inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #26 of 131: Uncle Jax, the Nicest Asshole on the Well (jax) Sun 4 Jan 04 10:48
    
You're confusing big talk on the Internet with will, purpose and
stamina. :-)
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #27 of 131: Ted (nukem777) Sun 4 Jan 04 10:55
    
I guess.  But if the Dean blog is proving anything, and I'm not sure
that it is -- Iowa and New Hampshire will tell if there is anything
real behind the supposed momentum -- then there is some hope for some
consensus of will, etc that might be formed on the Net. 

I think what I'm getting at is whether or not the Net can provide that
kind of forum; if there is a new potential for electronic town halls,
etc. 
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #28 of 131: Uncle Jax, the Nicest Asshole on the Well (jax) Sun 4 Jan 04 10:59
    
It's like the One Ring -- it gives power according the stature.

The probelm with American democracy isn't the channels of expression:
the democracy throve when men rode horses for days through the spring
mud to make stump speeches.

No, it's the ease and comfort and jealous guardianship of wealth and
world empire that's killing democracy. "Luxury lies upon us like
a vampire / Avenging the captive nations we brought to heel" said
Juvenal 1900 years ago in Imperial Rome.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #29 of 131: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 4 Jan 04 17:05
    
My recollection is that the One Ring assigns power to any entity (with
opposable thumbs and a ring finger) that happens to possess it. What 
varies is tolerance: power corrupts the flesh and, where the flesh is 
weak, power destroys it.

So who is Sauron in today's world? And who is Frodo?  
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #30 of 131: The Fucked-Up Piano Chicks (magdalen) Sun 4 Jan 04 17:31
    

and where are the hot elf babes?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #31 of 131: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Sun 4 Jan 04 19:05
    
Flashback to Bookpeople a few months ago, you're plugging your new book and
comparing the eminent invasion of Iraq to the Chechnyan ordeal.  And you
were making projections.  How have those projections been shaping up and how
has the Iraq War progressing vis a vis your prediction of that event?

Who will win the Presidential election this year?

Who will the Dems nominate?  Who should they nominate?

What's going to be the deciding factor in the Presidential campaign this
year?  (akin to "it's the economy stupid")
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #32 of 131: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 4 Jan 04 21:08
    
Flashback to Bookpeople a few months ago, you're plugging your new
book and
comparing the eminent invasion of Iraq to the Chechnyan ordeal.  And
you
were making projections.  How have those projections been shaping up
and how
has the Iraq War progressing vis a vis your prediction of that event?

*The Iraqis aren't fighting anywhere near so hard as the Chechnyans.

Here are my musings from two years ago.

From: Bruce Sterling 
Date: 9.21.01 

In addressing the question of "What Now?" I want to speculate freely
on what might happen on a large scale in the near term. Here are some
rough scenarios, with my even vaguer estimate of their likelihood. 

A. Aum Shinry Kyo II. The malefactors of September 11 are rounded up
with little effort, because they are not genuine provocateurs of a
Clash of Civilizations; they are merely nuts. Only distantly connected
to any serious revolutionary terrorist, they are in fact an obscure
splinter cult who are mostly dead at their own hands. The suffering of
New York City is seen in retrospect, not as a grand battle over any
principle worth fighting for, but as a simple aberration that is both
tragic and crazy, a loathsome, Jonestown-like phenomenon. No particular
lessons are learned, very little changes in the global scene, but
there's a lasting blow to general morale and to humanity's assessment
of itself. Society is saddened and sickened, and people around the
world are often seen to hesitate before setting foot in a subway or
airliner. Probability: 15% 

B. Gulf War III. After a great deal of angst and sword-sharpening,
there's a quick, surprising Coalition victory. Those who promised a
ruthless struggle to the death in the Mother of All Battles are
revealed as blowhards. Suicide bombing cells turn out to be careless
and unprofessional terrorists, who are easily rounded up by street-wise
cops. Americans and allies go back to their barracks, leaving a few
extra Southwest Asian bases to keep guard on the troublemakers. A
war-leader President with the gratitude of a relieved nation loses his
re-election due to economic troubles.
Probability: 25% 

