Saturday salmagundi

• The official souvenir program for the inauguration of William McKinley in 1901 included an almost-steampunk imagining of the inauguration of 2001.

At the close of his address, President Barrington was escorted to the Mansion of the States by the Governors of the 118 States and 99 Territories. Here a great banquet was spread in the main hall, covers being laid for 25,000 persons. All of the Government officials and the heads of the Army and Navy were present, and many notable addresses were delivered through the phonelegraph.

Click through to read that whole program — it’s fantastic, like something out of a short story by Jay Lake.

• And speaking of Jay Lake, the Acts of Whimsy fundraiser for his cancer treatment is a thing of beauty.

Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll, seems to be borrowing from Neil Gaiman. Newport’s new book is called God Is Alive and Well, by which he means that polling shows that belief in God is alive and well. The idea suggested by Newport’s title seems to follow the conceit of Gaiman’s American Gods, in which the strength and survival of the gods depends on the depth and number of adherents to their respective religions.

It’s a very cool idea as the premise for a fantastical, speculative novel (or an HBO series). It’s a very strange idea for a pollster or a student of religion.

• The fabulous ministry of The Reverend Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes.

• “Wilson and Krause encountered a pod of whales, made up of several adults and calves, that had apparently adopted an unlikely non-whale companion to join their clan — a deformed bottlenose dolphin.” They have pictures.

• “How to Start a Revolution.” Gene Sharp, now 85 years old, is the most dangerous man in the world.

• I’m looking at these lists of the “top 10 most psychopathic professions” and “top 10 least psychopathic professions” and thinking maybe they help to bolster my longstanding argument that journalists should be craftspeople rather than professionals. (They list “craftsperson” as a “profession,” though, so it seems either they or I have some misconceptions about those words.)

Angry, stupid white people on Twitter.

• The US government is “an insurance company with an army.” — Peter Fisher, undersecretary of the Treasury, in 2002.

• Religious right radio: Labor unions must be stopped because abortion and gays.

• More “gracious and cordial” Christians making up nasty stuff about gay people. I guess once you embrace the idea of Lying for a Good Cause, then it starts to seem like the more outrageous and vicious those lies are, the more virtuous you are for telling them. Or something.

• Here’s a map and diagram of what the NRA wants American elementary schools to look like. (Actually it’s a diagram of “The Citadel” — a heavily armed Randian utopia intended for somewhere in Idaho.)

• How good is Paul Bibeau’s Goblinbooks blog? So good that posts with titles like “A Message to the NRA From a Guy With a Duffel Bag of Guns” and “A Message to the Tea Party From a Guy Who Urinated on a Power Line” live up to those headlines with pitch-perfect panache.

Ric Alba:

Everyone has the drive to be known and loved. During the ’80s I couldn’t let myself feel the love so much, because I felt I wasn’t letting people know the real me. When you’re delivering to friends and fans, someone other than your true self, it’s nearly impossible to absorb the love people send you. It always feels like it was meant for someone else, and that you’re taking love under false pretenses.

Jodie Foster:

I want to be seen, to be understood deeply, and to be not so very lonely.

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Chapter and verse
  • Rachel

    I like the road with lightning image you used.  What’s the source?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It looks like it’s from the beginning-of-movie or end-of-movie trailer for one of the major movie studios?

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    It looks like: Bruckheimer’s studio logo, the cover to Gaiman’s “American Gods”, and the endings to both “Terminator 2” and the Japanese film “Ringu”. 

  • Lindenharp
  • Kiba

    Yup it’s from American Gods. I have that book. Damn good novel.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    It’s from a page off the one Fred linked: http://hbowatch.com/what-is-american-gods-all-about-anyway/

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Maybe if Jodie Foster had better taste in friends, she wouldn’t be “so very lonely”. She’s loudly defended both Mel Gibson and Roman Polanski. I have no patience for her.

  • vsm

    I can’t really hold her defence of Mel Gibson against her. They’ve apparently been good friends for years and she seems to have decided to stick by him, no matter how much he might deserve the opposite. I admire her loyalty if not her taste in friends.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I can’t really hold her defence of Mel Gibson against her. They’ve apparently been good friends for years and she seems to have decided to stick by him, no matter how much he might deserve the opposite. I admire her loyalty if not her taste in friends.

    Maybe re Mel she’s hating the sin but loving the sinner.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    TW: rape, violence

    Maybe re Mel she’s hating the sin but loving the sinner.

    No, she’s not. She’s never said anything about the sin being bad. No “he really messed up” stuff here. Solely stuff like this:

    “He’s so incredibly loving and sensitive, he really is. He is the most loved actor I have ever worked with on a movie. And he’s not saintly, and he’s got a big mouth, and he’ll do gross things your nephew would do. But I knew the minute I met him that I would love him the rest of my life.”

    Things your nephew would do. Like wax on and on about how he wants to murder his romantic partner while anally raping her. Yeah. Bullshit.

    The closest Jodie Foster has come to saying Mel Gibson did anything at all wrong was to say he’s “complicated” and “has troubles”. That’s what you say when someone is struggling to overcome an addiction or something — NOT when someone is a violently anti-semitic misogynist. 

    I refuse to look up what she said about Roman Polanski, as I am not going to go through again seeing nearly every visible person in Hollywood talk about how it wasn’t “rape rape” to drug and hold down and penetrate someone who is sobbing and saying it hurts and begging you to stop. (There was a cohort of Hollywood people who called foul: screenwriters. But screenwriters have basically no power or visibility.)

  • Lori

    I honestly cannot see conservatives welcoming Roman Polanski back into their fold and showering him with awards.   

    If you mean they wouldn’t have welcomed him back into the fold because he would never have been out of it then, yeah.  If you mean he would have been put out and would have remained a pariah, then I’m not seeing it. It’s not like conservatives would have been more likely to believe that what Polanski did was “legitimate” rape. If RP was a conservative cause celebre the defense would simply have been different. Instead of saying it was all a witch hunt driven by silly American prudery it would have been wall-to-wall slut shaming and she was asking for it and she just cried rape afterward to get money from a wealthy man.

    It’s not that I think supporting RP is an acceptable thing. I don’t. There are a number of people whose support for RP caused me to lose whatever respect I ever had for them*. I just don’t think it’s helpful to give conservatives credit they haven’t earned in the process of pointing out that liberals have major failings when it comes to rape culture (among other things).

    *Same goes for the music industry giving awards to Chris Brown.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    TW: Roman Polanski

    I don’t even get how people can rationalize a grown man drugging a 13 year old girl and then forcing himself on her. I really don’t.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    For my own part, I find I do better to concentrate on what motivates people to rationalize atrocity. Our ability to do so, I just take for granted.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I doubt most of his defenders think “He drugged a thirteen year old girl and forced himself on her but that’s forgivable.”  They dispute the facts of the case. They believe that the things he did do not meet the definition of “drugging a 13 year old” or “forcing himself on her.”  Choosing instead to construct a narrative in which he “shared some recreational relaxants” and “Had vigorous but consensual intercourse” not with “a 13 year old girl” but rather with “An aspiring young actress who was in fact capable of consent but due to the lack of nuance in US age-of-consent laws was, we admit, technically not legally allowed to consent”, and therefore only see themselves as rationalizing statutory rape, which is a markedly easier rationalization. (Especially among celebrities who might have a haunting fear in the back of their minds that there might incidents in their own pasts where they had taken for granted that their partner was of legal age when they really should have asked to see some ID)

  • vsm

    The documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired took a different tact. It never tried to deny that Polanski was a rapist but focused on the way the trial was mismanaged. Apparently, there was an initial agreement between all parties, including the victim, that would have involved Polanski serving a month in jail. When the newspapers found out about it, the judge decided to go back on the deal, which resulted in Polanski fleeing the country. Or something like that: it’s been a while since I saw it.

    I didn’t find it all that persuasive, on account of the original deal being plainly unjust, but at least it was more honest than the defences centered on the 13-year-old girl’s character.

