Each decade, when it seems as if the world is an imploding snowglobe, Chicago’s Yeti community takes a furlough from the deep places of the city to pounce on these ideal mating conditions. Please do not feed the Yetis.
If you can’t see the sign, the sign can’t see you either…Go ahead, do it.
About 20 feet out onto the lake I realized I was about 20 feet out onto the lake.
Good thing I never leave home without my floaties.
Benedetto Bufalino and Benedict Deseille conceived of this light installation for the Festival of Trees and Lights in Geneva, Switzerland. Have a look at installations from previous festivals here and here…
Nations will be swallowed by oceans.
Imagine a gray Saturday morning fifty, thirty, or even twenty years from today – You wake up hungover, groggy, jonesing for Advil. Pouring yourself a cup of coffee you instruct your iHome, in charge of optimizing your apartment’s everyday functions, to increase the shading of your windows “For fuck’s sake…”. You enter your living room and tell the iHome to put on today’s news.
While the projector lowers from a panel in the ceiling a La-Z-Boy slides from a nook in the wall into a comfortable reclining posture on your floor, revealing in the otherwise empty space left behind a small painting conceived of by a once-revered street artist who in his old age has completed the gradual transition to a fiscally, as well as socially, conservative venture capitalist.
The projector beams a background onto your now opaque windows as a holographic news set calibrates itself to the available space in your living room. With a typical news room format displayed as a holgoram in front of you, you attach a remote to your fingertips and activate the ‘World News’ section of the 3D news room. You are whisked away, virtually, to a live satellite feed of the pastel-colored, sun-bleached, long-abandoned highrises typifying Male, the former seat of government of the Maldives. It is the largest former island nation yet to become completely overcome by any of the oceans.
You maintain your distance from the news story personally, emotionally, ideologically. It is just that – another news story meant to distract you until the Advil kicks in and you are able to get on with the work that you didn’t have the time to finish during the week.
Why should you be surprised? You shouldn’t be. You aren’t. This has been coming for years. Everyone knew it would happen. Today is just the same as any other day. This event just culminated at random today. There is no significance to the timing. Nothing special about today.
Why does it matter that the water has completely submerged the Maldives? It doesn’t. The island has long since been evacuated. Nobody was living in any of those buildings. The saltwater tides had risen time and again and flooded the entire landmass, making the ground completely inarable. Nothing could be grown there anyways, the people had to move. Simple as that. All this achieves is a sense of finality to an event that has been building for years. It’s symbolic, nothing more. You don’t care for symbols.
“Why should I care?”, you think to yourself. “I shouldn’t. I don’t. The government of the Maldives and all of the Maldivians have been relocated to an uninhabited swathe of Western Australia. There’s nothing but open land there for them anyways and more of it than they ever had before, by far. Perfect solution. People safe, government relocated. Situation resolved. End of story.”
“Why is this even news-worthy? It’s not. Fuck it.” You’re already watching something else…
As icebergs the size of Rhode Island and ice sheets nearly as large a Greenland melt at accelerating rates, ocean levels continue to rise. Shockingly enough, we have not yet engineered the technology to allow islands to float (I believed that islands floated like icebergs for an embarrassingly long time).
Rising oceans = Submerging islands.
Submerging islands = Displaced people and displaced governments.
The individuals displaced in this way have been given the label ‘environmental refugee’ or ‘climate refugee’, while the nations to which they belong and which are gradually being devoured by oceans have some preparations to make. The Maldives, Barbados, the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu - this is just a sampling of the places which we will be hearing much more about in the coming decades. To read more about a few of these places click below -
This is already one of the great politico-environmental dilemmas known to face us in the future, one which will gain increasing significance with the passage of time. The future is now. The issues require that preparatory measures be put in place currently in order that environmental refugees (and much of the world in fact, as around 10% of the inhabitants of our planet live on the coast at an elevation of 33ft or less) that become displaced are not ignored to suffer due to the excessively consumptive and unsustainable habits practiced in the developed and developing world.
All of the citizens of the majority of island nations will eventually become environmental refugees. This will mean that significant tracts of land must be set aside with materials and food enough to support the reconstruction of their lives. Enormous funding will also be required for these efforts. However, the cost of funding a relatively smooth transition for huge numbers of people will undoubtedly pale in comparison to the enormous cost that will stem from a lack of preparation for large numbers of environmental refugees.