C. Cold War II. A sustained ideological and economic struggle sets in
between the G-8 and the world's poorest and bitterest countries. There
are numerous hot-war flare-ups, much narco-terror, a great deal of
ruthless, paramilitary spy skullduggery, and considerable civil dissent
from dissidents in the West unable to morally stomach this grinding,
Balkan-style dirty war. McCarthyism and witch-hunts flare up, while the
sentiment of "Viva Osama" moves to a simmering Central America. There
is huge, inflationary spending on imaginary, symbolic, and unusable
super-weapons. The general American population is put under a level of
police surveillance previously available only to American black people.
This grinds on for decades, with America gamely bearing-any-burden, on
until the opposition loses all heart and begins drinking itself to
death. Probability: 15% 

D (1). Pearl Harbor Straight to Bretton Woods. Since there really is
no military enemy to fight — a few nasty guys with boxcutters — there
is a general economic and diplomatic rearrangement, without WWII's ugly
bother of bombing and sacking whole continents. The original enemy — a
rather vaporous notion of "terrorism" — is quickly lost sight of in a
general, very wide-scale, geopolitical emergence into 21st century
Modernity. This global New Deal moves Russia, China, Cuba, Vietnam and
other longterm pariahs into the "Civilized" camp, while the broken
nations that are today considered basket-cases are made into
blue-helmet protectorates. The Second World vanishes. From now on,
there's just two sides: Real People, and some pariahs. 

Among the Real People, there is a great deal of general housecleaning:
currency reforms, arms reduction, climate treaties, economic
rationalization, demolition of trade barriers, labor laws, emigration,
all that sort of thing. Everybody else — The People Without Plumbing,
basically — have to live off a combination of empty threats and
emergency handouts. 

Oddly, the one major power least likely to join the Real People is
probably the United States, but the USA may have a grudging unilateral
role as a kind of Third Way or Loyal Opposition. 

D (2) . 1989 Redux. Upset and alarmed by the unnecessary global mayhem
so cynically triggering by madmen, civil society takes to the streets
worldwide in a touching display of aspiration and political maturity.
Democratization sweeps the Moslem world in a second wave of Velvet
Revolution. A grateful mankind sees the martyrs of New York as the
unwitting harbingers of a better and kinder way of life, which is full
of caring, solidarity, human rights and social justice. This scenario
is basically the same as D(1), but seen from the other side of the WTO
fence and the Genoa barriers. Since Al Qaeda can't distinguish a
Western radical from a Western capitalist, they are both in the same
boat now and can henceforth work in tandem.
Probability: 20% 

E. Greater Afghanistan. The Coalition suffers an outright military
defeat at the hands of indomitable armed peasants, in a ruthless,
bloody, punjee-stick dirty war, possibly combined with an
unconventional use of weapons of mass destruction. NYC 9.11 turns out
to be just the first of a series of bloody Tamerlane-style attacks from
a growing and increasingly frenzied horde of enemies of the West.
Nerve-shattered, the West takes the last copter from the Saudi embassy
and sues for peace. 

This Qaeda victory scenario has a number of variants, which could
exist singly or in combination. 

E1. The Empire Formerly Known As NATO. The US bears the blunt of blame
for its clumsy handling of the global conflict, which relied so
fatally on the so-called strength of America's arrogant and untenable
free-market ideology. The defeated Alliance splits up much like its
former mirror image, the Warsaw Pact. Without Persian Gulf oil, the
American economy and its war machine both collapse. Severe discord and
disillusionment ensues, with crime and corruption skyrocketing.
Desperate Russian women leave the streets of every capital in the world
and are replaced by desperate American women. 

E2(A). The Great Terror. A victory by fanatics careless of life
becomes a giant Khmer Rouge-style death machine for Islam; the Aztec
charisma of a Qaeda cult requires ever-greater human sacrifice,
especially of one's own. A 12th-century lifestyle can only sustain a
12th-century population. 