  • Lori

    I didn’t find it all that persuasive, on account of the original deal
    being plainly unjust, but at least it was more honest than the defences
    centered on the 13-year-old girl’s character.  

    I don’t know that “more honest” is the right phrase. More like, very slightly less offensive. Positive points for not slut shaming. Major negative points for implicitly buying into the idea that the deal was in any way appropriate. More major negative points for being incredibly elitist and just generally bullshit.

    As you noted, the original deal was plainly unjust. How many of the people taking up for RP would support any other criminal who went on the lamb to avoid prosecution because a plea deal he should never have been offered in the first place was revoked? You might get a few publicly on board if the person was on the run from a drug charge, but I don’t think they’d be protesting in favor of John Doe rapist who just doesn’t want to do any real time.  

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Whether the deal was “appropriate” is orthagonal to whether the deal was made.  If you’re prepared to say “What you did is especially heinous, so even though the judge acted inappropriately and miscarried justice, we’re gonna overlook that because the alternative is you getting away with less punishment than our moral sensibilities say you deserve,” then let’s just say “fuck this noise” to the whole legal system and lynch the bastard.

  • Water_Bear

    Honestly, that doesn’t sound like such a bad option. If the legal system is consistently ruining lives over minor drug offenses and giving rapists a literal slap on the wrist, why should we rely on it?

    Not that I’m pro-mob justice per se, but it’s silly to treat the judicial system as sacrosanct just because it’s legal; slavery and wife beating used to be legal, and smoking a jay is still illegal. There’s no reason why we should have to abide an unjust system.

  • Lori

    The thing is, it’s not clear that the judge acted inappropriately and miscarried justice. Plea bargains fall apart with some regularity, for all kinds of reasons, one of them being that the judge refuses to sign off. The deal isn’t done until final sentencing and that hadn’t happened in Polanski’s case. The judge would not have had the power to send Polanski to prison absent a new plea agreement that included more jail time or a trial at which Polanski was found guilty of at least some of the counts that he refused to plead to. That’s hardly the same thing as lynching and thinking that it is, is giving Polanski far, far more credit than he deserves.

    Ironically one of the things Polanski claimed to justify running is that he thought the judge would take steps to have him deported. Fleeing the country being the obvious response to fear of deportation. I guess he figured he’d run, his lawyer would get the charges dropped for time served (45 days) and he’d be back in Hollywood before the next award season. I can’t work up too much sympathy for his miscalculation.

  • vsm

    Indeed. I suppose the honest defence would be something like “Roman Polanski is a rapist and a terrible human being, but he’s also wealthy, happens to know the right people and makes good films every now and then, so he should be free”.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    A month in jail, even by 1970s standards, seems pretty frakkin’ weaksauce for what amounts to age-disparity-coerced sex.

    If he hadn’t been rich and famous he would have gone into jail for a decade-plus easily.

  • Lori

    What Ross said.

    They’ve constructed a narrative of the case that ignores the actual girl and focuses on Polanski and an imaginary version of the girl. I think that’s born of a combination of fawning over Polanski, wanting to appear sophisticated by criticizing American provincialism (because FSM mocking the rubes has a long and well-established history in Hollywood) and herd behavior. None of which is the slightest bit OK.

    The sad part is that it’s not remotely surprising. First because of rape culture. Second because Hollywood can’t stop the perpetual ass-kissing machine even when it comes to standing up for their own*. There’s no way most of them were going to take the side of some little nobody against the great artiste.

    *See: giving an Oscar to Elia Kazan. (Ed Harris & Amy Madigan cemented my love for them by refusing to applaud for him. Nick Nolte is more than a bit of a train wreck, but I’ll always give him credit for at least 2 things—48 Hours and refusing to clap for Kazan even though it put him on Scorsese’s shit list.)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I think that for a lot of them, the motivation is that the story is close to a narrative that they’re afraid of. So they become so invested in defending against the scenario of “Celebrity unwisely has sex with a girl who turns out to be underage; she comes back years later and falsel alleges rape in a bid for fame/money” that they ignore the fact that this case isn’t that.

  • Lori

    I don’t think Natalie Portman, for example, is driven by fear of being accused of rape, statutory or otherwise.

    ETA: Not because women can’t commit rape, but because so few people believe that they can that false accusations aren’t really something most women spend a lot of energy worry about, even sub-consciously.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    TW: Roman Polanski
    I don’t even get how people can rationalize a grown man drugging a 13 year old girl and then forcing himself on her. I really don’t.

    I think that RP rationalized his actions in with the phrase “Everyone wants to fuck young girls.”  

    To which I counter a) “Eww, no, I would rather not.” and b) he is really rocking some unpleasant entitlement issues there.  

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Loyalty is not in and of itself a virtue. Nor is sticking up for a friend a neutral thing. In sticking up for her friends, Jodie Foster has harmed their victims, and because she has such a huge platform, sticking up for her friends has harmed victims of domestic violence and rape.

    I do not admire loyalty to scum. That loyalty is doing harm to innocent people. Anyone who remains friends with rapists and violent misogynists is scum themselves. Even worse when they loudly defend those rapists and violent misogynists. Jodie Foster is a horrible person.

  • LoneWolf343

     Well, maybe she defends bad people because she’s lonely.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    Gaiman derives the central idea of American Gods from some sects of Buddhism, which teach that the material world is actually generated by all of our minds working together.  These sects teach that if enough people believe in a god/demon/ entity, then it will become real (for a similar idea, see the Tibetan concept of the “tulpa”).

    The concept of “self-inflicted hell” which Gaiman featured in the Sandman series is also a precept of certain Buddhists.  If you feel you deserve Hell, you mind will create one for you after death.  They say that if you do find yourself in Hell, just tell yourself that it’s just you punishing yourself and Hell will instantly vanish, revealing the Bodhisattvas who will lead you to Nirvana.

  • Wednesday

    I haven’t read American Gods, but the idea that gods depend on the number of their believers for power appears in Pratchett’s Discworld series (esp. Small Gods, which predates American Gods by quite a while).

    Pratchett and Gaiman are friends and have coauthored a book. So it’s quite lpossible Gaiman got the idea from somewhere other than Buddhism.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    the idea that gods depend on the number of their believers for power appears in Pratchett’s Discworld series

    It appeared in the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons. For that matter, it is a common thread throughout many ancient religions that a god is only as powerful as its followers — that a god needs worship/sacrifices/orgies to thrive.

  • Rae

    It’s also showed up in the Fables comic book series, only replace “gods” with “fairy tale characters”, and it goes some interesting places with that premise.  There’s even a little bit of that in the recent Rise of the Guardians movie.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    D&D derived the idea from the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series by Fritz Leiber, which was one of the three greatest inspirations for the game (the others being Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Howard’s Conan stories).  

  • stardreamer42

     It was also the basis of the Star Trek episode “Who Mourns for Adonis?”

  • Ethics Gradient

    Gaiman may also have derived the central idea from the 1992 ‘Small Gods’ by his former collaborator Terry Pratchett, which says:

    There are billions of gods in the world. They swarm as thick as herring roe. Most of them are too small to see and never get worshiped, at least by anything bigger than bacteria, who never say their prayers and don’t demand much in the way of miracles. They are the small gods–the spirits of places where two ant trails cross, the gods of microclimates down between the grass roots. And most of them stay that way. Because what they lack is belief. A handful, though, go on to greater things. Anything may trigger it.
    A shepherd, seeking a lost lamb, finds it among the briars and takes a minute or two to build a small cairn of stones in general thanks to whatever spirit might be around the place. Or a peculiarly shaped tree becomes associated with a cure for disease. Or someone carves a spiral on an isolated stone. Because what gods need is belief, and what humans want is gods. Often it stops there. But sometimes it goes further. More rocks are added, more stones are raised, a temple is built on the site where the tree once stood. The god grows in strength, the belief of its worshippers raising it upwards like a thousand tons of rocket fuel. For a very few,
    the sky’s the limit.

