Daily archives: January 11, 2011

links for 2011-01-11

  • Officers found a Glock 9mm pistol, another 9mm handgun, a pump-action shotgun and a fully-automatic rifle, along with ammunition, at a house on Burbage Road in Wythenshawe.

    They also found a large cannabis farm.

  • All I’m saying is that whilst Phillip Hammond and his ilk insist on playing the victim mentality card with overblown rhetoric, we might as well go mad and have fun with language to trump the stupidity of what is being stated by those in power.
  • How did a bunch of lifeless molecules transform themselves into living cells, turning the ancient, dead Earth into a planet teeming with life? It's an incredibly difficult question to answer, but a new model might explain part of the story.

    Before you can have life, complex organic molecules have to start replicating themselves in much the same way that cells reproduce. Molecules that can replicate themselves using only the chemicals around them are what we might call "protocells", a key transitional stage between a fully lifeless world and one dominated by living cells.

    (tags: life)

Thinking about the future or wanting to fail. It should be an easy choice 4

The Forum for the Future has done a study called Megacities on the Move. There’s a booklet detailing their methods (pdf document, I haven’t read all of it yet) and a series of simple animations, each detailing one of their four scenarios. None of the scenarios is a prescription, indeed at least two of them are outcomes to be avoided. As they say themselves-

Forum for the Future’s scenarios are not predictions or depictions of desirable futures which we wish to promote, and they do not represent our vision of a sustainable future. They are pictures of different possible futures, designed to help people understand the major trends that are shaping our world. They aim to challenge, inspire and excite, so that people feel motivated to plan for a better, more sustainable future.

The whole exercise, above all else, is designed to make people think.

Except, of course, some people don’t like thinking. Some people would rather photoshop green swastika armbands onto zombie Nazis and imagine it makes them clever. The denial brigade have latched onto one of the scenarios, Planned-opolis, and are trying to convince themselves that this undesirable outcome is what Forum for the Future are saying should happen.

Megacities on the move – Planned-opolis from Forum for the Future on Vimeo.

They wilfully ignore the existence of three other videos, including the one called Renew-abad, which has a more positive, and fairer, vision-

Megacities on the move – Renew-abad from Forum for the Future on Vimeo.

They also ignore the fact that these are ideas, not plans. They’re busy demanding that we do what they tell us to do- in this case, take a hit from their opiate and await the coming apocalypse and judgement like good sheep- and they can’t abide that others want to think about solving our problems. The denial brigade aren’t all driven by a hate filled misreading of their religion, but they do all want us to sit back and do nothing whilst things get worse. Thankfully I don’t have their negative vision of people. I think we can solve some of the problems we’ve created and mitigate the harm from the others. I’ve even done a bit of Green prediction in Sounds of Soldiers and my recent short story Mia in the Snow.

Climate change denial relies on people betting on increasingly long odds that the science, and the ever growing evidence, is somehow wrong. They want us all to gamble on a hundreds to one shot rather than the odds on favourite. And they want us to do it even though we’ll be worse off even if they are right and we do what they want. Even if anthropogenic climate change isn’t happening, everything we do to mitigate it will make the world a better place. If burning oil and releasing all that CO2 somehow isn’t having an effect on the climate, we’re still going to run out of fossil fuels and the sooner we start planning for a post oil planet the better the transition will be. Even if cutting our carbon footprints doesn’t do anything to the bigger picture, the money we save is doing more for us in our own bank accounts than it ever could if it went to energy companies or the taxman. If we improve our quality of life, and that of those around us, it won’t matter why we do it.

Work for a better future, or plan to let things get worse? I know which one I’m doing.