E2(B). A Grand Caliphate. With malignant American and Jewish influence
finally scorched from the holy lands of the Umma, a new Golden Age of
just and tolerant Universal Islam ensues. It's ruled by Sharia law,
under a wise and merciful Caliph who re-unites Sunni and Shi'a and
outshines Haroun Al Rashid. A grateful mankind erects many grand and
glorious mosques in memory of the warrior saints of Islamic
fundamentalism; men whose tactics were rather rough, but in the eyes of
history, fully justified. Combined probability of any of the E
variants: 10% 

F. America Goes Bonkers. The globe's worst fears of a paranoid "Cowboy
America" come true, as further terror provocations decapitate the
American nation. A ferocious nuclear power, eyeballs gone rigid with a
crazed lust for vengeance, launches a massive thermonuclear lynching
spree. Probability: 2 % 

G. Many More Wild Cards. This is neither an "age of terror" nor an
"age of freedom". This is an age of random calamities. It's a genuine
end of history, in which the passage of time in human affairs no longer
has any rules as we previously understood them. There is no great
historical narrative at hand, nor is there any grand scheme by which a
rational analyst can make useful sense of events. NYC 9.11 is quickly
eclipsed by other, biggest factors even more untoward and shocking:
perhaps dumber acts of terror by even smaller groups, plus some
Greenhouse calamities, an asteroid strike, some brand-new plagues, or
even free beer and five cent nano-genetic intelligent cigars. Humankind
has lost all control of our destiny and nothing can restore it.
Probability: 3% 

H. None of the Above.
Probability: 10 

******************************************************

*At the moment we seem to be muddling along somewhere between
"B" and "C."  "D(2)" would now be officially dignified with the term
"the Brasilia Consensus", but it remains to be seen if it can get
any traction.

http://www.iht.com/articles/122604.html


Who will win the Presidential election this year?

*If bin Laden is still alive, that's pretty much his decision.
We Americans have never before forfeited so much
initiative to an enemy.

Who will the Dems nominate?  Who should they nominate?

*I'd suggest nominating a competent technocrat who
can actually govern a major power, but when one
looks across the political landscape there is just
not a lot of depth of talent in anybody's politics anywhere.
That would include not just the USA but Britain,
Germany, Italy, France, Japan, and maybe Canada.
The only political figure I see with serious stature
right now is Lula from Brazil, and he's from Brazil,
for heaven's sake.

*The entire planet is politically weak.  We're really
at sixes and sevens.  It's amazing that a blatant
suicide cult like Al Qaeda has been able to push
us all around for years on end now.  We didn't used
to flinch that way when we were facing the
Soviet Union, a superpower run by Stalin
and bristling with atom bombs.  If we had any
idea of what we wanted and how to get there,
their grotesque parody of visionary glamor would
have faded long ago.  We have a "dream gap" with
the Mujihadeen because our own politics are so
blatantly vapid.

What's going to be the deciding factor in the Presidential campaign
this
year?  (akin to "it's the economy stupid")

*I don't think the American political establishment
has enough initiative to supply its own deciding factors.
If the Special Forces manage to drag bin Laden out of
a rathole, that could do it right there.  Alternatively,
if the Moodge get lucky on their third attempt and
kill Musharraf, we could see a major-league
Pakistani bloodbath that would be so weird,
scary and freaky that everything done since 9/11
would seem sort of childishly misguided and irrelevant.

Or the dollar could implode, or there could
be the mother of all Enron - Parmalat scandals, or
SARS could re-emerge and eat everybody's lunch,
or there could be the long-expected scandalous eruption
of Iran-Contra II, "Iran-Neocontra."  Somebody
could offer the President a blowjob and the
Republic would fall straight to its knees.

