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.”
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.”
These links are coming a day late, but as anticipated, it has been a very busy semester.
Nuclear and Environmental
Lizzie Wade, “Earth in 10,000 Years.”
John Metcalfe, “Imagining the Most Catastrophic Climate Future Ever.”
Steven Vogel, “Environmental Ethics in a Postnatural World.”
Chris Mooney, “Why Some Scientists Are Worried About a Surprisingly Cold ‘Blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean.”
Laurence Topham , Alok Jha and Will Franklin, “Building the Bomb.”
Ross Andersen, “Watching Nuclear War From Across the Galaxy.”
And a letter from Governor Jerry Brown.
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.”
The New York Times on the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
Paul Krugman, “Points of No Return.”
Eyder Peralta, “New Report Finds Climate Change Already Having Broad Impact.”
Gerry Canavan on “Dystopia, Anti-Utopia, and the End of the World.”
Peter Frase, “Adjusting to the Apocalypse.”
A very interesting piece at Jacobin reflecting on an analogy between abolitionists and environmentalists: Matt Karp, “A Second Civil War.”
Roger Peet, “A Radical Approach to the Climate Crisis.”
Martin Lukacs, “New, Privatized African City Heralds Climate Apartheid.”
Julie Beck on John Oliver’s “Statistically Representative Climate Change Debate.”
Saskia Sassen, “Countdown to Oblivion: The Real Reason We Can’t Stop Global Warming.”
Mike Wall, “To Combat Climate Change, Humanity Must Act Now, NASA Chief Says.”
Brad Plumer, “Five Horrifying Maps of America’s Massive Drought.”
And “Picture This: U.S. Cities Under 12 Feet of Sea Level Rise.” An example:
The Back Bay in Boston under 12 Feet of Sea Level Rise
But don’t fret, “This Couple is Making Roads Out of Solar Panels, and They Actually Work.”
And Michelle Nijhuis, “How to Laugh at Climate Change.”
Jacob Darwin Hamblin has an essay up on Salon titled, “We Tried to Weaponize the Weather.” He writes:
The years between the ﬁrst hydrogen bomb tests and the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963 saw more than just increased anxiety about the eﬀects of nuclear testing on weather. They also saw increased interest in large-scale, purposeful environmental modiﬁcation. Most climate modiﬁcation enthusiasts spoke of increasing global temperatures, in the hopes that this would increase the quantity of cultivated land and make for fairer weather. Some suggested blackening deserts or snowy areas, to increase absorption of radiation. Covering large areas with carbon dust, so the theory went, would raise temperatures. Alternatively, if several hydrogen bombs were exploded underwater, they might evaporate seawater and create an ice cloud that would block the escape of radiation. Meteorologist Harry Wexler had little patience for those who wanted to add weather and climate modiﬁcation to the set of tools in man’s possession. But by 1958 even he acknowledged that serious proposals for massive changes, using nuclear weapons as tools, were inevitable. Like most professional meteorologists, in the past he had dismissed the idea that hydrogen bombs had aﬀected the weather. But with the prospect of determined experiments designed to bring about such changes, he warned of “the unhappy situation of the cure being worse than the ailment.”
Oh the things we’re learning about the terrible ideas people had during the first nuclear age.
I’ve picked up the first three issues of The Manhattan Projects, written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by Nick Pitarra, and I am finding it absolutely delightful. The premise is pure alternate nuclear history joy: “What if the research and development department created to produce the first atomic bomb was a front for a series of other, more unusual, programs? What if the union of a generation’s brightest minds was not a signal for optimism, but foreboding? What if everything . . . went wrong?” (from the cover). Already in the first three issues, a insane Robert Oppenheimer suffers from multiple personality disorder, and gets to mow down killer Japanese samurai robots
Wernher von Braun has a robotic arm, Richard Feynman is a narcissistic pretty boy, Harry Daghlian is an irradiated skull, F.D.R. becomes the world’s first artificial intelligence (“We have nothing to fear but. . . ourselves” are his first posthuman words), and, as Chris Sims has pointed out in an early review, “Albert Einstein is The Manhattan Projects’ Wolverine. . . . Seriously: Einstein is the sensational character find of 2012.” (Wired also has a review and an interview with Hickman here.) And perhaps the least compelling aspect of the book so far is the end of its third issue, which reimagines Hiroshima in a darkly humorous fashion. I’m really looking forward to continue reading this.