  • Victor

    ((( For a very few, the sky’s the limit.)))

    And “I” thought that sinner vic was the only micro god around here.

    Go Figure! “IT” really is a small world when the sky’s the limit….:)

    Peace

  • Ken

     Also from Small Gods, where Pratchett explains where he got the idea:

    Koomi’s theory was based on the old Gnostic heresy, which tends to turn up all over the multiverse whenever men get up off their knees and start thinking for two minutes altogether. But it upsets priests, who tend to vent their displeasure in traditional ways.

    When the Omnian Church found out about Koomi, they displayed him in every town within the Church’s empire to demonstrate the essential flaws in his argument.

    There were a lot of towns, so they had to cut him up quite small.

  • Tricksterson

    Remember though it’s true belief that’s important, not just mouthing the phrases.  that’s why Om was reduced to a turtle.

  • arcseconds

     The computer game ‘Populous’ has the player playing a god, whose power is dependent on the number of followers. 

    That was created in 1989.

    Mind you, this kind of idea also appears in Gaiman’s Sandman series, which also debuted in 1989.

    The idea doesn’t actually seem all that surprising to me.  It’s kind of obvious if you think about designing a game like Populous.   And it’s only one step from the idea that beliefs determine the world, which has been around for quite some time.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Robert Hare’s work on “subcriminal psychopaths” is enlightening and disturbing reading in light of the fact that Western society’s pro-capitalistic changes over the last generation have only created better and more plentiful rewards for people who don’t give a shit about rules or social norms.

  • Water_Bear

    To be fair to Mr Newport, religions are a lot more like languages than they are like natural principles. They change over time, blend when they encounter each other, and when people stop using them they die out with very little fanfare.

  • Münchner Kindl

    (Actually it’s a diagram of “The Citadel” — a heavily armed Randian utopia intended for somewhere in Idaho.)

    As said in comments on the previous “Preppers” discussion, preparing for real = natural disasters vary by region. And preparing for man-made disasters is different from preparing for man-made disasters. (building against earthquakes is different from building against tornadoes or flooding or …)

    The very medieval look of this artists conception is yet again proof that the paranoid are role-playing: if they really want to defend against the black choppers of the govt., then they should build underground, not nice houses with a wall around them.

    Second, as said before about these libertopias, where do they get the food from? “White people were so lazy they needed slaves to do the work for them” as one comedian said – I can’t see many of those fat overweight middle-aged gun nuts doing hard manual work on a farm. Because using tractors and the like creates dependance on oil, which doesn’t work in a mad max war scenario. (Technically, you could grow energy crops and process to oil, but that requires more land and work and a huge machine.) Also tractors need repair which means mechanics and factories that produce replacments).

    If they go agricultural, they need the fields inside the walls, not outside, to survive the battle against zombies/ FEMA employees/ whatever. (Yes, medieval towns could store food – but how long?)

  • P J Evans

     And it’s been pointed out elsewhere that the growing season in that area is about three months, maximum, and in winter there will be 2 or 3 meters of snow on the ground.

  • Münchner Kindl

     I didn’t think about the specific place, but general “moving to remote area to survive” scenario.

    However, if intelligent people had to deal with this instead of fantasy-playing paranoid wingnuts, there are ways around this:

    traditionally, places in the mountains with short growing season and lots of rain = green grass keep cows/ cattle on it, use the milk to make cheese and trade the surplus for grain etc. from warmer areas.

    You could also bring in organic plant specialists to either adapt existing grain like rye to the local climate or adapt local plants into something edible (maybe by crossing).

    You could also try technology with hot-houses (solar-thermal is low tech) and similar methods to lenghten the growing season.

    Or, if you want to survive long-term, you could ditch the whole agriculture and return to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, which is more relaxed and not as terrible as some people think http://zompist.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/why-you-want-to-be-a-hunter-gatherer/  – which the native Indians practiced sucessfully.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     The plan starts to make sense if you believe that you can make biodiesel from zombies.

    (Seriously, those Citadel plans look surprisingly close to the zombie apocalypse fortress I have in my notes, except that they’d never waste so much space with a separately fortified munitions factory when what they really needed were ploughshares.)

  • hidden_urchin

    You had a “Firearms Museum and Reflecting Pool” in your zombie apocalypse fortress?

    Seriously, that’s the part I can’t get over.  It has a town center that isn’t in the center of town.  It has a weapons manufacturing plant but, apparently, no large scale food storage.  It has a farmer’s market but no fields or orchards (and that market is poorly placed compared to the neighborhoods and business center). 

    But what really gets me is the “Firearms Museum and Reflecting Pool.”  I just can’t take ’em seriously with that in there.  You’re planning to create a community capable of existing in a complete bubble and protecting itself from outside attack and you have a museum and reflecting pool in the center? 

    I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry at the ineptitude.

  • Water_Bear

    My sneaking suspicion is that their idea of how to get food flows smoothly from the emphasis on fire-arms; when the chips are down, they know that the people with the weaponry aren’t going to be the ones who go hungry.

    My question is why people who plan on fighting the government would want to stay in one spot; even the best bunker is toast once it’s found, and the Maori proved that you can throw together supremely defensible forts in a few days while still having them cheap enough to use as disposable decoys once you’ve moved on. Keeping mobile and “foraging” also removes a lot of pesky logistical issues like supply lines for pretty much everything but ammunition, which they already have tons of. Plus, in a nationwide disaster it wouldn’t be difficult to blend in with other refugees to stay hidden. Building a fortified town negates every possible advantage they might have in an asymmetrical war.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659001961 Brad Ellison

    Fortress/armory where every occupant is part of an armed militia?  When The Road Warrior becomes a documentary they will rule the countryside and become the foundation for the the enduring Imperial power of New Sparta.  Helots will tend the fields beyond the walls.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    My sneaking suspicion is that their idea of how to get food flows smoothly from the emphasis on fire-arms; when the chips are down, they know that the people with the weaponry aren’t going to be the ones who go hungry.

    Their dependence on technology for combat superiority is something of a blind spot to them, much as it was to the planners of the U.S. military in conflicts like Vietnam.  A possess of gun toting rugged individuals is probably going to walk right into a spiked-pit deathtrap when trying to raid nearby settlements and farms for food.  

    Their belief that their weaponry gives them power is their weakness, and it will be their downfall.  

  • Water_Bear

    I’d be a lot more optimistic about my chances of beating people with assault rifles using punji sticks and black-powder bombs if it wasn’t for the fact that guns are pretty much the biggest force multiplier ever created. 

    The Viet Cong had plenty of guns, arguably much superior guns at least on the infantry level (Kalishnakov v M16 a1, no contest), not to mention bombs artillery and surface-to-air missiles. Hell, the NVA actually had fairly decent Fighter Aircraft at the beginning, courtesy of the USSR. Vietnam wasn’t ingenuity versus firepower, but numbers and determination against an enemy unwilling and unable to fight a real counter-insurgency.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I’d be a lot more optimistic about my chances of beating people with assault rifles using punji sticks and black-powder bombs if it wasn’t for the fact that guns are pretty much the biggest force multiplier ever created. 

    Yeah, but I for one would have no intention of actually standing up and fighting them.  I would think that the best course would be to set the booby-traps and run and hide.  Let them take what they want, just be sure that they pay for whatever they take.  They come in peace, we can trade for what we need.  They come in force, they pay in blood instead.  

  • Water_Bear

    Real life isn’t like Home Alone; the best you could hope for is that you don’t hurt the gunmen enough for them to hunt you down and burn down your village. If we’re going to make fun of the right-wingers for their weird indulgent power-fantasies of fights they can never win, can we at least agree not to do the exact same thing?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think FearlessSon may be thinking more along the lines of what Yugoslav or Soviet partisans did to combat Axis occupying forces in WW2.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think FearlessSon may be thinking more along the lines of what Yugoslav or Soviet partisans did to combat Axis occupying forces in WW2.

