inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #26 of 75: Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Thu 6 Jan 00 13:03
    
Who are all these people with the punctuation after their email
addresses?  Any Cardinal-Generals out there?
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #27 of 75: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Thu 6 Jan 00 14:09
    
Come come Bruce, I wasn't talking about the reading of novels, back
there. I was talking about mindless visual media saturation to the
point where people live increasingly through surrogates -- to which I
cheerfully contribute whenever I get a chance, because I don't know how
else to make a living. 

But never mind. Bruce--sorry if I missed this, if you already ranted
on this but: What do you think of the "simplicity movement"? YOu're
aware of it I'm sure. Not much of a movement yet. Some coffeetable
books and self improvement pundits and the like--still what if it
becomes much bigger (as I think it will). Operating on the theory that
people are getting fried by overmuch input, by overcomplexity in modern
life, losing touch with essential values and with time for personal
growth and family. It's becoming a major "thing" in San Francisco in
some circles. People basically stop acquiring, step out of the consumer
stream as much as possible, strip down to minimal credit cards,
minimal online interaction, get rid of cars if they can, sure as hell
get rid of TV. If they have a choice of joining a club, getting a new
home entertainment tech, etc, they choose not to. They keep sorting
things out according to essentials and distractions. CHoosing
essentials. I think it'll be a big but never dominant thing in 21st
century. But I do understand it. (Me I'll hit a middle ground.) And it
could have positive environmental impact. 

"Kill your god...kill you god...KILL YOUR TV!" --Marilyn Manson
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #28 of 75: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 6 Jan 00 19:18
    
The simplicity movement isn't a new thang... check out topic 67 in the
future conference (g future). That was 1991, and the simplicity
movement already had factions. *8-)

Bruce may say otherwise, but I don't think simple living is 'Viridian'
unless it's wearing a bikini....
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #29 of 75: Thomas Armagost (silly) Sat 8 Jan 00 14:34
    <scribbled by silly Mon 9 Jul 12 16:10>
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #30 of 75: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Sat 8 Jan 00 16:49
    
Simplicity Movement doesn't have to be new exactly--it may be already
factioned but the general idea is gathering strength. It didn't go
away. it'll answer a need in the 21st century. It won't be a dominant
paradigm except in little cells. Sometimes I think the dominant
paradigm of the 21st Century will be about finding ways for the
particular to interact with the general; people gathering around their
own tribal totems, withdrawing into cells that are defined by
ethnicity, religion (I'm really beginning to fear a real confrontation
between Muslim and Christian Fundamentalists...throw in, say, Hindus,
or Mormons, and we can have the theological equivalent of the Three
Stooges fighting, idiocy times three, but with real blood), lifestyle
ideology, and so forth, and searching for ways to interface with other
cells without conflict.

But actually what I came here to ask Bruce about -- he probably is off
being busy for a while -- is what he thinks of the article in
Scientific American, if he saw it, about negative energy and spacetime
warping and Faster than Light travel. Here's this once-stodgy magazine 
representing the views of the science establishment now saying we're
going to other stars like Star Trek. "Dilithium not necessary" says one
of the section heads. Galaxy Magazine SF comes true? 
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #31 of 75: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 8 Jan 00 17:22
    
"Nothing is true, everything is permitted."
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #32 of 75: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 00 18:21
    

The subject of parenthood is a very big one. On due consideration,
I consider it a life change second only to puberty.

 It certainly gives one a sense of being rooted in historical process.
The human experience of time is very ductile.  The
difference between thirty and thirty-four is not that big a
a deal, but the human span between age one and age four is
absolutely colossal.

One strongly positive thing I can say about fatherhood:  I never
ask myself, "where did my youth go?"  Because I see
it every day.   That's my youth, asking all those
persistent questions and then spilling the cereal bowl;
that's my youth, destroying the curtains and setting fire
to the cat.  My own youth is very much around.  It's just
that I don't have it now.  It's been instantiated in somebody else.

As an author, I think one gains huge amounts of psychological
insight from hanging out with small children.  You're literally
hands-on as a human personality is constructed from the
raw gears and tinkertoys.   Just one instance: until you have
children, it's hard to understand why small kids get more
frantic and frenetic as they get weary.   When an adult's
tired, after all, he just slows down.   But when a small kid
gets tired, the sinews of his self-control snap.  You can see
him lose years of hard-won experience in sudden near-catastrophic
collapse, primal energies spewing out the rents in his young psyche
like steam through a broken boiler.  Then suddenly, the last gasp;
his head lolls over; he's asleep.
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #33 of 75: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 00 18:29
    

  I haven't read that Scientific American piece, but I'll
believe in "negative energy" when somebody sells me a few
kilowatts of it.

