It has been a very busy past few months, and my links have suffered. But spring break has provided some lovely, unencumbered time, so here are many, many links (futilely) attempting to catch up with what’s been happening in the world. (In the interest of space, I’ve also passed over some of the more visible recent stories.)
Nuclear and Environmental
Paul Krugman, “Republicans’ Climate Change Denial Denial.”
Democracy Now, “Naomi Klein on Paris Summit: Leaders’ Inaction on Climate Crisis Is ‘Violence” Against the Planet.”
Adrienne LaFrance, “The Chilling Regularity of Mass Extinctions.”
Isabelle Stengers, In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism.
Sebastian Anthony, “Scientists Discover an Ocean 400 Miles Beneath Our Feet that Could Fill Our Oceans Three Times Over.”
Kylie Mohr, “Apocalypse Chow: We Tried Televangelist Jim Bakker’s ‘Survival Food.'”
Alex Trembath, “Are You and Upwinger or a Downwinger?”
Eric Bradner, “Newly Released Documents Reveal US Cold War Nuclear Target List.”
Now that the semester is starting, I will have less time to read things on the internet. So here’s one last link dump for the summer.
Nuclear and Environment
Maria Temming, “Geoengineering Won’t Save Us: Why It Can’t Halt the Effects of Climage Change by Itself.”
Claire L. Evans, “Climate Change Is so Dire We Need a New Kind of Science Fiction to Change It.”
Alan Taylor, “A World without People.”
Bill McKibben, “The Pope and the Planet.”
Mark Soderstrom, “Unequal Universes.”
And Kenneth Chang, “World Will not End Next Month, NASA Says.”
Brandon Shimoda, ed., The Volta, no. 56, and April Naoko Heck, “Dispatch from Hiroshima.”
Sam Stein, “July Was The Hottest Month Ever; Cable News Barely Noticed.”
As predicted, I have been quite busy indeed and have not had a chance to post anything over the past couple of weeks. A bunch of fascinating stuff has been happening, a bunch of interesting books are coming out, etc., so I’m sad that I’ve been remiss in my duties. Hopefully this large batch of links will make up for that.
Apocalypse and After
George Dvorsky, “Have Humans Already Conquered the Threat of Extinction?”
Or not. Graham Turner and Cathy Alexander, “Limits to Growth Was Right: New Research Shows We’re Nearing Collapse.”
One of the first reviews of Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.
Jessica Corbett and Ethan Corey, “5 Crucial Lessons for the Left from Naomi Klein’s New Book.”
Eric Holthaus, “New Study Links Polar Vortex to Climate Change.”
Eugene Thacker on Radiolab.
And who knows where to put this one: Alison Flood, “Margaret Atwood’s New Work Will Remain Unseen for a Century.”
David Hancock Turner has an interesting reflection on Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy for Jacobin, titled “After the Flood.” He writes:
Atwood seems to intuit this and her emphasis on prefigurative forms of resistance only seems like a natural response to an overweening corporate dystopia. When the dream of revolutionary transformations seems so distant, why not at least have a taste of utopia in this world rather than toil amidst a rotten society and its artificial politics? Or does the workplace nevertheless remain the fundamental space of struggle, although now too removed or amorphous for us to recognize and rejuvenate its logic?
And what does it mean if Atwood transforms revolutionary praxis from labor activism into sabotage from the elite workers coupled with a strategy of refusal by an eclectic grouping of transients — two tactics we have recently witnessed in our own American society? The apocalypse that inhabits so much of our contemporary imagination is a signifier that the revolution and its classical preconditions are perhaps too difficult to dream.
And here’s an older review by Ursula K. Le Guin of The Year of the Flood (2009) in The Guardian.
My good friend, sculptor Taylor Baldwin, has a great write-up in Beautiful Decay, “Taylor Baldwin’s Assembled Madness.” A sample of his work, a couple of my favorite pieces.
Taylor Baldwin, The Interpreter (2010).
Taylor Baldwin, US Infantry Camel Corps (Feat. Emma Lazarus) (2007)
The Atlantic reports that “LOL and/or Lol! The Internet Has Style Guide Now: Sort Of.” Here’s the style guide at BuzzFeed.
Recent reports on the mega-text: “What You Learn About Tech from Watching all 456 Law and Order Episodes,” by Rebecca J. Rosen for The Atlantic.
And my friend Carolyn Kellogg reports that “Younger Book Dealers are Diving into the Antiquarian Trade” for The Los Angeles Times.
I have been relatively inactive on the blog the past few months, and a number of interesting things have happened or been reported. So to celebrate the end of 2013—what I think could easily be called the Year of the National Security Agency, a year that saw perhaps a decisive shift toward the world Dave Eggers recently imagined in The Circle (2013)—I have posted a number of links on recent stories involving the NSA and the national security state below. To address other stories I have neglected over the past few months, I will be posting more general links tomorrow.
A few days ago, Adam Liptak and Michael S. Schmidt reported for The New York Times that, “A federal judge [William H. Pauley III . . .] ruled that a National Security Agency program that collects enormous troves of phone records is legal, making the latest contribution to an extraordinary debate among courts and a presidential review group about how to balance security and privacy in the era of big data.” This comes only eleven days after a ruling issued on 16 December 2013 “by Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington, who ruled that the program was ‘almost Orwellian’ and probably unconstitutional.” This latter story was reported by Ellen Nakashima and Ann E. Marimow on 16 December 2013 in The Washington Post. Amy Davidson has written two fairly interesting and incisive pieces for The New Yorker analyzing each ruling: “Judge Pauley to the NSA: Go Big” and “The Domino’s Hypothetical: Judge Leon Vs. the NSA.” (The New Yorker actually has a number of articles addressing the NSA.)
In August the White House commissioned an independent report on the National Security Agency’s activities, and the report, Liberty and Security in a Changing World: Report and Recommendations of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies (the link is to the actual 304-page report), was issued on 12 December 2013. Michael Morell, one of the report’s authors, has written an opinion piece in The Washington Post, “Correcting the Record on the NSA Report.” And John Cassidy has an article in The New Yorker on the report, “Inside the White House NSA Report: The Good and the Bad.”
Just wrote a review for Margaret Atwood’s new novel, The Year of the Flood, more-or-less a sequel to her excellent Oryx and Crake. Check it out here.