    Well, if push comes to shove, we could take our surplus a few months before the harvest, go into town, and find seven hungry samurai to come and defend us against the bandits from the citadel.  

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I like David Brin’s take of friendly communities working better than isolated prepper types. The idea is that if someone attacks the preppers, they might be well armed, but nobody will go to their aid because they’re assholes. 

    On the other hand, if the community with the brewer who brings beer to all the neighboring communities, or the medic who travels from town to town gets attacked, the attackers face the wrath of numerous, interdependent communities, who have no real reason to be all that technologically inferior to the preppers anyway. 

    Regarding that Citadel compound: notice how they have separate communities at the top and bottom of the map. I give it two weeks before they declare war on each other.

  • Hilary

    “A possess of gun toting rugged individuals is probably going to walk right into a spiked-pit deathtrap when trying to raid nearby settlements and farms for food”

    you mean like this –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR8MsdKHtVE

    Snare and deadfall, pit and noose
    Drive your quarry where choose
    Net them so they can’t get loose,
    Snare and deadfall, pit and noose.

    Lead them on and lead them long,
    Make it look like natures crafting
    Fear and greed will drive them on
    Bite you tongue to keep from laughing

    Let them think they’ve won the war
    While the net grows ever tighter
    Deadly though these brigands are
    Traps can take the toughest fighter

    Snare and deadfall, pit and noose . . .

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    So the “Patrolling Patriot Militia” would be what’s otherwise known as “Roving Bandit Gangs”?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    So the “Patrolling Patriot Militia” would be what’s otherwise known as “Roving Bandit Gangs”?

    The line between “unregulated vigilante posse” and “protection racket gang” is very thin indeed… 

  • Katie

     According to the website, the age requirement for being able to hit the target is 13.    Which brings up the question of what happens when you have a kid who doesn’t want to stick with the program. 

  • Water_Bear

    “Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child”

  • Baby_Raptor

    Did you notice that they had no medical care buildings and no cemetery?

    Ignore getting sick, or getting injured. These people really think that, in a community where every 13 year old plus is going to be carrying a gun, nobody is going to get shot. 

    Wat. 

  • hidden_urchin

    Ah, it’s all clear now. Based on the lack of medical facilities, a cemetery, and a reasonable source of food, I can only draw one conclusion: Soylent green.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    At the center of the development is a business, III Arms, a modern
    firearms company that would employ residents. All of the company’s
    profits would be donated to the Citadel.

    Also, the problem of food storage is solved. Each household has to keep
    a year’s supply. I guess that means a seige only has to last one year
    then.

    I thought about this a bit more (much more thought than the idiot preppers apparently gave): disaster preparation is not only regional, it’s also short-term, because you expect that the infrastructure and civilsation around you remains standing and sends help to rebuilt.

    If you expect Mad Max because civilsation falls: because the govt. does … what? I could not come up with any type of govt. that causes civilisation or infrastructure to collapse overnight. Civil war, tyranny, or neglect of infrastructure like crumbling bridges: yes. But not overnight, and with many unaffected areas. The closest would be like in the short story “The last American” where a virus wipes out 99% of the population and only a guy in a remote hut in the mountains (and similar) survive. Without maintenance and with a lot of distance separating the survivors, everything breaks down quickly, and the kids of the survivors have to invent everything anew.

    But for longtime Mad Max Apokalypse, you can’t run a factory. Every factory in the 1st world today has suppliers it relies on. If you want to make weapons, you need steel and a smithy, plus a seperate place for the ammunition. Where are these going to come from if everything outside is in ruins? (And who are they going to sell the guns to: the residents? Then no wealth is created. The outsiders, like the farmers? Then they lose their monopoly of force).

    If I wanted to prepare for Mad Max, one wall is enough. No factories, just shops like a smithy. No suburban single-family homes, but longhouses – saves material and energy. Solar panels and wind-wheels for energy, and technology pared down to what is essential. Some ideas could be taken from 3rd world today, but they still rely on regular replacements from outside – that would need to be replaced. Schools with double system (theory and practical work) for medical and crafting (smithing for repair) work.
    I would probably use bows – either compound or crossbows – instead of guns as major weapon, because of the ammunition problem. Arrow shafts grow themselves, the heads can be made from metal or stone, and in a pinch (Mythbusters tested this) you only sharpen the tip without a head. Still enough to injure zombies and kill deer.

    Food: Organic farming (compost heaps instead of mineral fertilisier) and horses instead of tractors (besides the fuel problem there’s maintenance and repair). Also, it would be mostly veggies, maybe some chickens, because meat wastes too much energy and space.

    To prepare against FEMA, however, as has been said, no fixed town at all (esp. not one that can be bombed from the air!!!). Instead, some hidden mountain caves/ overhang (not visible from the air, deep down to avoid infrared satellite scanning), multiple sites, with food stored everywhere. That’s guerilla style.

    Neither is very comfy, since it’s about surviving. It’s either hard work for food/ stuff, or long walks from one place to the other, nights outside in the rain etc.

  • Tricksterson

    Ah but solar and wind power and organic farming are pansyhippiecommie stuff!  No Real American would ever use any power source but oil!  And maybe nukuler.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Yeah, that’s why it’s so dumb. Those people who would be prepared for real-life possible catastrophes are the rational, non-paranoid types.

    I’ve tried to think of scenarios where the whole civilisation collapses, but the only thing is a virus pandemic – and experts say we’re overdue one. There are two types of flu: one common among birds, one common among humans. One type has a high lethality (over 90%) but slow transmission (fluids), the other type has low mortality (below 10%) but fast transmission (through air). Given the millions of people living close to each other and to birds in Asia, it’s only a matter of time before the two types cross-over. And with an incubation time for flu of 2-5 days and modern air travel, it can spread several times around the globe.

    Plus, as the Mexican/ Swine flu epidemic scare some years back showed, not even modern countries are prepared logistically to quarantine hundred thousands of infected and millions of suspected people to stop the spread or treat the ill; and even modern countries would be overwhelmed to produce enough (perishable) vaccination once it could be produced.

    Or take Ebola and similar which is currently only limited because it’s deadly so fast – any mutation that delays incubation, and we’re fucked.

    Other natural catastrophes would still be limited: the San Andreas fault having a 9 quake? Thousands dead, infrastructure bust, but the East Coast is unaffected and can send help.

    Yellowstone supervulcano blows up? Most contintenal US affected, all northern hemisphere under “nuclear” winter*, but civilisation still intact so help could be send. In worst case, South Americans move north and re-settle.

    Asteroid strike, maybe hitting a fault line and causing quakes/ volcanoes in addition? Above a certain size, everybody is fucked who can’t get to a bunker; and the only preparation against that is on country/ International level anyway for detecting equipment and rockets to bring it off-course (not explode it).

    That only leaves small compounds in out-of-the-way places to prepare for a pandemic with 99% mortality rate worldwide (and subsequent breakdown of machines). Which is a remote chance, but possible.

    But even then, the long-term goal would not be just survival, but rebuilding civilisation. That means e.g. that 20 years after Collapse, you have at least 30 young people with some bags of seed grain, a few horses and well-educated to send 1 days march away and start a new village, plus enough children to stay in the original village. (Which means in turn at least 80 women, plus 80 husbands, plus 80 men who do the work of the women in the fields, to minimize health problems during pregnancy and breast-feeding).

    After a few generations and enough stable villages, you start towns, then cities. But to avoid re-inventing the wheel all over, you’d need plans – exact plans! – on how to build a PV or electric car factory – starting with building the factories for the supplies, starting probably with the factories to build the parts to build factories with. Which means not only many shelves of library, but probably inaccessible knowledge because it’s protected by trade secrets. Plus it would make sense to coordinate with existing projects – govt. and private – to store knowledge safely. Which again means trusting the govt. and not running away from it.

