July 2015 Links

In addition to the release of The Rocking Chair by Blue Sketch Press on 1 August 2015, and “Poetics of Control,” my recent review of Alexander R. Galloway’s The Interface Effect (2012), I’ve completed a number of exciting projects over the last three months, so be on the lookout for a couple essays, another review, an interview, and more poems in 2015 and 2016. For now, however, some links have been piling up over this historic month.


US Politics

Adam Liptak, “Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide.”

David M. Perry, “A New Right Grounded in the Long History of Marriage.”

Transcript: Obama delivers eulogy for Charleston pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.

Claudia Rankine, “‘The Condition of Black Life Is One of Mourning.'”

Emma Green, “Black Churches Are Burning Again in America.”

The Editorial Board of The New York Times, “Take Down the Confederate Flag, Symbol of Hatred.”

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Many April Links: Catching Up

Another semester is coming to a close, and I finally have a chance to sit down and sort through the backlog of links that have been piling up over the past few months. So, with no further ado, links.


Nuclear, Environment, Ruins

Thomas Erdbrink, “Iran’s Leaders Fall Into Line Behind Nuclear Accord.”

William J. Broad, “Hydrogen Bomb Physicist’s Book Runs Afoul of Energy Department.”

John R. Bolton, “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” Um, no.

Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith, “South African Nuclear Cache Unnerves US.”

“South Africa Rebuffs US Attempts to Take Over Its Nuclear Material.”

Jon Greenberg, “The Odd Reality of Iran’s Centrifuges: Enough for a Bomb, Not Power.”

Charlie Jane Anders, “Nanotech Could Make Nuclear Bombs Much, Much Tinier.”

Andreas Malm, “The Anthropocene Myth.”

99% Invisible, “Ten Thousand Years.”

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Big News in Science and Other Links


The first evidence for cosmic inflation–i.e., the Big Bang–was discovered this week.

Megan Garber at The Atlantic, “What It’s Like to be Right About the Big Bang?”

The search for Flight MH370 is revealing one thing: the ocean is filled with garbage.

Kim Stanley Robinson alert: Paul Rosenfeld, “Would You Take a One-Way Ticket to Mars?”

And as part of his forthcoming 3 million page novel, Breeze Avenue (2015), Richard Grossman has buried a crystal ball deep inside of Princeton Mountain in Colorado. The ball, “made of synthetic sapphire, which is almost as indestructible as diamond,” has the Ten Commandments inscribed on it in Hebrew, and in “20 million years, as a result of natural forces carefully calculated by the geologists, the Torah Ball will emerge from its eroded resting place and bear the Ten Commandments down the mountain.” Hyperarchivalists of the deep future rejoice!

Richard Grossman, The Torah Ball (Synthetic Sapphire, Princeton Mountain, 20 Million Years of Erosion, 2011).

Richard Grossman, The Torah Ball (Synthetic Sapphire, Princeton Mountain, 20 Million Years of Erosion, 2011).

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End of the Year Links

As I have been lax in posting things, yesterday I posted a bunch of links on recent stories regarding the NSA. Today I’m posting links of more general interest. I’ve tried to organize them by category.



The biggest story I have not had time to address were the diplomatic talks regarding Iran’s nuclear program. So here are some links to that.

On 5 November 2013 Reuters reported that Iran, Israel, and Middle East countries “took part in a meeting two weeks ago about prospects for an international conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East.”

Temporary nuclear pact.

UN nuclear inspectors in Iran.

“Iran, from Enemy to Ally.”

Right on the verge of a nuclear agreement, perhaps the biggest event in nuclear nonproliferation in my lifetime, Bob Mendez fights Obama on imposing new sanctions on Iran, as do fifteen other democrats. More here.

Though from today: progress in nuclear talks.

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Unsettling at Best

Yesterday Thom Shanker and Rick Gladstone reported in The New York Times that “Iran Fired on Military Drone in First Such Attack, U.S. Says.” This occurred five days before the election, and was only talked about by the Defense Department after news organizations had broken the story. Shanker and Gladstone write: “the failure to disclose a hostile encounter with Iran’s military at a time of increased international tensions over the disputed Iranian nuclear program — and five days before the American presidential election — raises questions for the Obama administration. Had the Iranian attack been disclosed before Election Day, it is likely to have been viewed in a political context — interpreted either as sign of the administration’s weakness or, conversely, as an opportunity for President Obama to demonstrate leadership.” Nuclear worries don’t cease just b/c the election is over. . . .

Oh How Things Have Changed in the Second Nuclear Age

Unsurprisingly, last night’s final Presidential Debate on foreign policy seemed to show Romney concerned w/ only one thing: not letting Iran produce a nuclear weapon (and how many nuclear weapons Pakistan already has). This makes how nuclear policy was discussed in 1984 and 1988 all the more striking in contrast. Heck, thought I’d post the whole weird thing below. (Also, I think Mark Shields’s observation that neither candidate mentioned, Idk, Europe, or India, or Africa, or really anywhere else . . . must give one pause.)

In More Contemporary Nuclear News (and Other Stuff)

Helene Cooper and Mark Landler reported in The New York Times yesterday that, “The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.” Pretty interesting, esp. coming right before the debate, and that “Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election [. . .] telling their American counterparts that they want to know with whom they would be negotiating.” Yet another chink of armor for President Obama’s foreign policy CV? A cynical move for tomorrow night’s debate? Very, very interesting.

A truly horrifying group of images from the strip mining of Canada’s Tar Sands. A sample:

And a whole class being taught on David Foster Wallace at the John Adams Institute in Amsterdam. (Also, thought I’d relink to this class on DFW taught by Kathleen Fitzpatrick at Pomona College in the Spring of 2009.)

The New Proliferation: Cyber Weapons; or, the Internet is Tubes, its Tubes!

Thanks to Racheal for drawing my attention to the following things. The first is an article from yesterday’s New York Times about the US use of cyberweapons, the virus attacks on an Iranian nuclear facility, and the spiraling proliferation of the militarized internet. Misha Glenny writes in “A Weapon we Can’t Control,” in what sounds very much like digital-nuke-speak rhetoric and quickly maps onto digital destruction rhetoric:

During the cold war, countries’ chief assets were missiles with nuclear warheads. Generally their number and location was common knowledge, as was the damage they could inflict and how long it would take them to inflict it.

Advanced cyberwar is different: a country’s assets lie as much in the weaknesses of enemy computer defenses as in the power of the weapons it possesses. So in order to assess one’s own capability, there is a strong temptation to penetrate the enemy’s systems before a conflict erupts. It is no good trying to hit them once hostilities have broken out; they will be prepared and there’s a risk that they already will have infected your systems. Once the logic of cyberwarfare takes hold, it is worryingly pre-emptive and can lead to the uncontrolled spread of malware.

Hyperarchival parallax indeed.

And Dwight Garner has an interesting review, “He Has Seen the Internet, and it is Us,” of Tubes by Andrew Blum.