Archive | September 2012

Article I got published recently

Geoengineering involves modifying natural planetary systems and processes in order to combat climate change by addressing the difference between incoming and outgoing solar radiation (or radiative imbalance). It’s done either by reducing the incoming solar radiation, for instance by firing mirrors into space to divert sunlight, or by trapping CO2 and storing it in long-term reservoirs, such as by dumping minerals into the sea to encourage higher absorption rates of CO2.


The idea of geoengineering inspires in me the same level of queasiness and unease as the thought of consuming some unrecognisable slurry that has been at the back of the fridge for far too long for it to be acceptable. Perhaps that is an overstatement, but both geoengineering and nuclear energy share the accolade of being distrusted by my gut instinct, which I generally consider to be fairly accurate. Geoengineering deeply unnerves me, in much the same way that nuclear energy does; both concepts involve messing with something we don’t understand properly, like a kid sticking her finger in a plug socket. Tinkering with the environment in order to satisfy the public that enough is being done about climate change, whilst having very little idea of how the sensitive systems involved are going to react, or creating tons of nuclear waste that will take millions of years to degrade, seem much the same when such a high degree of scientific uncertainty is involved. It is particularly terrifying when the science behind it can be manipulated to justify changing very little about our lifestyles, and not tackling well-entrenched inequity on a national and international level.


On top of that, most of the proposals sound like something Magneto might try in order to screw with the Xmen – launching a field of mirrors into space? Pretending you are a volcano by spraying sulphur into the atmosphere? Building metal trees to absorb carbon? The list continues… The intentions are right – without a binding international agreement and drastic action on the part of developed countries to curb emissions growth, there is little hope of achieving reduction targets, and geoengineering appears to provide a solution. However, it is abundantly clear that there is no silver bullet and that the most realistic chance of change is incremental, and attitudinal. Not a very sexy answer, unfortunately – whereas shiny solutions that involve space travel and chemicals certainly are. There are definitely some ‘techno-fixes’ that seem defensible, such as painting roofs white. Impractical, implausible and pretty ineffectual, but missing the harmful side-effects that other strategies have; like tons of iron filings washing up on beaches along the Pacific due to poor understanding of ocean circulation.


At risk of sounding like a red top, in most circumstances, uncertainty wins out for me. However, this week experts have said that Arctic summer sea ice will have completely collapsed in four years, and have called again for drastic action to be taken on climate change. Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University outlined the need for a dual approach in an email to the Guardian; “we must not only urgently reduce CO2 emissions but must urgently examine other ways of slowing global warming, such as … various geoengineering ideas”. It is apparent that geoengineering has a place in the context of emissions reduction and curbing consumption, though it is necessity that has driven the scientific community thus far – had emissions cuts been made earlier, no doubt such dramatic steps would not have been needed. Were things not looking so bleak, I would rather be safe than sorry and steer away from tampering with what we don’t know, but it looks like soon we’re going to be very, very sorry, whatever happens.








Sound + Noise

Just a few weeks ago, an FBI task force raided a home* in Portland, Oregon very early in the morning. They broke down the front door with a battering ram and threw in a stun grenade, which is non-lethal but produces a very loud and disorienting noise and a blinding bright light. The team locked down the building and secured the sleepy, compliant occupants. The operation was one of several which also occurred in Olympia, WA and Seattle, WA, involving some 60-80 officers.

Just who were these dangerous criminals, these domestic terrorists whose threat level is so high that an FBI team with stun grenades, battering rams, and assault rifles needed to burst into their homes in the wee hours of the morning?

Why, it’s these two young folks,

Leah-Lynn Plante:

and Matt Duran:

Reportedly, the FBI search warrant was for black clothing, paint, sticks, computers and cell…

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jakes face

jakes face

I love this

A day late, but..

Santiago de Chile, 11 September 1973, 9:10 A.M.

This will surely be my last opportunity to address you. The Air Force has bombed the antennas of Radio Magallanes. My words have neither bitterness but disappointment. They should stand as a moral castigation of those who have been traitors to their oaths: Chilean soldiers, titular commanders-in-chief, Admiral Merino, who has designated himself commander of the Navy, even more señor Mendoza, the cringing general who only yesterday manifested his fidelity and loyalty to the Government, and who also has named himself Director General of the Carabineros. In the face of these deeds it only falls to me to say to the workers: I shall not resign!

Standing at a historic point, I will repay with my life the loyalty of the people. And I say to you that I am certain that the seed we have surrendered into the worthy conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans, will not be able to be reaped at one stroke. They have the power, they can make us their vassals, but not stop the social processes, neither by crime nor by force. History is ours and is made by the people.

Workers of my Nation: I want to thank you for the loyalty you have always had, the confidence you placed in a man who only was the interperter of great yearnings for justice, who pledged his word to respect the Constitution and the law, and who did so. In this final moment, the last in which I will be able to address myself to you, I want you to take advantage of the lesson: foreign capital, imperialism, united with reaction, created the climate for the Armed Forces to break their tradition, that which they were taught by general Schneider which was reaffirmed by commander Araya, victims of the same social sector that today will be be expecting with an alien hand to reconquer the power to continue defending their profits and their privileges.
I address myself to you, above all to the modest woman of our land, to the campesina who believed in us, the mother who knew of our concern for the children. I address myself to the professionals of the Nation, to the patriotic professionals who continued working against the sedition overseen by their professional academies, classist academies that also defended the advantages of a capitalist society.

I address myself to the youth, to those who sang and who brought their happiness and their spirit to the fight. I address myself to the man of Chile, to the worker, to the campesino, to the intellectual, to those who will be percecuted, because in our country fascism has now been present for several hours; in the terrorist assassinations, blowing up the bridges, cutting the railways, destroying the oil and gas pipelines, in the face of the silence of those who had the obligation to behave.

They are in jeopardy. History will judge them.

Radio Magallanes will surely be silenced and the tranquil metal of my voice will no longer reach you. It is not important. You will continue to hear it. I will always be together with you. At least my memory will be that of an upright man who was loyal to the Nation.

The people ought to defend themselves, but not sacrifice themselves. The people ought not let themselves be subdued or persecuted, but neither should they humble themselves.

Workers of my Nation, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will go beyond this gray and bitter moment when treason tries to impose itself upon us. Continue to know that, much sooner than later, we will reopen the great promenades down which free men pass, to construct a better society.

Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!

These are my last words and I have certainty that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I have certainty that, at the least, I will be a moral