Its been a couple weeks since I’ve posted any links, so there’s a bunch of stuff here.
Disaster, Nuclear, Environment, and Deep Futures
John Oliver on America’s Insecure Nuclear Arsenal.
Willie Osterweil, “The End of the World as We Know It.” On the reactionary politics in ancient apocalypse films.
Josh Marshall, “Disaster Porn, For Once for Real.”
Ross Andersen, “When We Peer Into the Fog of the Deep Future What Do We See–Human Extinction or a Future Among the Stars?”
Radical eco-nihilism. Wen Stephenson, “‘I Withdraw’: A Talk with Climate Defeatist Paul Kingsnorth.”
Paul Kingsnorth, “Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist.”
Mark Strauss, “Space Junk Is Becoming a Serious Security Threat.”
Robert T. Gonzalez, “Bad News: Scientists Have Measured 16-Foot Waves in the Arctic Ocean.”
Nadia Prupis, “‘There Will Be No Water’ by 2040? Researchers Urge Global Energy Paradigm Shift.”
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).
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.
I have refrained from posting about Syria and the US sabre-rattling in response to chemical weapons attacks both because it would probably be hard to miss in the news and because the situation seems a bit too complex to treat in either a short post or by posting a number of links. But it looks like the US, Russia, and Syria have reached a diplomatic solution, at least according to the BBC. I am a bit surprised and considerably relieved to hear this. Having come of age during the 2000s, I thought such middle-of-the-road compromises, whether between the US and other nations, or within the US gov’t itself, were patently impossible. Obviously this is more complicated than being a simple “solution,” but man, it doesn’t sound like the US will be dropping bombs after announcing that it would/might in this instance, and that is certainly something new in my adult life.
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. . . .