Dave Pollard's chronicle of civilization's collapse, creative works and essays on our culture.
A trail of crumbs, runes and exclamations along my path in search of a better way to live and make a living, and a better understanding of how the world really works.

November 29, 2009

Links and Tweets for the Week — November 29, 2009

Filed under: Preparing for Civilization's End — Dave Pollard @ 22:29

hicks-jenkins mari lwyd
“Stumble” from the Mari Lwyd series by Clive Hicks-Jenkins


The Transition Movement’s Founder at TED: “What is most distressing when I speak with climate scientists is the increasingly terrified look I see in their eyes as each new study that is published.” Rob Hopkins explains the astonishing energy efficiency of oil, and how our lives have come to be utterly dependent on it. “The [absurd] idea that prevails at events like these TED Talks is that technology can somehow solve everything, and get us through this completely, that we can invent our way out of a profound economic and energy crisis.” A good summary of the Transition Response as a movement that shares its successes and learns from its mistakes, and adapts to the unique situation of each community. Thanks to Sheri Herndon for the link.

Medicated America: Melissa Holbrook Pierson: “In the line we desultorily watch four white-coated employees beyond the counter scurrying to fill the prescriptions, click-clicking little tablets by the hundreds into bottles and then white paper sacks. In a mirror image beyond them, another white-coated employee tends to the cars that have pulled up outside in the dark to a window with a microphone in it. The only money changing hands this night is doing so over drugs.”

Guerrilla Software: John Robb describes the essential attributes of software that helps activists get things done. What he describes sounds amazingly like Google Wave. Thanks to David Parkinson for the link and the one that follows.

Cellular Organization Can Work for Activists Too: The kind of cellular organization used so effectively by churches (and terrorists) can also help coordinate and encourage grassroots activism, according to a new book.

Pollution Now Causes 40% of Deaths: The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, now cause diseases that ultimately kill almost half of us. Overcrowding, malnutrition, poor sanitation and unhealthy diets, combined with the industrial agricultural system and inadequate and unenforced pollution laws underlie this high and growing mortality rate. Thanks to Paul Heft for the link.


A Plea to Become Vegan: As a result of the ADA study I reported on recently (that vegan diets can be perfectly healthy diets), and some other persuasive articles readers have sent me, I’m now taking the step to become vegan. This is a challenge: A recent shopping trip to buy two weeks’ worth of food took me over an hour, most of it spent reading labels. It also means sometimes foregoing local and organic foods to get enough variety in your diet. Gary Steiner’s recent piece in the NYT has encouraged me — it’s a straight-forward, unemotional explanation of why, if you care about animal cruelty and suffering, vegan is the only way to go.

A Lesson on Improvision: In the New Yorker, a brief story of how a librarian exemplifies improvisation in the kitchen. Thanks to Chris Corrigan for the link.


How the US (Still) Funds the Taliban: If you read this and can still understand why Obama isn’t immediately withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan (let alone proposing to increase troop levels), please explain it to me. And Malalai Joya, the country’s bravest politician, says US troops are just making the situation worse. Thanks to Eric Lilius and Raffi Aftandelian for the links.

Tar Sands Water Waste Ignored: Another study shows that Canada’s federal and provincial governments are ignoring the laws designed to protect the country’s fresh water, and allowing Tar Sands developers a free pass to pollute. More evidence we cannot rely on Canada’s “bought” Conservative governments to police or limit this atrocity.

Greed Stifles Innovation: Greedy corporatists, preying on obsolete and fuzzy intellectual property laws and corruptible officials, are copyrighting and patenting everything, and then sic’ing armies of lawyers on anyone encroaching on their ‘property rights’. The effect is to discourage and penalize innovation and increase costs for everyone. Thanks to Jerry Michalski for the link.


An amazing presentation by Colleen Wainwright, that, as a fellow auto-immune disease sufferer, sent shivers right through me.

The stunning artwork of Clive Hicks-Jenkins (sample at the top of this post) is generously shared and described on the author’s “art-log”. Thanks to Dave Bonta for the link.

Great spoof of Amazon for buy-nothing day. Read the whole thing. Thanks to Keith Farnish for the link.


From Christopher Isherwood back in 1966 (thanks to Dave Smith for the link):

To live sanely in Los Angeles (or, I suppose, in any other large American city) you have to cultivate the art of staying awake. You must learn to resist (firmly but not tensely) the unceasing hypnotic suggestions of the radio, the billboards, the movies and the newspapers; those demon voices which are forever whispering in your ear what you should desire, what you should fear, what you should wear and eat and drink and enjoy, what you should think and do and be. They have planned a life for you — from the cradle to the grave and beyond — which it would be easy, fatally easy!, to accept. The least wandering of the attention, the least relaxation of your awareness, and already the eyelids begin to droop, the eyes grow vacant, the body starts to move in obedience to the hypnotist’s command. Wake up, wake up — before you sign that seven-year contract, buy that house you don’t really want, marry that girl you secretly despise. Don’t reach for the whiskey, that won’t help you. You’ve got to think, to discriminate, to exercise your own free will and judgment. And you must do this, I repeat, without tension, quite rationally and calmly. For if you give way to fury against the hypnotists, if you smash the radio and tear the newspapers to shreds, you will only rush to the other extreme and fossilize into defiant eccentricity.

From my friend Sara in Second Life: “I have to hide me at work.”

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