Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part IV

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie IV]

In the previous parts of this series, we started picking away at a very big subject: what a successful strategy for bringing about rapid social change would look like, such social change being necessary if we were to avoid the worst ravages of catastrophic climate change. This change must introduce “naturelike” technologies that would bring the technosphere back into balance with the biosphere.

To be effective, this strategy must rely on technology—but not in the usual sense of fancy gadgets or gewgaws, of which the following examples spring to mind:

• Smartphones and other such gadgets. (“Stupidpeople” no longer know how to get by without them.)
• Windmills that take plenty of coal and diesel to build and maintain, swat migratory birds out of the sky and produce energy in a form that cannot be stored effectively.
• Majestic sailing ships that transport fair trade chocolate, coffee and wine to delight effete foodies in “first world” countries.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Interview on Keiser Report [video]

The interview starts halfway through the show.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part III

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie III]

[Part I] [Part II]

Previously in this series of posts we outlined how inside the US special interests use political technologies to keep the population fooled. We also showed how these efforts will eventually fail, either through internal contradiction or because the parasites eventually end up killing the host. We will now turn our attention to political technologies used by the US against the rest of the world. This may seem like a digression from the task of addressing the question at hand—of how to bring about social change in order to avert climate catastrophe—but it is necessary.

The long list of political technologies used within the US to keep Americans fooled helped us show just how pervasive and destructive these technologies are. We are yet to see any ways to neutralize these technologies—because Americans have failed to do so. To find examples of successful ways to neutralize them, we have to look at what the US has been attempting to do to the rest of the world—and failing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part II

[Part I]

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie II]

Political technologies have three main goals:

1. Changing the rules of the game between participants in the political process.
2. Introducing into the mass consciousness new concepts, values, opinions and convictions.
3. Direct manipulation of human behavior through mass media and administrative methods.

Political technologies pursue these tactical goals in accordance with higher, strategic imperatives, and it is only the noble nature of these higher imperatives that can justify the use of such high-handed, nondemocratic means. Yes, the ends justify the means—once in a while. It is better to save humanity and the natural world through nondemocratic means than to let it go extinct while adhering to strictly democratic ones.

But often the imperatives are far less than noble. They can be separated into two kinds:

1. To improve everyone's welfare by pursuing the common good of the entire society, as it is understood by its best-educated, most intelligent, most decent and responsible members. Political technologies of this kind result in a virtuous cycle, building on previous successes to increase social cohesion, solidarity and setting the stage for great achievements. (These are the good kind.)

2. To enrich, empower and protect special interests at the expense of the rest of society. These kinds of political technologies either fail through internal contradiction, or result in a vicious cycle, in which those who benefit from them strive for ever-higher levels of selfish behavior at the expense of the rest, setting the stage for poor social outcomes, economic stagnation, mass violence and eventual civil war and political disintegration. (These are the bad kind.)

Let's take the United States as an example The United States currently has more than its fair share of the latter sort. Let's briefly review a dozen of the most important ones.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part I

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie I]

On September 28, while addressing the UN General Assembly, Putin proposed “implementing naturelike technologies, which will make it possible to restore the balance between the biosphere and the technosphere.” It is necessary to do so to combat catastrophic global climate change, because, according to Putin, CO2 emissions cuts, even if implemented successfully, would be a mere postponement rather than a solution.

I hadn't heard the phrase “implementing naturelike technologies” before, so I Googled it and Yandexed it, and came up with nothing more than Putin's speech at the UN. He coined the phrase. As with the other phrases he's coined, such as “sovereign democracy” and “dictatorship of the law,” it is a game-changer. With him, these aren't words thrown on the wind. In each of these cases, the phrase laid the foundation of a new philosophy of governance, complete with a new set of policies.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cockpit design: a picture plus a few thousand words

As I mentioned before, nothing focuses the mind on cockpit design like spending 150 hours in the cockpit of a sailboat more or less in one continuous stretch. Previously, I outlined my conclusions from this experience in prose, but this time I have an actual 3D rendering of my proposed design, with all the details filled in.

And nothing focuses the mind on the need to finish designing and build a houseboat that sails more than what is currently unfolding in South Carolina, which I just recently sailed through. Last week, Charleston, where I had spent a week, had fairly deep water running over the streets. Next week it will be Georgetown's turn; the entire town, where I had spent a few days too, is going to have to be evacuated. “You are lucky to be on a boat!” people keep telling me. Indeed, I am! But it's not exactly the right boat; it's a pretty good boat, but it's not QUIDNON.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Book Review: The Sea Gypsy Philosopher

The Sea Gypsy Philosopher: Uncommon Essays from a Thoughtful Wanderer
By Ray Jason
164 pp. Club Orlov Press – May 2015. $12.00.

by Frank Kaminski, Mud City Press

The author of this singularly beguiling book has been so many things and visited so many places. Growing up in the Philadelphia area in the 1940s and '50s, he developed an avid interest in philosophy, English-language haiku and political science, eventually earning a bachelor's degree in this latter subject. He went on to serve in Vietnam, after which he pioneered the street performance scene in '70s San Francisco, as that city’s first professional street juggler. The `90s saw Jason take up life on a sailboat wandering the seas, a life he continues to ardently pursue to this day. Though he’s sailed nearly enough miles to have circled the Earth one and a half times, he’s discovered a favorite spot in the Caribbean that he calls the “Archipelago of Bliss.” Among the activities that fill his days there are writing, juggling, foraging, getting to know his neighbors (human and animal) and encouraging his many followers to join him on his unconventional path.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The World's Silliest Empire

[L’Empire le plus stupide de l’Histoire]

I couldn't help but notice that over the past few weeks the Empire has become extremely silly—so silly that I believe it deserves the title of the World's Silliest Empire. One could claim that it has been silly before, but recent developments seem to signal a quantum leap in its silliness level.

The first bit of extreme silliness surfaced when Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of the United States Central Command, told a Senate panel that only a very small number of Syrian fighters trained by the United States remained in the fight—perhaps as few as five. The tab for training and equipping them was $500 million. That's $100 million per fighter, but that's OK, because it's all good as long as the military contractors are getting paid. Things got even sillier when it later turned out that even these few fighters got car-jacked by ISIS/al Qaeda in Syria (whatever they are currently calling themselves) and got their vehicles and weapons taken away from them.