being exterminated, it would be more obvious, would it not?" (Kunstler's book previously discussed here, Bageant here.)
Global warming -- the upside: the entrepreneurs poised to make millions from new ports and shipping lanes in the formerly ice-bound Arctic circle. A fascinating New York Times article on the international land-grab following the news (reported here, discussed here, whitewashed here, et. al.) that the polar ice caps and Siberian permafrost are melting. Goodbye Gulf Stream, hello Club Med Santa-style -- first SUV to the North Pole wins!
Running on Fumes -- a fascinating essay by the Nation's Sasha Abramsky on what rising gas prices will do to poor exurban communities.
mother earth fights back "Global warming, which most climate experts blame mainly on large-scale burning of oil and other fossil fuels, is interfering with efforts in Alaska to discover yet more oil." via dangerousmeta and " It’s so hot windshields are shattering or falling out, dogs are burning their paws on the pavement, and candles are melting indoors." - are the naysayers ready to get on board? and start acting like good global citizens?