Suburb of the future?

October 28th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

A new housing development in Brisbane, Australia promises to be one of the world’s most ecologically sustainable communities. Residents will generate their own energy from solar panels and sewage digesters, treat their own wastewater on site, and even grow some of their own food.

Adapting to catastrophe

October 24th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Diplomats are meeting right now in New Delhi to discuss global warming. They’re not talking about how to prevent it from happening; they’re talking about how to adjust to its effects. And an anonymous United States negotiator is pleased: “‘We’re welcoming a focus on more of a balance on adaptation versus mitigation,’ said a senior American negotiator in New Delhi. ‘You don’t have enough money to do everything.’”

Okay, let’s look at some of the predicted effects of global warming that we’ll have to “adapt” to. For starters, there’s the likelihood that harvests of wheat, rice, and corn will drop up to 30 percent. If starvation doesn’t worry you, perhaps property damage does. In addition to deforestation and mosquito infestations, Alaska has already suffered enormous property losses caused by the thawing of permafrost; houses in Fairbanks must be supported on jacks, and engineers worry that the Trans-Alaska Pipeline may become unstable.

As for the claim that mitigation is too expensive, I would note that in the United States, companies nearly always complain about costs when they’re told to implement new regulations. It does not appear that American capitalism has collapsed as a result. (If that’s too flip for you, I’ll offer an example: Would it really bankrupt American car companies if they were forced to improve the abysmal fuel economy of sports utility vehicles?)

My hope is that it’s not too late to prevent massive, worldwide disaster. Just in case, though, I’m stocking up on shorts, T-shirts, and plenty of Soylent Green.

The time will come

October 21st, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Oh my God, this is the coolest thing ever: Someone took a 1988 Macintosh SE and a 1923 Underwood typewriter and combined them into the ElectriClerk, a hybrid office monstrosity inspired by the machines that clerks used in the movie Brazil. The guy even created fake advertisements for the ElectriClerk. This is just gorgeous.

Making the world safe for plutocracy

October 20th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

In today’s New York Times Magazine, Paul Krugman weighs in with an insightful article about America’s growing gap between the rich and the poor. Krugman makes a convincing argument that the country has entered another Gilded Age. For example, in 1998, according to Krugman, “the 13,000 richest families in America had almost as much income as the 20 million poorest households; those 13,000 families had incomes 300 times that of average families.”

Incidentally, you can use “pinchydotorg” as the login and password for the New York Times Web site.

Why I am not a diplomat

October 19th, 2002 § Two comments § permalink

The United Nations would probably be more popular if it portrayed itself as a bunch of lovable screw-ups who always save the day at the last minute. You know, kind of like the cops from Car 54, Where Are You? The U.N. could even adapt the show’s theme song:

There’s a tyrant in Iraq
North Korea’s got the bomb
Hamid Karzai sees resurgences of radical Islam
Dubya’s theories are unsound
Cheney’s hiding underground
Kofi Annan, where are you?

Kitsch alert

October 18th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Halloween is coming soon, so I’ll post the scariest thing I’ve seen all week: William Shatner performing the Elton John classic “Rocketman.” Is there any public humiliation that Shatner will not endure?

Global politics roundup

October 17th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Okay, let me see if I have this straight:

North Korea, one of the countries on President Bush’s “axis of evil,” has admitted that it’s developing nuclear weapons. It may already have them. At least one American official has been told that they “have more powerful things as well,” which I suppose would be chemical or biological weapons, or some sort of enormous death ray, although that seems less likely.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to prepare for an invasion of Iraq, based on a presumption that it might be trying to develop nuclear weapons and could still have stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. The United Nations is still not particularly interested in backing the U.S.; nonetheless, Bush, a self-described “patient man,” says that he may only be able to wait for a few weeks before invading Iraq, in defiance of international law.

So, um, that means we have to invade and occupy North Korea too, right? Are we toppling regimes alphabetically by country, or should we just invade every continent all at once?

Cold weather returns

October 14th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

If anyone needs me, I’ll be curled up on my bed with a blanket, a book, and a hot cup of tea, listening to Kings of Convenience and smiling.

Remind Me

October 14th, 2002 § One comment § permalink

Apparently I’m a bit late to catch on to this, but the video for the R√∂yksopp song “Remind Me” is brilliant. I’m looking forward to the United States release of their CD.

Hey, it’s being released tomorrow! Woo-hoo!

Dilemma

October 13th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Every action murders a thousand possibilities.

Where am I?

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