End of the Semester Links, Fall 2017

It’s been a fun, eventful, interesting, and, of course, busy first semester at Hartwick College. Everything else, however, is quite dark. Some links.

Nuclear and Environmental

US Global Change Research Program, “Climate Science Special Report.”

Tim Collins, “The Chance of ‘Catastrophic’ Climate Change Completely Wiping Out Humanity by 2100 Is Now 1-in-20.”

Damian Carrington, “Warning of ‘Ecological Armageddon’ after Dramatic Plunge in Insect Numbers.”

Ariel Norfman, “Nuclear Apocalypse Now?”

Elizabeth Kolbert, “Going Negative: Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World?”

Mike Davis, “Nuclear Imperialism and Extended Deterrence.”

Neena Satija,  Kiah Collier, Al Shaw, and Jeff Larson, “Hell or High Water.”

Democracy Now, “As Catastrophic Flooding Hits Houston, Fears Grow of Pollution from Oil Refineries & Superfund Sites.”

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End of the Semester Links, Spring 2017

It’s been a long year, long for many reasons, but here’s a backlog of some links. (Some very good news is imminent. . . .)

 

Nuclear and Environmental

New York Times Editorial Board, “The Finger on the Nuclear Button.”

Rebecca Savranksy, “US May Launch Strike if North Korea Moves to Test Nuclear Weapon.”

Kaveh Waddell, “What Happens if a Nuclear Bomb Goes Off in Manhattan.”

Radiolab, “Nukes.”

Laurel Wamsley, “Digitization Unearths New Data From Cold War-Era Nuclear Test Films.”

Michael Biesecker and John Flesher, “President Trump Institutes Media Blackout at EPA.”

Brian Kahn, “The EPA Has Started to Remove Obama-Era Information.”

Zoë Schlanger, “Hackers Downloaded US Government Climate Data and Stored It on European Servers as Trump Was Being Inaugurated.”

Cass R. Sunstein, “Making Sense of Trump’s Order on Climate Change.”

Laurie Penny, “The Slow Confiscation of Everything.”

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Disaster Capitalism & Sandy

Thanks to R. for drawing my attention to Andrew Martin’s article, “Hurricane Sandy and the Disaster Preparedness Economy,” in Saturday’s New York Times that details yet another example of what Naomi Klein calls “disaster capitalism” (though this is admittedly a bit different than, say, Iraq or Chile . . .) in her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine. An excerpt:

It’s all part of what you might call the Mad Max Economy, a multibillion-dollar-a-year collection of industries that thrive when things get really, really bad. Weather radios, kerosene heaters, D batteries, candles, industrial fans for drying soggy homes — all are scarce and coveted in the gloomy aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and her ilk.

It didn’t start with the last few hurricanes, either. Modern Mad Max capitalism has been around a while, decades even, growing out of something like old-fashioned self-reliance, political beliefs and post-Apocalyptic visions. The cold war may have been the start, when schoolchildren dove under desks and ordinary citizens dug bomb shelters out back. But economic fears, as well as worries about climate change and an unreliable electronic grid have all fed it.

The Apocalypse: Greatest Business Opportunity EVER

I’ll probably be writing something up about Lee Konstantinou’s recent Pop Apocalypse (New York: Ecco, 2009), but I cannot pass up posting this fantastic passage, in all of it’s self-conscious Bond-villain glory:

“Stan seems suddenly bored with Eliot.  ‘Well, okay, I don’t have a lot of time, but here’s the elevator-talk version.  Given the current geopolitical situation, the Apocalypse I just outlined to you will happen, one way or another.  This year, next year, whenever.  Take that as a given.  If it happens by accident or is initiated by people who do not claim their intellectual property rights, then the world will just get nuked and no one will make a cent off the whole thing.  Now, if some person or group figures out that there’s money to be made off the destruction of the world, then that person or group will be within reach of an unprecedented business opportunity.  Again, given the geopolitics of the matter, this is really low-hanging fruit.

“‘It is, therefore, immoral not to take advantage of this knowledge, because if the end of the world doesn’t come about by accident, then some other, more malicious group will take advantage of this knowledge.  On behalf of our investors, we’re obligated to take every step we can to ensure that we corner the Apocalypse market before anyone else does.  And we’re prepared to use part of our profit, after dividends are paid out, in a very charitable way.  We’re not only going to be the most profitable corporation in history but also the greatest philanthropists the world has ever known.  As good corporate citizens, we have an obligation to the whole world community.  We’ll help rebuild things, pick up the pieces of our sad and broken world.  Make sure these kinds of unstable geopolitical situations can’t happen again'” (180).

Pure, unalloyed, disaster capitalism gold.