  I know that Arthur Clarke takes zero-point energy with
lethal seriousness.  He's put down some of his own money to
finance experiments.  Sir Arthur's not a crank, so there must
be some kind of plausibility to it; but the laws of
thermodynamics are about as durable as physical laws get.
A claim that extraordinary demands a truly extraordinary
level of proof.

As for SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN as a publication, it bores
the heck out of me.  I always thought the prose was sorry,
and worse yet, the illustrations were stodgy.  You wanna
read a good pop-science magazine, I highly recommend
IEEE Spectrum.  It's for electrical and electronic engineers,
so its scope is a little narrow, but within that scope it
can't be beat; it really gets you hands-on and almost
uncomfortably immediate with stuff like fiber-optic
switching stations.
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #34 of 75: Linda Castellani (castle) Sun 9 Jan 00 00:52
    
That was lovely, thanks.  I experienced that a bit, when I was a
step-parent - I kept thinking that the purpose of having kids was to
complete your own experience of things - the one you had yourself and
the one you watch the kid have - giving you the newly stereo vision of
your own child and adult perspectives.  Creating, aha, depth.  Only you
said it much better.

What you said about Scientific American led me to wonder what magazines
and other periodicals you subscribe to, what mailing lists are you on,
that kind of thing - what kinds of input do you seek out as opposed to
what you avoid?
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #35 of 75: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 9 Jan 00 07:17
    
Yes, and perhaps more generally how you use online resources in your
work?
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #36 of 75: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Sun 9 Jan 00 13:12
    
Viridian environmentalism: isn't it too lightweight to matter?
Depressing article in the San Francisco Examiner today about high
levels of toxins--heavy metals and chemicals, like pesticide run off,
dioxins, PCBs, good old won't-go-away DDT--found in whales and dolphins
to such an extent that Harvard U analysis  eating just three ounces of
dolphin meat "would cause significant health problems". A seven year
study of children in the Faroe Islands has found that those whose
mothers had eaten contaminated whale meat during pregnancy were much
more  likely to suffer brain damage and heart damage...As a result of
all this, whale meat consumption is likely to go down in Japan (the
Japanese have been eating it via some loophole in international
laws)...But the whales will die anyway: the toxicity causes damage to
the immune system, sterility and "gender bender" hormone disruptions in
whales as well as people...

I'll tell you what really disturbs me. It's not the whales per se.
It's the depth, so to speak, of the pollution here; it's how deeply
it's embedded in the food chain, eco system...And all major American
groundwater systems are polluted by pesticides. 

This is the beginning of something that could lead to the famines in
the "industrialized nations" I've predicted in my stories. 

The bad guys have already  won.
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #37 of 75: Linda Castellani (castle) Sun 9 Jan 00 16:31
    

(Remember, if you are not a WELL member, you are reading this on the Web
and you have a question for Bruce Sterling, send it to
inkwell-hosts@well.com.  We will post it for you so Bruce can respond.)
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #38 of 75: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 9 Jan 00 17:21
    

   I tend to  instinctively throw in my lot with the "bad guys"
in these matters, actually.  I think perhaps it's my Southwestern
upbringing; besides shooting Indians and hanging Mexicans,
the great formative experience of Texan culture was losing
our gruelling war to own black people.  Being part of a defeated
culture makes one at ease with being the bad guys.

    Besides, our worst crises are not rooted in malignant
intent.  When irrigated farming turned the soil saline in the
Fertile Crescent, great civilizations had their roots cut and
failed with all hands.  But there was never any moment where
some guy with a hoe and a canal lock was chuckling to himself,
"Ha, Nebuchadrezzar, you and all you know will become as the
dust thanks to my wicked sabotage."   Most likely he was just muttering
about his taxes and hoping his kids would grow up.

      I would concur that as an environmentalist my lone efforts don't
rank with Greenpeace, but I don't want to become a professional
myrmidon of some potent NGO.  It's like objecting that a science
fiction novel is a pretty pipsqueak effort compared to the
full-scale George Lucas Industrial Light & Magic treatment.
To which my answer is a hearty "yes-but."

