Monday, November 21, 2005

Hope

Those of us who thought for a long time that the west was on a continuing path of progress are becoming ever more disillusioned by the day, and I (like many, I think) fear for the future. The stakes are too high and the dice are loaded against those of us who want to see a better, fairer world but our hand is being forced by those who claim our backing. We have unwittingly entered a time of new tyranny - here in the UK the split on the left between Labour and the Lib Dems have left a route for a future Tory reascension, despite their clear minority viewpoint. And the government we have are too blind to accept this situation and are driven by a desperation to cling to their increasingly stale agenda, ruling out any co-operation between the two left parties. This raises the prospect of a 'compassionately Conservative' Tory government who have seen George Bush's success in using moderate language to get elected and then asserting a radically dangerous, fear-based, far-right direction as a blunt instrument to frame the debate thereafter.
This reframed debate leaves no room for 'facts' or 'reality' and has seen the monopoly of the media and a cargo cultesque desperation for Resurrection on the part of Christians, as the bludgeoning force behind a vacuous obliteration of any genuine realistic debate in politics. Is there any hope? - Today I read that hardly any more Americans think Green now than they did 7 years ago and that they think their Federal government is the most honest broker for environmental issues! I'm beginning to lose the small amount I had left..... Talk about fiddling while Rome burns.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Tribute - Paul Tomassi

I would just like to dedicate this post to the memory of the most patient, understanding, humble , yet brilliant lecturer I have known. Paul Tomassi - the head of Philosophy at Aberdeen University who died yesterday aged only 43. He had time for anyone who needed it and managed to make the driest subjects enjoyable - an impressive feat for Formal Logic and other seemingly pedantic yet powerful (and to him fascinating) philosophical topics. He genuinely made these things fun, something no-one else could have possibly done. I am absolutely gutted that he is gone - a world without him is a significantly poorer one. I am glad that I was able to have been taught by him. This one's for you Tomassi, wherever you are (He would hate that - He was such an atheist!).

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Embarkation

So here we are. We finally have our day of departure staring us in the face and it's kind of exciting, I guess! We go to London tomorrow (so please no bombs, fundamentalist types!) and then on to Hastings to spend a few days with my mum. Then on Friday its a flight to Tashkent - pause for a coupla hours - and finally Delhi! I'm a little worried about coping with the poverty in a way that allows me to remain human, and about health issues (I have had terrible psoriasis in hot humid places before) but on the whole an air of anticipation pervades.
Before I go I want to note something that occurred to me last night, fairly heavily under the influence! It was partly as a consequence of reading Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin. She compares the visual based way that most animals see the world with that inhabited by autists. It led me to think about categories and come to an unusual conclusion. I think that the categories which humans use so succesfully to negotiate the outside world are based in the emotional arena rather than (as would traditionally be assumed) the rational one. They acquire their inherited power from what they mean to us rather what they describe or inhere upon I will leave that to hang and hopefully elaborate at a later time with relation to philosophical analyses and the anthropological Sapir/Whorf hypothesis. Until then - at least a month farewell! If you stumble across this page - wish us luck! Thankyou

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Batteries in the body

Just a quick idea: would it be possible to build in, or even build the shell of aircraft and cars directly from, the latest thin film type batteries that are becoming available? Such an act would undoubtedly help batteries become more effective as far as weight/power ratios are concerned! Combined with pv technologies the actual structure could be part of the power production system, rather than just the problem to be transported.

Gubbins

My intention to blog nightly seems slightly ambitious now, seeing as it's Tuesday. Still, thats better than me previous average!
Spent last night up at my friend Martin's and had an enjoyable evening with him and his girlfriend Migume. The conversation flowed easily (sometimes these things can be slightly strained) and ideas were bounced around fairly effortlessly - the interplay of seemingly random ideas are my favourite type of conversation and Martin and I have always done this with a dizzying, if sporadic, ease.
Today Emma and I went into town after she returned from work and bought items for our trip - citronella for insects etc. I've read that catnip oil is the best repellant but it seems to be entirely unavailable which is slightly frustrating! Then we came home and watched some of Lost which is our favourite show at the moment and Michael Palin's Himalaya to get an idea about some of the places we're going. It shows some amazing sights but I can't help but get the feeling that there isn't a lot of the interaction that made his previous series' so delightful.
Emma has fallen asleep and I, who had a late morning, am still searching the web endlessly for exciting news about renewable energy developments - an activity which frequently diverts me. It is as though I am looking for something endlessly but I'm not quite sure what it is! I will link to my favourite sites when I can work out how, but for now, if you are interested, check out Worldchanging.com .
The best site in the world, no question! A realistic slice of the future as it it might hopefully occur.
Apart form that I well end by congratulating myself for finally doing some damn excercise! I went t the gym and feel much better for it. I also ordered books from amazon which have intruiging subjects. Hopefully more on this when I get them!
Good luck, listeners. Every day offers possibilities that solidify into our lives. Try and find ones that bring new light onto the event that is you!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Diary online

