April 19th, 2009

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Solving Things the Wrong Way

Here's an example of people trying to solve a problem the wrong way, because the necessary course of action is likely to be difficult, expensive, unpleasant, and therefore unpopular:

Andrew Glikson | Toward Climate Geoengineering?
Andrew Glickson, Truthout: "That global climate change has reached an impasse whereby the 'powers-to-be' are entertaining climate geoengineering mitigation, instead of the urgent deep reduction of carbon emissions required by science, represents the ultimate moral bankruptcy of institutions and a failure of democracy."


Geoengineering would entail large-scale purposeful manipulations of the atmosphere, oceans, etc. Yeah ... making major changes to systems we've already severely damaged by doing things we didn't realize would affect them badly because we didn't understand them fully. And we still don't. This way lies a realm of enlightening doom we should avoid.
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On Followers and Followship

Ongoing discussions about the poem "Where Have All the Heroes Gone?/Different Gifts" have led to haikujaguar posting about followers and how passivity is devalued in this culture. I have previously touched on some of the same issues in my installment "Followship" and its subsequent discussion. Discussion of the followship and passivity aspects is welcome here or in the other threads.
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Truncated Futures, Take 2

Another book with the same structure, and the same flaw, by the same publisher. Somebody over there really needs to call a science fiction writer. I think what's happening is that each of the authors really wants to talk about a particular favorite future, and the editors are letting them get away with it. But when you start your pitch by framing a set of possibilities, you really need to address each of them fully, or it looks clunky and incomplete. If you're only interested in one, don't draw too much attention to the others. The setup is good, but the followup falls apart.

This bit ...

2020 - Huge African famine kills 4 million. 60% of world’s fisheries so depleted that it is ‘uneconomic’ to fish there. Beyond this point it becomes too unpleasant to relate….

... really hit my "if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen" button. It's not "too unpleasant to relate." We had better be looking ahead to what will happen if we don't solve the problems facing us, or we're going to wind up in that situation and have to cope with no preparation, which would really suck. You can't just go "what if" and then stop. You have to follow through with the "and THEN what?" questions too.

If the people writing about world changes are unable to do it without blinking, that's a problem, because other people are following where they lead. Skipping or truncating possible paths is a very bad habit in a future-history-scout. We really need someone to put the pieces together, map out a wide range of possibilities, and list the potential responses to all of them.
moment of silence, candle

J.G. Ballard and Dave Arneson Have Died

J.G Ballard was best known for his science fiction and other writing.

Dave Arneson helped create fantasy roleplaying, along with Gary Gygax and other people. It was his idea to take some chain-mail-clad warriors from tabletop war gaming and build a fantasy campaign around them.

And the Great Con in the Sky goes wild as two more GOHs arrive.