I wouldn't be surprised if the political landscape
on election day has as little resemblance to today
as September 12 2000 had with September 12 2001.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #33 of 131: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Sun 4 Jan 04 21:42
    
I see you don't share the commonly held love affair with Dean or Austin's
latest darling, Kucinich (Willie even wrote a song for him).  These guys
don't shake your tree?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #34 of 131: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 5 Jan 04 02:03
    
Maybe this is relevant:

http://www.bopnews.com/archives/000124.html#000124

"And this is the final failure of the long string in Traub's article - he
sees what people who sit in the media bubble think of as America - an
American that is a herd of consumers to be pushed towards which ever image
a small group selects. Who sees politics as a sport - in that it is
decided by a few megamillionaires making inside decisions about which team
it recruits - and that the involvement of the public is limited to buying
tickets, worshipping quarterbacks, and cheering or jeering. 

"And this change, of citizen-participants, willing to follow arguments in
full about the manner and direction of American policy - away from
consumer-voters who care more about how someone looks in a flight suit -
is backed by hard data. The decline of the nightly network news into a
side show demonstrates it - it is the small cable news shows which drive
discussion now, with running commentaries on Meet The Press, Hardball,
Crossfire and Washington Week in Review occuring on forums with thousands
of readers - who then turn and take the impressions they form with their
electronic coffee house companions out as conventional wisdom. Watching
the rating of the big three news programs plunge from virtually every
house with a television set, to less that a fifth of the population should
tell people what they need to know about the decline of image bite, sound
bite and thought bite politics. The mass image still pushes the buttons of
those who follow it, as the "chopped down Christmas tree" that pollkatz
follows, and which bopnews looked at in Post Pop. There is a shock from an
image, and a pop, but the net of conversation and reinforcement that turns
the perception into an immovable factoid isn't there any more. Bush gets a
bounce, but not a boost."

-- Stirling Newberry
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #35 of 131: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 5 Jan 04 02:04
    
While I'm thinking of it: nonmembers of the WELL who are reading this 
interview and have questions or comments can send them to 
inkwell-hosts at well.com, and they'll be posted here.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #36 of 131: virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Mon 5 Jan 04 10:06
    
And here's one now:



Bruce,

How do you see the near-future of energy politics shaping up? The USA 
just parked tanks on a third of the middle east's oil, but now we've 
got to pay the price for actually extracting it. Do you think at some 
point energy independence for the USA is going to make it into 
political consciousness? And if so, from the right or the left wing?

Vinay Gupta
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #37 of 131: from MICHAEL SEMER (tnf) Mon 5 Jan 04 12:41
    


Michael Semer writes:


Is it utterly cynical of me to wonder if the American
"petrocracy's" aims aren't being better suited by
dragging out the "hunt" for Osama until we've secured
all the aims laid out in the Neocons' infamous "Next
American Century" precis?

I'm afraid I can't buy any hooey from the White House
about how we've suddenly become evangelizers for
democracy.  The underlay here is strategic and
capitalistic, and Al Qaeda provides a convenient enemy
at exactly the right moment for the Wolfowitzes of the
world.  Methinks there's a moment of clarity for Osama
and the boys when they see an Iraq or Afghanistan
semihegemonized, rock back, whack their foreheads and
declare, "Crap!  I can't believe we fell for it!"
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #38 of 131: Uncle Jax, the Nicest Asshole on the Well (jax) Mon 5 Jan 04 13:06
    
Well, he may be making the same mistake Bill Clinton did in
thinking the White House really runs things all the time. By
contrast, listen to Bush himself as he struggles to change
the course of the ship of state.

This from
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2003/11/07/bush_urges_mi
deast_to_accept_democracy/

...

In an unusually candid assessment of Mideast policy by a US president,
Bush said decades of support by Washington and its allies of
nondemocratic regimes in the region did not work, but that the United
States had now adopted a "forward strategy of freedom in the Middle
East."

"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of
freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe, because in the
long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty,"
Bush said in a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy, a
federally funded group that promotes democratic efforts worldwide.