I've made a decision - I'm going to India in three weeks time and this seems as good a time as any to attempt to turn this sadly neglected blog from a generalist overview of whatever catches my eye into a kind of online diary. This will hopefully turn into a place to put memories as well as inspirations.
So, to begin. 9 July 2005. Today involved two strangely conflicting memes - like opposing partners in a muscular dance. These were sewn from a wedding which I attended, uniting my girlfriend Emma's auntie and her long-standing boyfriend. I will omit their names seeing as they are not announcing their change of circumstances until tomorrow. The range of genuine and intimate emotions implicit in the whole experience was invigorating and touching. Good luck to them both!
The second of these, mostly glimpsed on various tellies, was the aftermath of the London bombings. Savage and tragic as the whole situation is, these are omnipresent at the moment (understandably) and lead me to worry about what will happen if there were a wrongful arrest. The public is desperate for the old comfort of revenge and we must be careful that we do not lose our tolerance and respect in the search for this placeboic salve. The most comprehensive defence against those who would hurt us in a twisted search to combat perceived injustice, is a commitment and determination to prove and actualise our own principles of balance, fairness and understanding.
So there we are. Missive 1 of hopefully many. If you are reading - make sure you are true to yourself and, if you possibly can, those around you. It may seem hard and time-consuming; but it is only worth getting where you want to go if you have not lost your soul on the journey!

Monday, April 25, 2005

All I'm asking is a complete reformation of humanity's interaction with the natural world!

Alright. I'm getting a little bit worried, now. Joel Makower thinks everything's going to be alright and he seems to know what he's talking about. But I'm losing a little bit if faith in humanity. That's sad but there it is. Are we gonna be o.k? Can we possibly get out of this predicament without losing far too many of us to contemplate? Peak Oil and Global Warming - 2 radical changes that face us and nobody's listening. I'm trying to tell people and they all just carry on regardless. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough.
I beleive in something greater than us - that we are being guided in some way. That may seem naiive but whats wrong with that? The Global Consciousness Project and other series of coincedences suggest to me that the human race has come to where it is now for a purpose. Not some crazy religious Apocalypse - an Earth-centred purpose. But we have to rid ourselves of self-delusion before we can get there and there's no sign of that happening. It's hard to be heroic in a culture like this one - the closest thing is just to be as honest as we can with ourselves and everyone else and hope for the best. So that is what I shall continue to do....If I can

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Civilisation Shifting

There is something happening which has gone (as far as I know) unnoticed but is indicative of a monumental shift in humanity's relationship with the outside world. It is embodied in a horror which is approaching us all, and yet its actuation reveals a new position for the human race in the scheme of existence. We are having to take responsibility for the environment. It possibly sounds a trifle obvious but the reality which underpins the change is fundamental.
The comparison I am going to use seems sacreligious but there is good reason for it. It is that of the dawn of agriculture in the Middle East - 10, 000 years ago. Threatened by scarcity resulting from a shift in the local climate, some bright hunter-gatherer came up with the idea of domesticating and encouraging the local plants upon which the people relied. This innovation has had untold and unprecedented affects for the human race and the natural world of which we are part. One of these affects, for instance ( if Ruddiman is right), may be the prevention of an ice age.
Why do I think we are about to witness a similar civilisational revelation? Because we have no choice. Because we have inadvertantly caused a crisis in climate the like of which has never been seen, and as soon as the consequences begin to bite (many deaths caused by sea level rise and ever increasingly severe storms, combined with the widespread failure of native crops) the clamour for an immediate salve for global warming will become irresistable.
What do I mean, a salve? Well, I mean a technological quick fix enabling the continuation of life on earth. Life is too precious (not least to ourselves) to let us consign it to history. This could take many different forms. But the important point is the intervention itself.
For, once that takes place, we will become the protectors of the earth. We will have assumed responsilbility, through necessity, for all life on earth and it's interactions. And implicit in that idea are consequences of which we can only begin to conceive. Climatic conditions created to optimise an areas resources, for instance. Directives allowing it to rain only at night. Who knows? It's going to be a strange ride!