    You also need a govt. inside the community/ village itself. The right-wingers are mostly authoritarians, which tends to lead to either split groups (north village against south village, as someone said?) or to a dispersal of the group if the original charismatic leader dies/ looses interest (the problem of the Greek after Alexander the Great died).

    Direct democracy could work on a small scale, but would need to be adapted to special circumstances: Heinlein in “Tunnel to the sky” wrote about this. It’s about a group of High School kids taking a survival test for a couple of days on a foreign planet who are accidentally stranded. Since they have not prepared for long-term colony, they don’t know which system is best and try democracy like at home, but quickly run into problems because inevitably, a few guys want power and scheme against the pragmatic experts, and the group almost falls apart before they manage to pull together again.

    * It’s not nuclear in origin, but I don’t know the current english term for “particles are blown into the atmosphere and darken sunlight so we get year(s) without summer”

  • esmerelda_ogg

     

    where do they get the food from?- Munchner Kindl

    Silly rabbit! Who needs to grow food themselves? They’ll just go to the farmers’ market. It’s right there on the plan next to the town center – didn’t you see it?

    Oh. Wait. Farmers’ market…full of outsiders…that you allowed inside those fortress walls and defensive towers…with their trucks that they say are full of food… Oops.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Second, as said before about these libertopias, where do they get the food from? “

    Atlas Shrugged: One Hour Later
    http://www.angryflower.com/atlass.gif

  • Jenora Feuer

     Or, a slightly more detailed version from Welcome to the New Scum

    The most egregious example of this comes in that pile of pap that Glenn
    Beck shucks like the Bible’s smarter, prettier sister: Atlas Shrugged. I
    have no desire to go into a list of why that book is a pile of shit, at
    least not right now. But there is a moment in it that so completely sums
    up everything that is wrong with the Tea Party/Randite/Libertarian
    worldview that it is breathtaking in its elegant stupidity. It is when
    Dagny Taggart finally gets to Galt’s Gulch, and it is a breathtaking
    panorama of loveliness with fertile fields and little houses, and people
    fishing and etc. It’s para-fucking-dise. And John Galt himself leads
    Dagny around showing her all the wonderful things they’ve done. And
    there are oil pipes in the mountains, and fields full of…stuff (She’s
    not much for details, our Ayn.) And it’s the most hilarious moment in
    the book, because you realize, at that moment, that Ayn Rand has no clue
    how the world works.

    See, I grew up on a farm. And I’m familiar with the sheer, bloody
    amount of work it takes to run a farm. Notice, I am not saying build a
    farm. Building a farm from scratch is an almost impossible undertaking.
    (Which is why *gasp* the pioneers did it all together in groups. No
    payment expected, just help out when its their turn. Buncha commies.)

    Certainly, a few years after this project got started, they would still
    be on the frontier edge of starvation, desperately going hungry in the
    winter so they wouldn’t have to touch their seed corn for the next year,
    anxiously scanning the skies for clouds. Living in one room cabins. Of
    course, Rand handwaves this by essentially giving them cold fusion, but
    even so, it Doesn’t. Work. Like. That.

    It is at that moment that you realize Rand probably never did a day of real work in her life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Bibeau/1201168822 Paul Bibeau

    I’m not worthy! Thank you, Mr. C.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Look at those tweets.  Among them, you’ll find a disturbing trend, over and above the obvious disturbing trend, I mean.  The disturbing trend is that they are saying this fully attached to their names and, in most cases, pictures of their own faces.

    Bare this in mind as well, it is actually a crime to incite violence, such as murder.  Technically, asking for the killing of anybody, let alone the POTUS, is a crime (to my understanding).  So, they’re saying this with no expectation of any consequence of even being recognized as “that person who threatened the life of person X”.  In large case, I suspect even saying this with the recognition that the saying will garner them social acceptance.

    This says something about the fantasies that run among the differing sides.  When G. Bush was in office, the left openly fantasized about him being impeached on the basis of, you know, the torture, lieing to Congress, lieing to the American people, etc.  But, among the left, we were not free and easy with the wishes of death.  I doubt that this says much about our moral standing but I do claim this says that the hard right in this country has lost a comprehension of the connection between action and consequence.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I know in Canadian law, uttering threats can be a chargeable criminal offence in and of itself. But are these folks making generalized race-war threats (really, how many of them are white guys who fantasize about beating back the barbarian inner-city hordes – which has coded racist commentary all over it) or making specific threats to specific people?

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    I think it would fall under intentionally inciting violence.  I suppose they could say that they had no reason to believe that it would be taken seriously.  But, they did bring up both JFK and Lincoln.  They did so in order to say that those were good Presidents (considering their stances and the tweeters, likely the goodness of those Presidents has to do with the span of history and how hard it is to get away with calling them bad Presidents) that shouldn’t have and contrasting that against Obama.  So, one couldn’t claim that they were completely unaware of an oft-repeated opinion having a certain response.

    I suppose none of them actually stated an intent to accomplish, only an allegedly joking desire that it be accomplished.  But, still.  Even on the left, amost everybody with any kind of voice would have avoided that, merely on awareness of the bad PR it would do for their side.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think it may be a legalistic issue then, that if it’s not illegal to make generalized statements, even if they can be construed as threats, then the cops and FBI can’t really do much.

    But I’m sure they’ve popped up on the domestic right-wing watch lists now. :P

    EDIT: That said, the very specific Obama comments? Are likely to get them a talking-to from the Secret Service. Threatening the President is most definitely a criminal offence.

  • Baby_Raptor

    It probably doesn’t say a lot about the Left’s moral standing, but it says quite about about the Right’s lack thereof. 

    It also highlights their hypocrisy. When Bush was in charge, it was treason to even speak negative words about him. Now wishing the President dead is not only acceptable, but earns you status. 

  • Foreigner

    Winding back to 2001 as seen from 1901 … 50 odd extra states? 99 territories? That really was the era of American Empire, wasn’t it? I wonder where they imagined all this real estate was?

  • P J Evans

     It sounded like most of the Americas – the story mentioned ‘clubs’ in Santiago,Chile,and in Canada, as well as one in Honolulu.
    The pneumatic transcontinental railways are amusing. So are the aircars all over – but they did pick up on air travel, two years before Kitty Hawk.

  • Victor

    (((Everyone has the drive to be known and loved.)))

     

    Christians making up nasty stuff about gay people.

    Fred ! Are we not all “ONE” in Christ?

    Sunday, 27 January 2013 : First Letter to the Corinthians 12:12-30.
    Why can’t we all get along NOW?
    Let’s U>S explain “IT” to ya Victor!
    Folks! I must be going crazy cause me, myself and i know that we’re not on those cheap drugs so why would any of our micro cell parts listen to sinner vic?
    Come on Victor! Ya let U>S god preach here:http://www.rebecca-writes.com/rebeccawrites/2013/1/25/expecting-trouble.html#comments didn’t ya and long story short our micro spiritual reality cells are on a role NOW!
    http://www.rebecca-writes.com/rebeccawrites/2013/1/25/expecting-trouble.html#comments didn’t ya and long story short our micro spiritual reality cells are on a role NOW!
    Listen sinner vic, there are parts that we need cause without “IT” we just wouldn’t “F”uction as “ONE” if ya get my drift!? Can’t ya understand that none of U>S (usual sinners) must go “IT” alone!

    Sorry Victor butt, butt, butt, peter said that “IT” was a labor of love and has put all our spiritual cells in charge and to hell with her brother NOW!
    Listen sinner vic, there are parts that we need cause without “IT” we just wouldn’t “F”uction as “ONE” if ya get my drift!? Can’t ya understand that none of U>S (usual sinners) must go “IT” alone!