     In my opinion, counsels of despair are a worse sin than
mere profit-motivated despoliation.  You should have seen
North America before they wiped out the mammoths.  It
was impossibly cool.  If you despair, you are denying the
validity of the experience of the people who will bury you.
You had the real life of sublime defeat; all they are to have the
shadow life of living in the consequences of your failure.
I think this is ego speaking, basically.  It sounds better as
"apres moi la deluge."
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #39 of 75: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 9 Jan 00 18:34
    
What great tragedies dramatize, I think, is our inability to control
our destinies. That's what this is about, no? Aren't traditional
environmentalists assuming that human volition is at the heart of the
offense, and can become its cure. But is that true, in either case?
Isn't aikido more effective that brute force? And isn't the Viridian
movement 'light' in the sense that aikido is light?
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #40 of 75: Thomas Armagost (silly) Sun 9 Jan 00 19:37
    <scribbled by silly Mon 9 Jul 12 16:10>
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #41 of 75: Andrew Brown (andrewb) Tue 11 Jan 00 08:58
    
but the whole point about Y2K was that it never progressed from immanence to
imminence
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #42 of 75: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Tue 11 Jan 00 12:29
    
Well of course when I say I feel the bad guys have won, or give off a
vibe of despair, I don't mean that I think people should stop trying,
or that there's no hope; I was only expressing a feeling. Sometimes
such dire declarations presage a moment of slowing down and
looking--Paul Erlich's population book, while doomsaying to excess, did
help induce people to stop and look and think over the issue. It
started some balls rolling. I think we have a useful instinct to raise
alarums; and people who 'predict the worst' are valuable to society. If
there hadn't been dire predictions re Y2k there's at least a good
chance that dire events wouldve unfolded. They were obviated by the
doomsayers--arguably, anyhow.  I don the black rags and wail out of
that sort of instinct. And I could be right too. The damage we're doing
and have done to the ecology is vast, pervasive, deeply embedded. 

You know, Bruce, not all the damage done is by people who are
analogous to that fertile crescent farmer, and don't have a clue. The
big corporations have been shown, historically, to know better, and to
cover up what they know. They just don't mind if people are dying, or
will die, as long as they're making profits. People who work in the
corporate environment (even those who are sometimes only consultants,
say) may unconsciously veer from recognition of culpability on the part
of those who write their checks. I think it was Upton Sinclair who
said that you cannot persuade a man of the truth if  it threatens his
means of making a living. 
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #43 of 75: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 11 Jan 00 15:45
    

  But John, I work for Bertelsmann Publications, a German
multinational in a Japanese skyscraper in New York City.

  Just got the poisoned whale thing from another Viridian
subscriber.  I gotta admit, this thing is beyond the beyond.


Poison saves hunted whales
London Independent

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Correspondent


9 January 2000

The whale may finally be saved from hunters through being poisoned.
Contamination from the pollution of the world's seas appears to be
succeeding where environmentalists had failed. The people of Japan, the
world's main whaling nation, are at last questioning the hunting of the
leviathans after a major food scare.

After high levels of dangerous heavy metals and chemicals were found in
whalemeat, Japanese scientists advised against eating it, so sales slumped.
Now, Japanese retailers including one 300-branch supermarket chain have
started removing all whalemeat from their shelves after the scientists
recommended an "immediate ban on the sale of all contaminated products".

Research has shown that toxic chemicals can build up in whales and dolphins
to 70,000 times the levels found in the waters in which they swim and feed,
and can cause serious human health problems, including damage to the immune
system, sterility, and "gender-bender" hormone disruptions.

The development has is an extraordinary twist to one of the oldest and most
bitter environmental battles. Conservationists have been campaigning to
stop whaling for more than 30 years, after unrestrained hunting brought
many species, such as blue fin and humpback, to the verge of extinction.

Nearly 20 years ago, the environmentalists succeeded in one of their first
great international victories in persuading the body that regulates world
whaling, the International Whaling Commission, to impose an indefinite
moratorium.

But, ever since, Japan has exploited a loophole, which allows whaling for
"scientific purposes", to enable it to continue its annual hunt and provide
whalemeat for its people.

Meanwhile, it has been gradually winning the argument for a resumption of
commercial whaling as the species it hunts  the minke whale is abundant and
would be in no danger of being seriously depleted. It has also used
financial aid to persuade developing countries to join the whaling
commission and support it.

The discovery of the contamination of whalemeat, however, threatens to
undermine its campaign. Last year, two Japanese toxicologists and two
geneticists from Harvard University analysed more than 100 samples of the
meat bought in restaurants, shops and markets across Japanin a study
co-ordinated by the British-based Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society
and the Swiss Coalition for the Protection of Whales.

They were astonished at the results. About half of all the samples proved
to be contaminated with heavy metals or dangerous chemicals including
mercury, dioxins, DDT and PCBs above the maximum levels allowed for human
consumption under Japanese and international standards.

