Data from models and measurements confirms yet again the reality of Anthropogenic Global Warming at both poles. Like global dimming - caused by our prudent spew of dust and other industrial phlegm into the atmosphere - the recovering ozone hole also seems to be masking our view of the gathering storm.
Friday, 31 October 2008
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Sceptics/denialists/contrarians seem to see themselves as rugged individualists - mavericks and rebels in a square (and flat) world. So does David Icke. Just because they're laughing at you, doesn't mean you're destiny's favourite child. For an informed discussion visit Realclimate
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Newspapers report that swans aren't bothering to migrate from Siberia to the UK because it doesn't get cold enough there to warrant the effort anymore. Throbgoblins International are also suffering from a motivational hiatus - one occassioned by BP posting profits up 148%, which has rather lowered our mood. We are thinking of hibernating for a few months.
Monday, 27 October 2008
Sometimes, when I survey the forces deployed against us it seems a little depressing. But now that the mighty army of the righteous has been swelled by the Women's Institute , ramblers and surfers, the task doesn't seem so daunting. Even the Dark Lord Drax is coming to our aid. Shame there's so many orcs.
On a seperate issue of general western culture. Orcs, zombies, aliens - you can kill, maim and dismember as many of them as the budget will allow without raising any awkward ethical questions. They thus fulfill a role previously filled by people of colour in more brazen, triumphalist times and allow the inculcation of exceptionalist values without raising the alarm.
There is no such thing as orcs.
There are zombies, however - as any trip to the Trafford Centre will amply demonstrate.
Sunday, 26 October 2008
This month's NEW INTERNATIONALIST highlights the Afghan view of the Afghan war, and also reports on the fabulous concept of a bamboo bicycle, which has been about for a while but I've only just caught up with. I want one.
Issue 10 of Manchester Climate Fortnightly (McFly) is now up and ready
Saturday, 25 October 2008
The supermarkets seek to save a percentage of their energy costs and pretend that they give a shit about their carbon footprint by putting doors on some of their fridges. They are worried, however, that this might baffle some of their customers, who are apparently used to simply reaching in and hoiking chilled offal straight down their necks. Throbgoblins International suggest the prominent display of instructional diagrams illustrating correct door usage - with helpful pointers towards arse and elbow.
Elswhere Opec tops up its coffers and the UK government actually plans some investment in a more sensible infrastructure, whilst a leading conservation organisation plans to head off the species crunch.
Friday, 24 October 2008
Thursday, 23 October 2008
The Carbon Trust are developing technology that is perfectly poised to take advantage of a rapidly developing ecological niche -ie -the whole planet is turning into a stagnant swamp of fetid pond-scum. So Mad Max can still be a road warrior. Hoorah!
An illustration of an established point
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
On my way to work this morning I was obliged to abandon the bus in gridlocked traffic and walk the last mile or so. As I passed junction 17 of the M60 I saw a poor deluded soul parading throught this belching impromptu car park wearing a sandwich board declaring his opposition to the Manchester congestion charge, and handing out leaflets to the thousands of stranded drivers. I crossed the motorway bridge and looked down on the stalled traffic, breathing in the poison and the frustration, and observed that at least 90% of the vehicles were occupied by single individuals all ruthlessly enjoying the freedom that personal transport brings. I must admit that I was temporarily overwhelmed by a combination of pity, despair and contempt that boiled briefly over into loud swearing and gesticulation before collapsing back into the general bewilderment that characterises my working day.
The sad fact is that most people get a car because "it's what you do, innit?"
We'll get the future we deserve.
(Thanks to Marc Hudson for the monkey/bottle idea)
Monday, 20 October 2008
Darling makes comforting noises about bailing out banks and helping ordinary folk and then splashes out on aircraft carriers and nukes, whilst the noises off are all about reneging and falling short and generally bailing out on commitments to emissions cuts.