The health and security issues that arise from the squalor that environmental refugees will face if plans are not set in place for them could cripple already-struggling nations. Failed states and significantly larger monetary investments will be avoided by providing the proper, albeit huge, monetary investments in the coming years necessary to developing and maintaining effective contingency plans for what will be an ever-growing number of environmental refugees and the nations which they will logically desire to relocate and rebuild. The environmental refugee and nation-relocation issues require action, cooperation, and international legislation to begin now in preparation for the grand scale of things to come. Here is a brief, fascinating article surrounding the question: If Marshall Islands Sink, Does That Nation Still Exist? Read it here – Marshall Islands
This article about Marshall Islands highlights some very interesting further considerations, different from those above, such as; will they still have a UN seat, will they still have access to and control over the fisheries and underwater minerals to which they currently have a claim, and will they still be a country? Officials from Marshall Islands have asked Climate Change Law experts at Columbia University to help them navigate the complicated international statues applicable to the situation and, when necessary, to push for the elaboration of current statutes and lobby for the shaping of new international laws.
Writing about this makes me so damn angry. Not because I care about refugees or climate change and all that long-haired liberal garbage, but because it reminds me that my descendants will one day be able to snorkel through the streets of the Maldives…
(Pictured above; Male, capital of the Maldives. Future underwater snorkeling hot spot.)
Then again some of the most astonishing places to have formed on earth since the dawn of man will only be available to them in pictures and postcards, but no, damn them for they will be able to snorkel through a real life Atlantis.
If you are as full of spite as I am and don’t think it’s fair that your descendants will have way sweeter snorkeling spots than you ever had then find ways to consume less and live in a sustainable way. It will take a concerted, global effort, but together we can make it so that our children won’t have a better world than we have.
Have a look at this gorgeous photography inspired by the concept of environmental refugees (and for anyone less aesthetically predisposed, there are boobies in the pictures so if for no other reason…) – Oliver Regueiro – Gallery
At least in terms of a human timescale…
Among the many server locations safeguarding the information being released by Wikileaks one stands above the rest. The “Wikileaks Bunker” is located almost 100 ft. underground, beneath the White Mountains in Stockholm, Sweden. The bunker was originally dug out as a bomb shelter in 1943. Only later, as a precautionary measure during the Cold War, did it become a bunker capable of withstanding a direct impact from an atomic bomb in order to protect key Swedish cabinet members.
The servers are hosted by Bahnhof AB, an internet hosting company that decided it was necessary to blast through yet more of the mountain to create space for generators taken from decommissioned German submarines so that even if the world above is wiped off the grid, the servers will remain online.
Thanks to RiaNovosti and Time for the great Photo Essays and Gizmodo for the pictures.
Each are worth a look:
There were helicopters playing tag over Lake Michigan throughout the late morning…at least, that’s what I assumed they were doing. Better yet! They were covering the story of a coyote that became stranded on an ice floe after, one may only assume, The Roadrunner tricked it into so doing.
The coyote was spotted around 9:30 this morning and was rescued around 11am by a city Animal Care and Control worker. The coyote, now misnamed “Holly” (Wile E. Coyote was clearly embarrassed and so gave a fake name to his rescuers). Woooot WOOOOOOOOT!
Awesome news for Holly and the combined efforts of the Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Animal Care and Control. Great job dudes. Thanks to Chicagobreakingnews.com for pictures and info on the story.
PUMMELVISION renders beautifully what those last few moments of your life might look like - when your synapses fire at random revealing to you all of the memories and meaning of your time on earth – minus the whole ‘last thing you’ll ever see’ part.
Created by Jake Lodwick, Pummelvision arranges your photos from a few major social networking sites into a captivating, seizure-inducingly fresh slideshow accompanied by sounds to help calibrate your eyes to the icky thump in your ears.
What to do now…Head to the site, link it to your facebook, tumblr, or flickr accounts (or all of them!), tell it where to blast your video, notify whoever you want, then remember to blink as your best, brightest, and least-in-focus moments of your past hurtle through your LCD
Ever find yourself in an absurd situation? These posters from Minga at Creative Overflow help get to the core of what you were really feeling when you realized you were in too deep…
The Hyena & Other Men is a collection of photographs from Pieter Hugo, a South African photographer whose first exhibition ended just a few days ago at Le Brass, a Center for Contemporary Art in Brussels.