...

So there are wheels within wheels. I'm not saying that the policies
adopted are necessarily likely to bring about the desired goals, but
there's apparently some real thinking going on, even inside the
president's cranium.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #39 of 131: Ted (nukem777) Mon 5 Jan 04 13:09
    
I'll third that.  If we hadn't run out of money, I'm thinking we'd be
in Syria right now. 

It does look like Pakistan is the real problem, with very little focus
going on there. Any thoughts as to how that may play out?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #40 of 131: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Mon 5 Jan 04 16:37
    
When's your next Bookpeople gig?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #41 of 131: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 5 Jan 04 18:54
    

Bruce,

How do you see the near-future of energy politics shaping up?

*It doesn't look good.  I would predict continuing
domestic troubles with blackouts and price spikes.
The worst problem is that the near-future of
energy policy was Enron's for the asking, and with
them gone there's nobody left but morons, hucksters
and terrorists.  Enron was no good either!
It's like watching a brothel on fire.

*It's just bound to dawn on people eventually
that oil ruins every government it dominates.
It doesn't matter what race, color or creed you
are, if you put oil people in power they grab
the wellhead, surround it with bayonets and
watch society wither.

*Iraq is just the poster-boy for that.  Venezuela,
Nigeria, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, they all
suffer the curse of oil.  Norway is the 
exception to the rule.  The USA used to do okay,
but as soon as they put oil people in power
they went for the throats of the nearest
available enemy oil clan.  If you think of
the USA as behaving like an average oil-state
right now their behavior makes perfect sense.


 The USA 
just parked tanks on a third of the middle east's oil, but now we've 
got to pay the price for actually extracting it. Do you think at some 
point energy independence for the USA is going to make it into 
political consciousness?

*No, I think this kind of Gandhian economic nationalism
makes no sense.  Energy is always a patchy resource,
and if you live next to Quebec, what's the big deal?
Buy some of their hydropower and sell them maple
syrup or something.

*Personally I buy a lot of Texan wind power,
but it's generated by Danish windmills.

And if so, from the right or the left wing?

*It distresses me to see "right wing energy"
and "left wing energy."  There are people around
who will tear off solar panels because they
were put up by lefties in Birkenstocks.  This
is craziness.  Lenin didn't have a patent on
sunlight.  It's too important an issue for
this kind of Coke-Pepsi partisanship.


Michael Semer writes:


Is it utterly cynical of me to wonder if the American
"petrocracy's" aims aren't being better suited by
dragging out the "hunt" for Osama until we've secured
all the aims laid out in the Neocons' infamous "Next
American Century" precis?

*Yes, that is utterly cynical.  Osama isn't
somebody's pet scorpion.  He tried to put a
plane-full of civilians straight into the White
House.  He attacked the Pentagon and knocked
down two skyscrapers.  He's trying to kill
Musharraf and blow up the Indian Parliament.
You can't trifle with a guy like that for
some kind of piddling domestic advantage.
It's senseless.

*The Iraqi mujihadeen (or whoever they were)
almost killed Wolfowitz with a rocket attack.
I can't imagine that Wolfowitz gets up in
the morning, dusts off his hands and says,
"Oh yeah, gotta fit my pal Ozzie into the
PNAC blueprint here."  

*If the neocons bring Osama's severed head in on a pike
and throw it in front of the cameras of
Al Jazeera, the "New American Century"
is gonna have a boost like nobody's business.


"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of
freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe, because in the
long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty,"
Bush said in a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy, a
federally funded group that promotes democratic efforts worldwide.