The frog in a blender reference? If you put a frog in a liquidiser it will still contain all the ingredients of a frog - but it will no longer function as a frog. (Evan Eisenberg - The Ecology of Eden: Humans, Nature and Human Nature)
What with the common seals becoming decidedly uncommon, and the bluefin tuna leaving the stage courtesy of our good selves, it seems the planetary frog is becoming less tangible by the day. Speaking of the inappropriate rendering of amphibeans- here's an old one, Frog in s Saucepan.
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Exotic arachnids (the domestic ones being anoraknids) are surviving winters and establishing themselves in permenant new ranges throughout the UK. Nothing deadly, but a few shocks in store and some nasty bites.
Security issues make their way further and further into our every nook and cranny as Orwell's prescience gets clearer each day.
Pledges are made
Priorities are established
.....in more ways than one
Monday, 13 October 2008
Environmental criminals are making fortunes from everything from Tiger testicles to clear logging. The question of how to stop this has vexed much and many bigger brains than mine, but It's a sad (and probably accurate) testament to our motivation as a species that the only realistic solution that a lot of people can offer is to pay people NOT to lay waste to the planet.
Its something of a Kray twins approach to conservation. "Hmm - nice rainforest you got 'ere. squire. 'Shame if somefin' woz to 'appen to it, eh? Nah -fer a small remittance..."
As long as the "protection" is effective, I suppose we can't be too fussy, at this stage in the game.
I'm afraid I've mislaid the link here...
Sunday, 12 October 2008
This is quite an early Frank, - reposted here as an old favourite in a colourised version. The ones below are also reposts, on a similar theme collected in response to Andrew Revkin's post on Herman Daly on the most excellent DotEarth at the NYT. With thanks
As the consumption driven debt bomb goes off, and the costs of shagging the planet grow exponentially, the perpetrators of all this tragic nonsense escape to rule another day.
There is some movement, of course - The ministry for energy and climate joins some obvious dots, and lists are published of effective Green campaigners.
David Ransom (link) puts it into context at the New Internationalist
which is all a long winded way of saying
Saturday, 11 October 2008
The markets flail about like landed cod and even the mighty Ford and General Motors face the prospect of bankrupcy. Suddenly we're all social democrats again and intervention is the name of the game - (in some things).
The political class seeks a route through the mess so that we can steam full ahead over the precipice's edge, and have luxury goods to play with as we plummet...
Oh - I know I shouldn't, and if there was a hell I would go there...but...when there is so much hopeless tragedy visited upon the innocent in the endless procession of road deaths, it's nice to know that witless shits get offed too.
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Teachers are being asked to look out for signs of extremism in the children in their care and report it to the authorities. Stuff like this satirises itself, so all I could do was commemorate the moment with a cheap spot-gag. Moulding young minds, eh?
On the upside - an update on the stranded penguins of Brasil in this video.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
For some reason a lot of people insist on thinking of evolution as a progressive and purposeful process - as though it is somehow going somewhere instead of being just the random sum of blind luck, sex and catastrophe. I doubt that any serious researcher falls into this Utopian nonsense, but the press are rolling in it with their treatmnent of this story. A somewhat narcissistic view of time.
Meanwhile the real hand of evolution falls on our victims, as one in four mammal species faces the final curtain
...and the growing certainty of the peaking of the age of cheap energy brings the usual mix of profiteering, pleading and plunder - whilst the nuclear debate goes on
PLEASE VISIT 350.org and excercise a little democratic pressure
Monday, 6 October 2008
Not only does their brew taste like shite, but they're environmental criminals as well. Starbucks wastes millions of gallons of water every day through leaving taps running for no good reason, just as the UK is looking at massive water-price rises and restrictions (despite flood warnings).
Sunday, 5 October 2008
The entire planet's financial well-being hung by the one thread of lending increasingly unsustainable amounts of debt into existence. Should the planet's nutritional well-being be hung on the single hook of oil dependent, genetically modified monocultures copyrighted by the Transnationals? The GM debate rolls on.
As the range of insects and diseases spread, and those of most animals decline with a changing climate, the possibilities for a domino effect toppling any single strategy seem quite large.