    Sorry Victor butt, butt, butt, peter said that “IT” was a labor of love and has put all our spiritual cells in charge and to hell with her brother NOW!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FE3tkdY2v8s

    Have “IT” your WAY sinner vic! :)
    Everythings a joke for ya Victor butt U>S gods must get out there and save this world. :(
    Peace

  • Victor

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO2rCBsAVd0  Hey Don’t worry about “IT” folks

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Real life isn’t like Home Alone

    No, it would be more like this because the “survivalists” would be surrounded, outnumbered, and — yes — outgunned by a lot of very angry people.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Actually, the Branch Davidian compound siege is one of the first things I thought of about an enclave like that.  If the U.S. government had reason to suspect the compound of fostering treason (or more likely simple tax evasion by declaring themselves sovereign) they would have the place surround.  The funny thing is that if they actually tried to shoot at federal authorities surrounding the place, the results would not be pretty… for them.  

  • AnonymousSam

     Ugh, that link to the Twitter posts is painful. The only thing that can compare (at least for my present state of mind) is the new bill proposed in Arizona which requires that students swear an oath (complete with the words “under God”) before they’ll be allowed to graduate. http://legiscan.com/AZ/text/HB2467

    In better news, I’ve begun writing a new story inspired by discovering that there were another three predictions for the apocalypse in 2012 that I hadn’t known about until today. Small preview-

    Set twenty minutes into the future, predictions for the apocalypse, the rapture and the end of the world have become so common that they have taken on mimetic status. Almost no one believes they will ever come true, yet everyone thinks about them almost constantly. The weight of so many minds all thinking of the end times becomes a kind of constant subconscious prayer… one which Heaven receives and decides to act upon. There’s just one problem: no one told Hell what it was supposed to do!

    The Rapture seizes the “true believers” (oddly, the majority of them are horrendous people — Westboro Baptist Church’s patrons vanish entirely!), works cataclysms across the Earth and juxtaposes Hell with Earth so that the devil can walk the mortal world, except that Hell fails to live up to its expectation and the demons jettisoned from their homes have no interest in enslaving humanity and in fact exercise their powers to stop the apocalypse and save the Earth. Much to the consternation and bemusement of most, the Hellkind prove to be kindly, selfless creatures who become mankind’s brethren. Heaven is not pleased.

    It’s not the story of the apocalypse. It’s the story of what comes afterward.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Somewhat, as in quite vaguely, similar to a story I’m writing that’s set in Hell.  We should make sure to get published together and both send autographed copies to the 700 club at the same time.  :)

  • Kiba

    The only thing that can compare (at least for my present state of mind) is the new bill proposed in Arizona which requires that students swear an oath (complete with the words “under God”) before they’ll be allowed to graduate.

    Wait, isn’t that the oath taken by Congress? I feel that I’m probably missing something here, but I don’t understand the reason for this. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Isn’t it illegal to make people swear loyalty oaths in the USA?

  • Kiba

    According to ThinkProgress constitutional experts are saying it’s unconstitutional and violates the 1st Amendment. 
    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/01/26/1500011/arizona-bills-require-public-school-students-to-recite-loyalty-oaths/

    I still don’t understand the purpose of the bill. It seems incredibly stupid and pointless.

  • reynard61

    “I still don’t understand the purpose of the bill. It seems incredibly stupid and pointless.”

    It’s another Tribal thing. You’re basically being made to swear loyalty to The Tribe — in this case, Republican Christianity.

    These morons *really* need to be introduced to the clue-by-four-of-Reality…

  • P J Evans

    It seems incredibly stupid and pointless.

    That describes the Arizona legislature pretty well.

  • Lori

     

    I still don’t understand the purpose of the bill. It seems incredibly stupid and pointless.   

    As others have said, it’s Right wing posturing. It’s purpose is to fire up the base and help the guy proposing it to win reelection. It’s a

    Step 1: Propose a law that appeals to the tribe, but will never pass and is unconstitutional on its face and thus would never be implemented if it did somehow pass.  (note that the first 2 qualities are critical. The 3rd is somewhat optional, but highly desirable.)

    Step 2: Announce the proposed lawl with great fanfare and watch your core constituency drool. In this case the bill dangles the juicy possibility of not only othering, but actually directly harming anyone unwilling to bow to the tribe’s brand of weaponized RTCism and chest-thumping faux patriotism. That’s a winning combo, for sure.

    Step 3: Sit back and wait for people who are clearly not tribal members to point out why the bill unconstitutional on its face and for the bill to die a much-derserved death because it’s ridiculous.

    Step 4: Go back to your core constituents and tell them that the failure of the bill is proof once again that the government is oppressing them.

    Step 5: Campaign and fund raise on being the brave little toaster who took a stand for values and will continue to fight government oppression.

    Step 6: Profit!

    Unlike the underpants gnomes the Right wing hucksters know their game.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    As others have said, it’s Right wing posturing. It’s purpose is to fire up the base and help the guy proposing it to win reelection.

    I remember reading a blurb from a study of the Religious Right which said that they have a habit of turning every legislative defeat into a moral victory, further galvanizing them to try again, no matter how little chance they have.  

    Unfortunately, this creates all kinds of collateral damage in the process, wasting productive legislative time and cooperative goodwill, if nothing else.  

  • MaryKaye

     We have a secular version in the form of Tim Eyman, who keeps proposing ballot initiatives.  Many of them pass, but they are almost all unconstitutional, and known to be so even before they pass.  If he wanted to get them right, he surely has the resources; I have to conclude that it’s equally useful, even more useful, to him to get them wrong.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    We have a secular version in the form of Tim Eyman, who keeps proposing ballot initiatives.  Many of them pass, but they are almost all unconstitutional, and known to be so even before they pass.  If he wanted to get them right, he surely has the resources; I have to conclude that it’s equally useful, even more useful, to him to get them wrong.

    Yeh gads, I hate that man.  His position on everything can be summed up by the philosophy “Taxes bad”.  No, context does not matter, if it is a tax it must be evil and struck down or at least neutered.  For several years now, raising money to push these ballots is his only source of income.  He even admitted years ago at taking more of the money for himself than he reported (through tears) and his followers still give him money because “taxes bad.”  

    Incidentally, I supported “I-831”, also known as the “Tim Eyman is a horses-ass” initiative.  

  • Baby_Raptor

    It’s also part of the enlistment oath, except that the military allows exceptions to “so help me god.” The bill as presented does not. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Allegedly, the author of the bill fully supports having it ammended to make the “so help me god” part optional, and just left that out because he was in a time crunch.

    I think he should pull the other one.

  • stardreamer42

     I’d buy that book! You’ve got a good premise there, with a twist on formulaic expectations that promises an interesting read.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    Question regarding the adopting whales link. Sweet story and all, but one word choice kept nagging me. Aren’t dolphins whales? A different branch of whale than sperm whales, certainly, but still whales. Or did the classification change recently to make them a separate family of aquatic mammals?

  • Kiba

    They are related to whales. They fall under the suborder Odontoceti which includes dolphins and porpoises. Also, which I didn’t know, hippos are related to whales.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    Question for folks here – has anyone read about this? It’s rather worrying. Worrying enough that if it’s true I’m surprised I haven’t heard it before (the bit about oxygen levels dropping severely more than the trees dying – I know that bit is true). http://survivalacres.com/blog/oxygen-levels-are-dropping/

  • EllieMurasaki

    Shit. I hadn’t heard. And I still don’t have the money to start a monthly donation to Nature Conservancy for balancing carbon emissions.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     Oh, Thanks! I just looked them up and supported their plant a billion trees campaign. I’ll look into a monthly donation to them or a similar UK charity once my monetary situation is better.

    Having said that Carbon Offsetting isn’t the most effective http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/tfl.global_warming.html

  • EllieMurasaki

    Do you have a better idea for sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and putting oxygen in than planting as many trees as we can and keeping as many mature trees as we can from being cut down?

    That page looks a lot like the Nature Conservancy’s carbon-footprint calculator, actually, only less precise.

    I have in GnuCash an account for Liabilities/Carbon Usage, which I am treating like a loan currently in deferment, payments due to Nature Conservancy, simple interest monthly at the approximate value of a twelfth their suggested contribution to offset my annual carbon footprint, opening balance of loan that twelfth times however many months it was between when I opened the account in GnuCash and when I was born. I am going to offset every carbon emission I’ve ever been part of producing. That debt has to wait till after I’m done paying the ones that will go to collections if I don’t pay them timely enough, though.