*I agree that it's a little late in the day to come up
with a rational policy, but there's no WMD around, and that utter
vacancy in the common-wisdom is so vast and awful and
stunning that the government just has to say *something.*

*Iraq is not gonna be the last seriously disordered
place that is gonna require heavy-duty nation-building.
Call it "Imperialism" or call it what you want,
but huge areas of the planet are sliding right off
the map into septic narco-terror.  Afghanistan,
Chechnya, Congo, Somalia, these guys are living in
the Next Dark Age.  Colombia, Serbia, Argentina,
they're kind of trembling on the brink.  It's
kind of lame and dumb that the US is trying to 
civilize Iraq all by itself now, but if Iraq
turns into a giant flaming intifada, nobody's
gonna be any happier.  If the Order doesn't
figure out ways to at least keep the Disorder
running from place to place, we're gonna
be in a feudal age.

So there are wheels within wheels. I'm not saying that the policies
adopted are necessarily likely to bring about the desired goals, but
there's apparently some real thinking going on, even inside the
president's cranium.

*Hung for a lamb, hung for a sheep. If I were an
Iraqi, I'd want for the Yankees to spend all the 80
billion on bridges and power plants before
I chased them out.  What's the big hurry?
It's not like Americans are ever going to
actually govern Iraq -- they don't know
how to speak Arabic.


I'll third that.  If we hadn't run out of money, I'm thinking we'd be
in Syria right now. 

*We're not out of money.  If Iran makes nice
and Iraq somehow settles down to a dull roar,
Syria is in trouble.

It does look like Pakistan is the real problem, with very little focus
going on there. Any thoughts as to how that may play out?

*I have to say I'm a Pakistan pessimist.  They've failed
so badly in so many ways that I don't know how they
drag themselves out of the tailspin.

*This is kinda my favorite evidence here.  It's
a little dated, but look at India and then look
at that large dark spot next to it that is Pakistan.
Fifty years ago they were the same polity.
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap001127.html

*(Also check out North and South Korea.  Jeez!)
  
*Worse yet, Pakistan is so thickly populated and so huge
that the only power that could enforce order there
is India.  Pakistan used to *be* India, of course.  They
would have stayed India except that they were
afraid that they would have all their throats cut.
It's been fifty years, and while formerly they merely
feared attacks, they've now provided India with five decades'
worth of *good reasons* to cut their throats.  

*The government running India now are people who are the direct heirs
of the guys who shot Mahatma Gandhi. They're tough, nuclear-armed,
grumpy, assertive characters, and they just couldn't
be more swaggeringly pleased with themselves, either.
http://www.magindia.com/multimedia/india151203.html

Oh lord a-mercy.


When's your next Bookpeople gig?

*I got a book out in April, we'll see if any
independent booksellers survive that long.
Or if me and my fans do.  The track record
looks promising, I'm hoping for the best there *8-/
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #42 of 131: Uncle Jax, the Nicest Asshole on the Well (jax) Mon 5 Jan 04 19:05
    
>>"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of
>> freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe, because in the

> *I agree that it's a little late in the day to come up
> with a rational policy, but there's no WMD around, and that utter
> vacancy in the common-wisdom is so vast and awful and
> stunning that the government just has to say *something.*

Bruce, with all due respect, that's the "we wept to you and you did
not mourn, we piped to you and you did not dance" fallacy first
described in the Bible :-) You're saying, in effect, that what Bush
said in this instance makes sense only because he's wrong all the
time!

I would, rather, ascribe it, you should pardon another biblical
allusion, to the seven-headed beast nature of government. That is, the
president could grow much sadder and wiser without policy getting much
saner, it's a hard tiger to ride.

I think G. W. Bush, whatever the general limits of his intellect, does
grasp the essential problem: we made this bed we're sleeping in. The
road from the 1953 overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh to 9/11 is fairly
easily mapped. It's deucedly hard to miss, no matter what your
persuasion.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #43 of 131: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 6 Jan 04 07:47
    
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, Jax.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #44 of 131: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Tue 6 Jan 04 08:14
    
Did you watch Battlestar Galactica (the "revisioned version")?  If you did,
what is the probability of the scenario they depict?  And how do you feel
about Austin movie theaters losing low wattage bulbs in their projectors?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #45 of 131: from LLOYD ARNOLD (tnf) Tue 6 Jan 04 09:12
    




Lloyd Arnold writes:



On the subject of the path of the USA presidential campaign: These are
always governed by little hot button issues, rarely are important issues
addressed. Examples would include Willie Horton, pledging allegiance to the
flag, quotas, did he inhale?, did the first Bush have an affair?. For the
campaign of 2004, the media can be easily led by two subjects, same sex
marriage and partial birth abortion.