The good news is that the dirty coal bandwagon has been slowed by an EU vote.
As if the life of a penguin wasn't shaky enough - climate change is interfering with their familiar ocean-currents and driving them thousands of miles off course, to cast them up starving and battered on the beaches of Brasil.
In a desperate bid to secure re-election our glorious leader has resurrected the prince of darkness to spin the world back into it's right mind, and created a department for energy and climate. This sounds useful and is just in time to address the godawful and unstable state of the nuclear energy industry, the impending nationwide water shortages caused by rainfall shortfalls and river depletion, and the heir to the throne's misquoted pokes at the oil-based food lobby.
Meanwhile our betters are planning wide scale snoops into our e-mail and text lives - presumably part of a wider plan to follow our imperial masters down the road to torture and dissappearances - and the genuinely moving cult of the ghost-bike continues to spread.
Friday, 3 October 2008
In the spirit of the times Throbgoblins International have withdrawn all our collective dosh out of the bank and given it to the richest person we could find. He'll know what to do. Everything'll be alright now.
On further consideration, however, we think that we would have been better advised to send it to the Kew seed bank - which is trying to safeguard plant biodiversity before it all goes bump, so we still have a genetic pot to piss in, as it were. It faces closure due to a lack of funds.
I marvel at our cleverness, don't you?
and I'd just to say.... Peter fucking Mandelson??????
Thursday, 2 October 2008
No joke today
Frank has been doing a lot of research. He is being struck by the scale of the edifice that is about to crash down around our ears over the next generation or so, and is struggling to stay in a comfort zone where there are still answers to the problems everyone is ignoring. He is trying to figure out a programme of dismantling that will make the crash bearable, and the segue to a new dispensation as painless and fruitful as possible. He sees that if the tower falls from its present height there will be no survivors below. He sees no magic bullets. No secret gardens. He is anxious and afraid for his children. His sarcasm has deserted him. This process has made a lot of the mainstays of Frank's world redundant. A yawning unknown has opened up where once there was faith. He is a little in shock. He may have to rearrange some furniture in his mind, as well as on this Titanic that so resolutely ignores his entreaties to turn. Some lunacies may have to be considered as cushions for the fall. Things are a lot worse than he thought.
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
I was looking through a survey the other day that sought people's opinions on difficult subjects requiring specialist knowledge and a broad command of a range of complex issues. It wasn't child's play, and it's purpose was serious. But it's tone reminded me of the tone of appraisal documents the world over - Are you satisfied, very satisfied, unsatisfied, very unsatisfied, not bothered, suicidal etc. As if how the respondent felt about the situation was the important thing.
I might be reading rather too much into this, but - We find ourselves strapped into a car that's hurtling up the sharp incline of half a dozen exponential hockey-stick graphs towards almost certain calamity on a roller coaster without breaks - and we are being asked if we're comfy. Something is amiss. Maybe it's just me, but I think it might be time to put our feelings on the back burner and concentrate on issues for a while. Maybe we should be saying to ourselves, "Never mind how you feel - read a few books and have a bit of a think. Leave the comfort zone. You don't have to like it, and you probably won't. Grow up and put your fairy tales away"
Maybe we could all specifically ponder...
How does one run a democracy when no one is paying attention? When most of the people think that more and more people can have more and more forever?; when most of the people think that the looks and style of a politician are the most important considerations?; when most of the people are watching X-factor?: when most of the people want a Beamer, a boob-job and a McMansion?: when most of the people spend more time cultivating their appearance than their understanding? when most of the people are under the impression that they are only here to have a good time and that some supernatural superbeing tucks them in at night? Can serious and necessary work be undertaken under those conditions? And if not, how do we change those conditions? Or do we wait for circumstances to change them for us?
Fucked if I know.
Anyway - I colourised these old strips for a Brasilian biofuel-awareness campaign, which gives me an excuse to re-up them, and an opportunity to cheer the demise of the Hummer that was so recently considered acceptable in some quarters