on the road

Moved out of Allenby on the weekend. It has been a hell of a year. (Only a year!?)

Going camping for a week or so. It will be good to get out of the city for a while.

Peace.

some quick surfing

A fun grab bag of curiously related informations from the internets.

Basra Violence Down 90 Percent.

But why, you ask?

BAGHDAD (AP) — Attacks against British and Iraqi forces have plunged by 90 percent in southern Iraq since London withdrew its troops from the main city of Basra, the commander of British forces there said.

The presence of British forces in downtown Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, was the single largest instigator of violence, Maj. Gen. Graham Binns told reporters Thursday on a visit to Baghdad’s Green Zone.

“We thought, ‘If 90 percent of the violence is directed at us, what would happen if we stepped back?'” Binns said.

Britain’s 5,000 troops moved out of a former Saddam Hussein palace at Basra’s heart in early September, setting up a garrison at an airport on the city’s edge. Since that pullback, there’s been a “remarkable and dramatic drop in attacks,” Binns said.

“The motivation for attacking us was gone, because we’re no longer patrolling the streets,” he said.

That’s why.

Of course, More US military veterans kill themselves each year than soldiers have died so far in Iraq.

MORE US military veterans had killed themselves in one year than the number of American soldiers who have died in Iraq since 2003, it was claimed yesterday.

At least 6256 US veterans took their own lives in 2005, at an average of 17 a day, according to figures broadcast last night. Former servicemen are more than twice as likely than the rest of the population to commit suicide.

Such statistics compare to the total 3863 US military deaths in Iraq since the invasion in 2003 — an average of 2.4 a day, according to the website icasualties.org.

Interesting article on social software, the internet, and electronically mediated communication in general.

Those of us older than 25 can’t imagine a life without e-mail. For the Facebook generation, it’s hard to imagine a life of only e-mail, much less a life before it. I

[…]

Thinking more practically, there’s now a generation gap between first-generation and second-generation Internet users.

Meanwhile, the lawsuit that could unravel Fox news

Let’s linger over that for a moment. Two executives of a major news organisation may have told a citizen to lie to federal investigators to protect a presidential candidate. It’s a stunning charge. If proven someday, Fox will no longer be able to hide behind the fiction that it’s a neutral news outfit.

And what does Rupert Murdoch think about new communications technologies?

Rupert Murdoch, at conference: If you wanted to stalk a young girl, it’d be much easier to do on Facebook than MySpace.
Conference attendee: Douche chill…

–Grand Hyatt Hotel

Finally, if you regularly read only one international news summary page, what does it mean is still really fascinating.

Idle Faction, 2002-2007

The final ever Idle Faction gig was awesome fun. Huge thanks to all who came along and jumped around. 🙂

Goodbye to all that
I don’t know but I had fun
Goodbye to all that
I don’t remember but I had a great time

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

is really nothing much like Blade Runner, and a hell of a lot better.

Recommended.

catching the big fish

I read David Lynch’s book on meditation, consciousness and creativity the other day. It is very short and well worth a look, for anyone interested in Lynch’s work, and creativity in general. As a warning, though, it may well convince you to start meditating.

The creative process Lynch describes is more like my own than any other artist I am aware of. Usually I look at people in terror when they describe how their processes work. Reading it strongly strongly reminds me how central meditation, tai chi and whatnot have been to the routines that work for me when I am being creative and productive.

Oh: and he has no idea what was up with the box and the key from Mulholland Drive 😛

an evening of net access and we revert to the moose of old

Project Censored have released their picks for this year’s most censored news stories of 2007/8.

As usual it is well worth reading, with quite a bit of WTF!?. #1, #2 and #6 all made me shudder for the future of America.

I particularly liked #16, though: No Hard Evidence Connecting Bin Laden to 9/11

Osama bin Laden’s role in the events of September 11, 2001 is not mentioned on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” poster.
On June 5, 2006, author Ed Haas contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters to ask why, while claiming that bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 1998 bombings of US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the poster does not indicate that he is wanted in connection with the events of 9/11.
Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI responded, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.”
[…]
Haas pauses to ask the question, “If the US government does not have enough hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11, how is it possible that it had enough evidence to invade Afghanistan to ‘smoke him out of his cave?’”

Gee.

in motion

and so the future begins

Life After Oil

A few weeks back I went to see Richard Heinberg , one of the world’s leading peak oil experts, speak about Life After Oil. It was a refreshing kick in the ass from one who has mastered the material.

Not sure I have time to do the content justice, and I have talked about this stuff before (notably the analysis in the “dear Ethel” posts seems to be become more relevant), but here are the key points:

* a century of cheap energy has fueled the economic growth and lifestyle we have become accustomed to.

* we are probably already in the peaking period – production seems to be declining at about 1%/year – remaining unexploited reserves are hard to get

* available oil exports will shrink before peak and shrink much more rapidly than peak, as exporters/producers own increasing consumption will cut into available exports

(ie) peak oil means supply problems well before we run out

* mitigation must happen a decade in advance to be effective, otherwise price increases and volatility will cause huge social, economic and political costs with unprecedented risks

* the market will not solve this problem – the price signal comes too late

* solutions exist but take 20-25 years to implement; we need action now.

* our dependence on fossil fuels is cause of both peak oil and climate change

* our best hope is a proactive response, and slow decline of reserves. we can do something about only one of those. fundamentally we need behaviour change that is presently politically unfeasible

If you are interested in the policy or government level of this, check out
Post Carbon Cities
.