Hugo explains how he chanced upon the opportunity to shoot these images saying, “A friend emailed me an image taken on a cellphone through a car window in Lagos, Nigeria, which depicted a group of men walking down the street with a hyena in chains. A few days later I saw the image reproduced in a South African newspaper with the caption ‘The Streets of Lagos’. Nigerian newspapers reported that these men were bank robbers, bodyguards, drug dealers, debt collectors. Myths surrounded them. The image captivated me.”
The men are known in Hausa as Gadawan Kura — hyena handlers. When Pieter Hugo caught up with them he discovered a bizarre collection of people and animals consisting of a few men, a little girl, three hyenas, four primates, and some rock pythons. Hugo found out that contrary to the seedy, dangerous professions used to romanticize the hyena men, they were instead a group of traveling performers and medicine vendors. During Pieter Hugo’s eight days traveling with the troupe, he found out that they were in fact all related and that their trade had been passed down through generations.
The relaxed intensity in Hugo’s photographs is due, as he says, to “the paradoxical relationship that the handlers have with their animals – sometimes doting and affectionate, sometimes brutal and cruel.”
A story worth reading…
“I agreed to travel with the animal wranglers to Kanu in the northern part of the country. One of them set out to negotiate a fare with a taxi driver; everyone else, including myself and the hyenas, monkeys and rock pythons, hid in the bushes. When their companion signalled that he had agreed on a fare, the motley troupe of humans and animals leapt out from behind the bushes and jumped into the vehicle. The taxi driver was completely horrified. I sat upfront with a monkey and the driver. He drove like an absolute maniac. At one stage the monkey was terrified by his driving. It grabbed hold of my leg and stared into my eyes. I could see its fear.”
A recent article that was brought to my attention highlights a seemingly disconcerting development in the Chicago Police Department’s policies regarding tasing.
The article, which you can read in its brief entirety here, states that the CPD’s taser use increased 346% from 197 uses in 2009 to 683 tases this year…and the year isn’t quite over. This increase is most likely attributable to the CPD doubling the number of tasers in officers’ hands. The article, with which I disagree on some points, further attributes a portion of this increase to a change in CPD policy such that no longer does each incident in which a taser is used require an investigation. The reason for this change is that the CPD was overwhelmed by the case load that resulted from the previous policy. Instead the incidents that will be investigated will include only those in which; there is an allegation of police misconduct, a death or injury results from the use of the taser, or a taser is used on a minor or a senior citizen (WGN News).
I’m split on this one because while I don’t like the growing trend of tasers being used unnecessarily simply because they are (almost always) non-lethal, I also do not like the idea of people being shot and killed unnecessarily in the sorts of situations now able to be “defused” through the use of a taser.
The use of guns in urban policing serves as a microcosm for the types of problems facing countries locked in nuclear standoffs (think India – Pakistan currently, or U.S.A. – U.S.S.R. of yore…):
1. The introduction of guns into a situation makes it possible for the situation to escalate to the point of gun use (obvious, but very important for this).
2. The parties involved in the situation have not encountered one another before and so most likely they are unsure how the other may react, because of this they prepare and react for the worst.
3. The use of a gun is seen as a gamechanging option by the involved parties in that it is both their perceived-final option and a game-ending option for one of the involved parties.
4. The involvement of a gun in a situation reduces the time horizon of the involved parties which, when combined with the escalation in intensity of the situation, leads to the development of very unstable situations facilitated by guns.
5. The outcome of these unstable situations is literally seen as life or death for both parties and so the most reasonable choice for the parties to make in many of these unstable situations is to discharge a weapon not to kill the other party, but to prevent oneself from being killed by the other party.
Guns create, in my mind, a sort of urban policing “nuclear” game while tasers, though still dangerous and having the potential for more frequent misconduct, do not escalate a minority of highest-risk situations as does the use of a gun. I support the appropriate use of stun guns. When they are used inappropriately I believe that they make misconduct that much more obvious, making it easier to root out cops that engage in misconduct (which gets to the core of what is really needed for better policing).
This monologue alone warrants an Emmy for outstanding writing for The Colbert Report…watch from 2:54 on – The Colbert Report