    (Mother, our washer and dryer are older than me, can we junk them for Energy Star compliant machines already? I am paying you hundreds of dollars a month, I have been for some time, I am not convinced that you do not have the money, and your electric bill will go down into the bargain. The difference should be immediately apparent, since we will no longer have to run the dryer twice to get a single load dry! And maybe start going to HOA meetings to advocate for being allowed to use outdoor clotheslines when it’s sufficiently warm and sunny.)

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    I’m not a great fan of the “something must be done, this is something, therefore we must do this” school of thought.

    Did you even read the page? Carbon Offsetting doesn’t work to prevent global warming.

    “It’s not possible to truly ‘offset’ carbon emissions or become ‘carbon neutral’ by
    planting trees. The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon that has not been in the
    carbon cycle for millions of years, and therefore creates a net increase of carbon in
    the biosphere. Also, by the time a tree reaches the size where it can absorb a certain
    amount of carbon, the CO2 will already have contributed to global warming.

    In addition, promoting the concepts of ‘carbon offsetting’ and
    ‘carbon neutral’ runs the risk of providing an apparent justification
    for continuing with a fossil-fuel intensive lifestyle and culture,
    whereas it is a drastic reduction in fossil fuel usage that is required
    now.”

    Planting trees is good and I heartily approve of it because it helps aid ecosystem resilence against global warming but that’s not the same as preventing it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I read the page. My concern that tree planting will help resolve is with CO2/O2 balance in the air. Which is also your concern, isn’t it? Didn’t you start this conversation with a link about tree-eating bugs throwing off that balance? Climate change and total carbon use are separate concerns from levels of major gases in the air.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Do you have a better idea for sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and putting oxygen in than planting as many trees as we can and keeping as many mature trees as we can from being cut down?

    Water conservancy. Algae and other green water stuff contributes way more oxygen to our atmosphere than trees do. (70 to 80 percent.) This is one of the many reasons the oil spill in the Gulf was a complete catastrophe — much worse than the Colorado forest fires in the long term, for instance.

  • EllieMurasaki

    …that makes sense. Do you know of any organizations that are working on replenishing the algae populations in the oceans and could use some money to help them in that effort? The nearest thing I can think of offhand is them who take concrete balls containing the ashes of the deceased (per the deceased’s wishes) and plant them somewhere for coral to grow on, which isn’t very similar at all.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Water conservancy. Algae and other green water stuff contributes way more oxygen to our atmosphere than trees do. (70 to 80 percent of the total.) This is one of the many reasons the oil spill in the Gulf was a complete catastrophe — much worse than the Colorado forest fires in the long term, for instance.

    I know that there have been some proposals for iron seeding, putting iron into the water to fertilize phytoplankton, catalyzing algae reproduction to better absorb carbon.  The danger though is that it would not be particularly discriminate in how it creates that growth, and harmful invasive or toxic algae could also be pushed into greater growth, or the algae could create a population explosion which the food chain would not be able to bring back to equilibrium quickly enough to prevent other damage.  

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    Do you have a better idea for sucking carbon dioxide out of the
    atmosphere and putting oxygen in than planting as many trees as we can
    and keeping as many mature trees as we can from being cut down?

    Actually, the carbon offset programs we use here have additional measures, like putting people in the 3rd world – who are still burning wood for fuel and kerosene for light – solar ovens and solar lights.

    Less CO2 being produced = less CO2 in the atmosphere. (Plus improvment in the lifes of poor people).

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That pine beetle problem has been a thorn in the side of this province for the last 20+ years, and politicians are basically hoping for a sudden really long cold snap to kill ’em off.

    The only saving grace is such infestations are usually self-limiting, since past a certain point they just won’t be able to get to any more trees.

  • DorothyD

    My first glance at it, it doesn’t make much sense to me. The article says some cities’ oxygen levels have dropped from 21% to 15% due to combustion of fossil fuels?  The atmosphere is only .04% CO2. Something doesn’t seem right. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Burning fossil fuels burns oxygen, which is supposed to be, what, twenty percent of the air?

  • DorothyD

    Yeah, 21% of the atmosphere is oxygen (by volume). From another reference:

    While no danger exists that our O2 reserve will be depleted, nevertheless the O2 content of our atmosphere is slowly declining–so slowly that a sufficiently accurate technique to measure this change wasn’t developed until the late 1980s. Ralph Keeling, its developer, showed that between 1989 and 1994 the O2 content of the atmosphere decreased at an average annual rate of 2 parts per million. Considering that the atmosphere contains 210,000 parts per million, one can see why this measurement proved so difficult.

    ref

  • P J Evans

     Oxygen levels aren’t dropping. It would be world-wide, not on a city basis. It’s air, not land or water.

  • EllieMurasaki

    But local levels could drop. Air doesn’t move quite that fast.

  • DorothyD

    It’s dropped world-wide, but only a bit. Estimated at ~ .01% change from pre-industrial levels, from this article which was linked in that Survival Acres article, which also stated “Dangerously low levels of oxygen are now being reported in cities around the world…How alarming?  Some cities are down to just 15%, far lower then safety standards dictate.”  but didn’t give a reference for that. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    http://ehstoday.com/safety/confined-spaces/ehs_imp_32784

    Discusses the issues with measuring oxygen levels and how apparently “safe” O2 levels could actually be unsafe.

  • DorothyD

    Discusses the issues with measuring oxygen levels and how apparently “safe” O2 levels could actually be unsafe. 

    He seems to be saying that that 19.5% doesn’t leave much margin for error, given how water vapor changes things. 

  • P J Evans

     1/100 of 1 percent is – hardly anything. That would probably track with the increase in CO2.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    Another book that used the “Believe in a God-and He/She/It Becomes Real” trope is The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, by Douglas Adams.  The protagonist focuses his own guilt to create a gigantic, amoeba-like  Guilt God that devours his enemies.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    “I still don’t understand the purpose of the bill. It seems incredibly stupid and pointless.”  —  Kiba
    This type of bill is known in Congress as a “Showboat,” a bill that has no chance whatsoever of passing but looks mighty damn good to the voters back home.

  • Sigaloenta

    My favorite part of fantasy-2001 is the president’s inaugural  (although not so much the call for man-made climate change): “that the anti-trust law prohibiting any corporation from making profits in excess of six percent a year be strictly enforced.”  YES PLEASE.

  • http://dumas1.livejournal.com/ Winter

    Lord Dunsany also used the idea that gods lived on belief in several of his stories. Most explicitly, “Poseidon” has the title deity complaining he can no longer cause earthquakes because of a shortage of the blood of bulls and drifting away when a butterfly flapped its wings.

    Just to say that this story is related to the idea spoils it all, so here it is in ROT13: “Gur Rkvyrf’ Pyho.”

    The novel “The Blessing of Pan”  is distantly related, but it’s also worth
    reading as one of the few fantasy novels set more or less in the real
    world that even questions whether Christianity is the best way and worth
    pushing for everyone. I may be a bit jaundiced from encountering
    Lawhead’s Pendragon series when younger.

    Several other stories here and there deal with belief and sacrifices and the relationship between deities and humans, but I don’t think there’s anything systematic about it like Discworld has.

  • DorothyD

    OSHA standards for enclosed spaces are 19.5% O2 minimum* (though that article’s author seems to be saying it’s a bit more complicated than that, namely that if your work space has a reduced oxygen level it’s best to find out what’s displacing it). So that 15% number also seems questionable – I’m not finding any references for it, so I think we can breathe easy. 

    *not to be confused with reduction of total amount of O2 with altitude. Percentage of O2 stays constant with altitude (ref)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/01/bofh_episode_4/

    “Carbon credits are like putting a humidifier in a room then putting a
    dehumidifier in as well to offset the effects,” the PFY offers.

