Feb 2007

Catching up

While I was away struggling with the short days and the gloom, the rest of the world saw fit to continue doing it’s thing as though my participation were utterly irrelevant. I thought that was rather impolite of it, but figured I wouldn’t kick up a big fuss as everyone seemed to be having such a good time. And why let all that mulled wine go to waste, eh?

All the same, I think a quick recap of the news over the past few months is in order, with perhaps a brief comment from yours truly… the kind of comment that probably would have turned the tide of debate on the issue and brought about a swift and equitable resolution had I made it in a timely fashion. Now though, it’ll just seem like staggeringly obvious hindsight. But if staggeringly obvious hindsight isn’t what blogging is all about, then I for one don’t know what is!

Before I get onto that though, let me pass on a couple of links that have floated my way and which are particularly noteworthy. First up is the silly, wry and very funny short film, Pitch’n’Putt with Beckett and Joyce, which came via email from Gyrus. Favourite line: “No! Not a Milky Way! A Topic You Arse! (all fecund in its nuttiness)”. Go and watch it… you’ll understand.

Also via Gyrus (I think) is this; The World’s 12 Worst Ideas. I actually disagree with a couple of Fred Halliday’s points (for example, when people say “the world is speeding up”, I believe they are describing a very real phenomenon even if they have chosen a clumsy phrase to express it) but it’s nevertheless a very interesting and perceptive little piece.

Oh, and one other thing from Gyrus… this time his review of David W. Kidner’s Nature & Psyche: Radical Environmentalism and the Politics of Subjectivity. I’m just about to start reading this, and it looks absolutely excellent.

Recent Oniony goodness (usually via email from Mahalia) included Meth Addicts Demand Government Address Nation’s Growing Spider Menace, Kansas Outlaws Practice Of Evolution and the short but sweet White House Quietly Retracts Entire State Of The Union Address.

But what of world events and international shenanigans? What of them?

What indeed.

Looking for satellites

One thing that leapt out at me, though didn’t make as big a splash as perhaps it might have done, was the news that China has zapped an orbiting satellite with a ground-launched missile. I wonder if there was a West Wing moment in the the White House, where Dubya faced the Joint Chiefs and asked, “so what contingencies do we have to defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion without the use of satellite surveillance, communication or navigation?” and one by one the assembled brass all shook their heads and looked down at the desk in front of them.

You have to admit, it was a masterstroke by the Chinese. In one fell swoop it completely alters the military situation around Taiwan. I’ll bet there’s some very busy folks at the pentagon right now. I noticed some muted complaints coming from Washington. But not only is that all a bit pots and kettles… who really wants to piss off China?

Comin’ over here, stealin’ our jobs…

My eye was also caught by this – far smaller – story: Ecuadorean footballer rebuilds village. It’s about Ulises de la Cruz, a professional footballer playing for premiership side, Reading FC. Mr. de la Cruz is using his great success (premiership football is a goldmine) to help drag his home village out of poverty. He’s sending back the money to build homes, schools and community centres and the village of Piquiucho is benefiting marvellously from their famous son.

And good for them too! I’m just amused by the media… the fact that de la Cruz’s celebrity and wealth means that he’s celebrated for his “philanthropy”, whereas if he were a labourer on a building site sending half his paypacket home to his family in Piquiucho then he’d just be some bloody immigrant syphoning money out of the British economy.

Climate Change

Of course Climate Change has recently hit the headlines like never before. The combination of the extremely emphatic IPCC report and Al Gore’s lightweight but popular An Inconvenient Truth has really stirred things up. And about time too. Of course, Climate Change – like Peak Oil – is what James Kunstler describes as “a long emergency”. It’ll be difficult to keep people engaged with this issue when the climate doesn’t make some sudden, obvious change in a couple of months. That said, this emergency won’t be stretched over a long enough time so as to be unnoticeable. Millions of people are being, and will be, seriously affected by it. I’ve got a long piece in the works regarding the environmental policies of Ireland’s main energy supplier, Bord Gáis, so I’ll not say too much on the subject now. Except to point you at this excellent piece on the BBC website: The semantics of climate change. And – more importantly if you live in the UK – please read Merrick‘s excellent piece, How Green Is Green Electricity? and act accordingly.

Merrick (from his other blog) is also providing the soundtrack to these times. Go listen to the orchestral version of The The‘s wonderful Armageddon Days Are Here (Again). What a track!

Posted in: Opinion