The president was surprisingly candid, when he said that dealing with non
democracies had not made the USA safer. But so what? When he needed staging
areas for the invasion of Iraq, he made deals with wacko dictators in
formerly Soviet central Asia.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #46 of 131: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Tue 6 Jan 04 09:47
    
How's your Austin stock faring?  Are you high or low on our city?  Why are
some folks barrelling out of town for greener pastures?  What is going to
happen to the tech scene and arts scene?  Are you going to ride it out?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #47 of 131: Uncle Jax, the Nicest Asshole on the Well (jax) Tue 6 Jan 04 10:50
    
> The president was surprisingly candid, when he said that dealing
> with non democracies had not made the USA safer. But so what? When
> he needed staging areas for the invasion of Iraq, he made deals with
> wacko dictators in formerly Soviet central Asia.

Mr. Arnold's comment is more to the point than Bruce's dismissive
"stopped clock" remark. One can disdain the admin's policies without
underestimating that crew. It can be advanced that they are wrong, but
to pretend that they are stupid is self-deception only.

Well, Lloyd Arnold, "So what?" indeed. The question any president must
face is, how to translate his will and his perceptions into tangible
actions of the bureaucrosaurs? Like Clinton and "gays in the
military", he never really won that one, did he?

I think Bush, whom I do not greatly admire, is a better man than his
admin and than we credit him for. He responded to conservative
pressure to condemn Islam as a "failed religion" by attending Friday
services at a mosque and calling Islam a "religion of peace". Now
while the VP from Halliburton (Cheney) and the DefSec from the
Infernal Regions (Rummy) carve up Iraq's oil reserves, we hear Bush
recognizing the real problem.

As poor, frustrated Pres. Warren G. Harding once said, "In this town,
it ain't your enemies, it's your goddamned friends!"
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #48 of 131: from VINAY GUPTA (tnf) Tue 6 Jan 04 12:04
    



Vinay Gupta writes:




Small is Profitable

http://www.smallisprofitable.org/

 is a book by the Rocky Mountain Institute which addresses change-of-scale
and change-of-control in energy generation and distribution systems. Ditch
the national grid, use sensor-heavy portfolios of wind/solar and peak-demand-
reduction systems to provide, stuff like that. It's not a "green for green
sake" approach: it's a "green because it pays the bills" approach. Also a lot
of very interesting options theory on renewable resources as "bonds" in an
energy portfolio, because they're immune to fuel supply price fluctuations.

Something going on on the technological level - these are essentially post-
industrial models for energy generation and distribution. And they work.
Lovins is typically about 20 years ahead of the game (his stuff on nuclear
non-proliferation by **giving**away** conventional power generation systems
to places like North Korea and Pakistan now looks prescient), so let's assume
he's on the ball this time too, because, well, he probably is...

How do you see that playing out? Do you think there are interesting second
and third order effects for decentralized energy generation? Or will it be
like the internet - a little really significant change, and a very great deal
of empty crowing?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #49 of 131: soul of a hacker but the brains of a busboy (mattrose) Tue 6 Jan 04 12:09
    
Sorry to butt in so late and nitpick, but as a non-american, I feel I must
point out two things.
1.  WWII did not start with Pearl Harbor, it started with the invasion of
Poland.
2.  Good luck trading Maple Syrup to Quebec.  They make more of it than all
of New England put together.  There's a reason the Maple Leaf is on our
flag, it's cause we got so many of 'em.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #50 of 131: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 6 Jan 04 12:46
    
I'll shut up and let you answer those, Bruce. I can't beat that 
low-wattage-bulb question.
  

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