    “Only with carbon credits they’re in different rooms,” I add. “Or
    maybe it’s a bit like putting your heater on in one room of the house
    and turning the aircon on at the other.”

    “I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying.”

    “Okay,” I say. “Carbon credits are a bit like beating someone up on
    this side of the world and sponsoring one of those poor starving kids on
    the other side of the world to make up for the fact that you’re a
    complete shit at home.”

    “Only people think you’re great because you’re cancelling out a bad deed with a good one.”

    “Instead of not committing the bad deed in the first place,” I add.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    Except that we are all running that humidifier whatever we do. 

    Even if I could arrange my life so that I never needed to drive again (and I would need to never drive again — see my comment below),  that humidifier would still be going:

    My mail is brought by a person in a truck.  I don’t mean that trucks are involved at some point; I mean that the carrier actually drives the truck past my house every day and puts the mail in my mailbox on the way by.  Everything I buy is brought to the store on a truck, and prior to that, was brought to my city on a train.  More that 38% of the electricity to my city is provided by coal-fired plants (which means that even an electric car runs that humidifier around here). 

    I guess I could just ignore the humidifier that’s running on my behalf, even if I could stop directly running it myself, and just let the water pool on the floor and watch the paint peel off the wall, but I think that doing something to balance it out is better than doing nothing. 

  • DorothyD

    It’s been a while since I’ve thought about carbon offsetting, so I don’t know what the current wisdom is. But our resources for attacking the problem of climate change as a whole are very limited and should be directed to where they’re most effective. So if you have only X dollars to spend, it behooves you to spend then on what gets you the most bang for your buck. Which from what I understand is almost always on ways to reduce carbon emissions rather than offset them.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So on what should I spend, or to whom should I donate, money to reduce carbon emissions? With the note that mine are down about as low as they’re getting unless I can somehow persuade my folks to buy more local food (won’t work, because I complain too much about the tomatoes Dad grows when we eat them after Mom’s canned them–the problem is the skin bits detach and roll up and become inedible, but no one else has an issue) or Energy Star laundry appliances (our washer and dryer still work, so they don’t want to spend two grand on new ones). Drive less? Ha. I hardly drive anywhere but work anyway.

  • DorothyD

    Have you considered helping a neighbor reduce their emissions, say by adding insulation, purchasing CFL bulbs, replacing an inefficient appliance?

    I know there is government grant money available for home improvements; there may also be local non-governmental groups that do similar things. Locally here there’s a volunteer group that runs annual clean-up day for people who need the help; they’ve started adding things like weatherizing. Any such things near you? 

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t so much have neighbors as I have people whose houses are close to mine. Mom has a few neighbors among the people whose houses are close to ours, but I am not nearly as good at socialization. Anyway, our house was one of the first up in the development, I don’t think any house in the development has insulation problems.

    I don’t know, but I can look.

  • DorothyD

    Yeah, the socialization thing, I hear ya. :-)

  • Münchner Kindl

     You can simply invest 10 minutes each day you’re on the internet by clicking through these sites:

    http://www.thehungersite.com (Several tabs for different causes)

    http://www.care2.com/click-to-donate/  (Several tabs, including rainforest and climate change)

    Not climate change, but hunger http://freerice.com (you play quizzes and donate rice – fun, but addictive)

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’d heard of freerice but not the others. Thanks!

  • Münchner Kindl

     A start is this article on cracked http://www.cracked.com/article_19641_5-seemingly-innocent-ways-youve-screwed-world-today and not do what’s listed there.

    These sites of compensation projects :  (old site in english http://old.stop-climate-change.de/en/ new site not yet translated http://www.stop-climate-change.de/) and Gold standard http://www.cdmgoldstandard.org/ are both recognized by neutral enviromental groups, Church groups (protection God’s creation) and development groups as being true and good (not greenwashing).

    You can use ecosia.org or znout.org instead of google as search engine. You can ask your internet provider to offset the power his servers use or switch to green energy. http://www.co2neutralwebsite.com/

    You can try to buy local and organic foods to reduce carbon (the production of mineral fertilizer alone uses a lot of resources). You can recycle things like Aluminium (uses a lot of energy when mined from bauxite, less when recycled) or reduce by bringing your own plastic containers. Lots of small steps.

    Plus the bigger side: lobbying your town to change to Agenda 21, the Kyoto protocol or similar to become a green city. Lobby your state dito. If you have community power providers, try to get them to switch to water, solar, wind.

  • DorothyD

    Thanks! The Cracked.com link doesn’t work. Fixed.

    Nearby Big University Town has adopted Agenda 21. Not much chance the state will but we were pleased on our last trip upstate to see the brand new 56-turbine wind farm. Lots of wind here. 

  • Münchner Kindl

     Hey, that’s great.

    It’s where I find Fred always disingenious when he complains that the US has 0 offshore windfarms, just like landlocked Mali, because the US does have land-based windfarms : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wind_farms_in_the_United_States

    and offshore wind farms are more expensive to build and to maintain, difficult and disruptive to marine life to install (esp. if it’s off the continental shelf – it’s easy in the North Sea which is shallow comparitivly) but doesn’t automatically produce more energy.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Addendum: I get that there is a legitimate complaint to be made about prudery in Canada and the USA, but there are lines that just don’t get crossed no matter what the culture.

  • banancat

     The prudery that we have is very skewed to keeping taboo female sexuality.  Men are expected to ogle women and women (or at least a subset of women) are expected to cater to men’s desire by wearing revealing clothing and conforming to the prevailing cultural narrative of feminine sexuality.  It’s mostly just when women start wanting sexual gratification back that we become complete prudes.  The people who are complaining about professional cheerleaders’ uniforms are not generally the same group who complain about teen girls initiating sex with teen boys, and they do it for very different reasons.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It’s more than that, though. It’s also the kind of unhealthy legal and social expressions of regulation of sexuality that lead to things like moral panics over omgpedophiles. It’s at the stage now where some fathers say they don’t even hug their young kids in public for fear of being accused of such.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I honestly cannot see conservatives welcoming Roman Polanski back into their fold and showering him with awards.   

    The appalling personal history of sitting Tennessee Congressman Scott Desjarlais would contradict that suggestion. He had extramarital affairs with multiple patients and recorded himself pressuring one of them to have an abortion because he thought that she was pregnant with his kid (even though he ran as a staunch pro-lifer). Tribalism and hypocrisy are hardly exclusive to liberals.

  • Lori

    I forgot about that guy. Good for you for remembering. I think my brain just rebels at holding on to the fact that people knew what he had done and reelected him any way.

  • DorothyD

    Also, replacing a functioning appliance with a more energy-efficient one isn’t always the best course of action, since you’ll be junking something useful and it takes energy and resources to produce the new one. Old refrigerators, those are usually energy hogs and replacing them will quickly pay for itself. One thing  you can do is get an energy-use meter,  monitor the appliance’s power usage, calculate the annual electricity cost and figure out how long it will take to recoup your investment on a new one. 

  • Mike Timonin

    Ellie – re: home canned tomatoes – is that the sort of thing which could be aided by offering to help can the tomatoes, and then peeling the tomatoes first? I recall that your family dynamics are somewhat fraught, so I’m not sure if it would be a “look at Miss Know it All, knows better how to can tomatoes” type situation or not – you (obviously) know better than I how your mom would react. 

    If not, peeling tomatoes is easy (at least in theory).  Cut a small “x” at the non-stem end of the tomato. Put the tomato briefly (and carefully!) in boiling water, maybe a minute or two, then immediately put the tomato into ice water. When it’s cool enough to handle, you should be able to peel the skin off easily. This also works for peaches and nectarines.

    Now that I think about it, I wonder if you could do like you do with peppers too – toss the tomato under the broiler for 5 minutes, then cool under a bowl, and peel. I think not – too messy.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If I’m there when Mom decides there’s enough tomatoes to can, I could try. Big if, though.


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