They also found that a quarter of the samples were sold under false
pretences, in fact containing meat from other species such as dolphins and
porpoises and, in one case in 20, from fully protected species such as
humpback and sperm whales. More than three-quarters of these mis-advertised
products proved to be for human consumption.

Japan's Fisheries Agency insisted then that whalemeat sold to consumers was
not seriously contaminated. But in November, a separate study by the
country's official Environment Agency confirmed that whales and dolphins
were highly polluted.

Further research suggested, in the words of one scientist, that eating just
three ounces of dolphin meat or one ounce of liver "would cause significant
health problems".

Meanwhile, a seven-year study of children in the Faroe Islands has found
that those whose mothers had eaten contaminated whalemeat during pregnancy
were much more likely to suffer brain and heart damage.

A coalition of citizens' groups was formed last month to press the Japanese
government to take immediate action. The fishing industry is deeply worried
that the outrage will cause more cancellations of orders and drive down the
price of meat from the whales caught by "scientific" whaling, dealing a
devastating blow to the industry.
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #44 of 75: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 11 Jan 00 16:20
    
Yikes.
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #45 of 75: Thomas Armagost (silly) Tue 11 Jan 00 16:32
    <scribbled by silly Tue 11 Jan 00 16:33>
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #46 of 75: Thomas Armagost (silly) Tue 11 Jan 00 16:34
    <scribbled by silly Mon 9 Jul 12 16:10>
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #47 of 75: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 12 Jan 00 08:56
    
Environmentalism, tree-hugging save the whales stop global warming
stuff, is anthropocentrism at its smug worst. It's not the environment
or the planet, it's the livability of the still mostly congenial human
ecosphere that environmentalists are concerned about first and
foremost. Perhaps the more toxic the environment is to human life, the
more likely "the planet" will be saved, perhaps inhabited by the few
remaining sturdy weeds and hive-mind insectoids. Considering this, the
Viridian movement should possibly be replaced by a thanatropic movement
the goal of which is to carry human access to its suicidal absurd, so
that we'll drown in our own muck and make room for the Next Big Thing.
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #48 of 75: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Wed 12 Jan 00 12:27
    
Yes Jon the old "the planet will shake us off like a bad case of
fleas" or whatever. George Carlin? But in fact environmentalists are at
least as much concerned about animals--look at the consequences of DDT
(which have not ended though it's not being manufactured anymore) on
birds. It nearly wiped out numerous species. Not people, birds. Whales
and dolphins and seals have been turning up dying on beaches for
unknown reasons in large numbers--the probability is toxicity
destroying their immune systems leaving them vulnerable to parasites
which destroy their nervous systems. Just one example. That's damage to
animals, not people. But suppose it were only people...hey, they're
only PEOPLE, right? Often, poor black people. Near New Orleans there's
a notorious cancer corridor "sponsored" by Shell oil--they *know*
they're killng people, mostly poor blacks who can't afford to move, and
they don't care. Are we supposed to be indifferent to the birth
defects and cancer that we continue to induce in people? Fuck em,
right? 

Meanwhile, here's a Viridianesque oddity: CORN BECOMES PLASTIC AT HUGE
NEW NEBRASKA FACTORY

NEW YORK, New York, January 11, 2000 (ENS) - The kernel of a new
industry for America's heartland is a first of its kind factory that
will make the raw material of plastic cups, packaging and fabric from
corn, not petroleum.
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #49 of 75: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Wed 12 Jan 00 12:38
    
But then, re-reading Jon's post, I suppose he was not very serious.
Well, it's an emotional subject. The astounding, wanking indifference
to it gets me hot under the collar sometimes. But I don't mean you. I
posted part of a Sierra Club press release at a well conf "Biology and
the Media" about how environmentalists are being jailed, beaten,
tortured and murdered in the Third World by govt thugs accommodating,
for example, Shell oil, and I was badgered bysome people about it,
though it was a topic about biologyand the *media*, and I said I
thought it was important because, after all, people are dying, and they
are scientists, sometimes biologists, and there's not enough in the
media about it, and some guy (who works for Details magazine...the
magazine of wanking contemplation of stupid cultural ephemera) posted
"'but people are dying! People are dying!'" I said that ridicule is
safe; being an environmentalist in the third world isn't. The point is,
it's getting to be an increasingly emotional issue, because of the
deaths, in past and to come. So I'm sorry if I'm touchy when youre
kidding around.
  
inkwell.vue.61 : Bruce Sterling: A Viridian Future
permalink #50 of 75: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Wed 12 Jan 00 12:39
    
And enough of me, back to Bruce.
  

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