Notes from the Anthropocene: Insuring the Apocalypse and Other Links

Nuclear

More adventures in nuclear incompetence: Lily Hay Newman, “Air Force Security Failed a Takeover Drill at a Nuclear Silo.”

 

Climate Change, Catastrophe, and the Anthropocene

We’re doomed. “A Galaxy Far, Far Away . . . Will Hit Ours.”

Lindsay Abrams, “Researchers: The Collapse of Greenland’s Ice Sheet Could Be a Bigger Disaster Than We Thought.”

Ari Phillips, “In Landmark Class Action, Farmers Insurance Sues Local Government for Ignoring Climate Change.” Is that what we need? For the insurance companies to get involved?

Yes. McKenzie Funk, “Insuring the Apocalypse.”

Paul Krugman, “Cutting Back on Carbon.”

On the flooding in the Balkans.

Everything is the worst: Ryan Koronowski, “House Votes to Deny Climate Science and Ties Pentagon’s Hands on Climate Change.”

And scientists agree, we should just start calling climate change “You will be burnt to a crisp and die.”

Continue reading

A Miscellaneous Group of Not Very Doomy Links

Surveillance, consent, networks, numbers, the hyperarchival condition of the contemporary: Natasha Lennard writes “Of Being Numerous” for The New Inquiry.

This doesn’t seem like reading at all: the new “speed reading app.”

Rebecca Stoner in The Daily Sophist: “What’s Love Got to Do with Anything? DFW Biographer D.T. Max Speaks on Campus.”

“A Game is Being Beaten” by Leigh Alexander at The New Inquiry: “The trend in video game design is to comment on violence by asking players to perform violence. But could there be pleasure in performing consent?”

“How Benjamin Kunkel Went from Novelist to Marxist Public Intellectual” by David Wallace-Wells at Vulture.

Between Two Ferns: The Selling of the President, 2014.”

A very interesting forthcoming issue of Critical Inquiry.

A(nother) soundtrack for the apocalypse. Track 1 seems especially doomy. (Thanks Michael.)

My good friend Ryan Pierson on The Lego Movie: “On the Nonessential Beauty of Legos.”

And because I saw it yesterday and enjoyed it (though I am a bit confounded by this fact), another: Andrew O’hehir for Salon: The Lego Movie: Plastic Blocks Fight for Freedom!”

German philosophers play Monopoly. (I wonder what would happen if they got a game of Risk [The Game of Ruining Friendships] going.)

And sad news in hyperarchival realism. Google is redoing its Street View for many places in Pittsburgh, and thus Ben Kinsley and Robin Hewlett’s wonderful Street With a View is going away. (Right now it goes from a marching band in the rain to a deserted, sunny street. Uncanny.) Ah, the transitory internet–perhaps it isn’t an archive at all, for really, how do we archive the present in the present. . . .

A short film on Street With a View:

Eco-Disaster and Surveillance, Some Links

So some articles of interest.

At Jacobin, Alyssa Battistoni has followed up her piece on disaster in the wake of Hurricane Sandy with “Back to No Future,” a pretty bleak essay on environmental change and the (lack of a) future.

Jeff Goodel has a piece in Rolling Stone“Goodbye, Miami,” about what (now inevitably) rising sea-levels will do to Miami.

And here’s a number of links re: the ongoing NSA drama.

Philip Bump has reported at The Atlantic Wire that the US has filed espionage charges against Edward Snowden.

Naomi Wolf raises a number of questions about Snowden, and then raises some more.

Falguina A. Sheth writes for Salon, “Snowden’s Real Crime: Humiliating the State.”

And Michael McCanne has a very interesting essay, “Total Information Awareness,” at The New Inquiry.

And linking ecological disaster and surveillance together, Nafeez Ahmed wrote a piece for The Guardian, “Pentagon Bracing for Public Dissent Over Climate and Energy Shocks.”

Weaponizing the Weather

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.