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A world too broken to fix

September 7, 2014 2 comments

planet earthOur world is no longer working. Let me stop you before you say that conflicts, natural disasters, poverty and famine have always been part and parcel of the planet’s lot.

It’s different now. I see the brutal succession of recent events–Bashar Assad’s unchecked murderous spree, Ukraine, Gaza, Ferguson, the violence of the Islamist garbage that calls itself ISIS–as not only a reshuffling of the cards, common enough in the horrible games everyone is constantly playing, but as portends of major changes.

Historical events, the ones in books and the ones we personally live through, no matter how spectacular, atrocious, or unacceptable, still fall in the realm of things we know. But those parameters are obsolete and everything is bursting at the seams.

International organizations are broken– not only useless, obsolete ones like the United Nations but those that used to have some weight, like NATO. No economy is functioning correctly and no amount of throwing round the names of Keynes or Picketty will help. The very rare ones that still stand, say Germany, will soon be overcome by less lucky partners and immense society problems: immigration on a scale unknown till now, deficits gone wild, wars we’re being dragged into, hunger and poverty, poverty and hunger. Read more…

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I am God

January 1, 2014 5 comments

At least for today. To briefly replace this superior power in whose name half the world tortures, maims and kills and half the world remains on its knees, with words of praise and gratitude for the repeated blows, disappointments and tragedies only occasionally offset by spectacular sunsets and cooing babies. For the record, I’m not an atheist, as that would require a level of interest that eludes me–frankly, religious faith and belief leave me cold, if slightly baffled.

So, let’s play. Just for today, I am God. What will I fix?
african-elephant-herd

One, world population. Read more…

“New killer” energy

August 29, 2011 Leave a comment

We had nuclear reactors all along in central Virginia, in the North Anna station? Now you tell me? And, writes the Wall Street Journal, “the plant tripped out of service,” whatever that means? The August 23 earthquake I found almost funny–though the cat obviously didn’t. But now I’m really, really not amused. Especially when I read that had our measly 5.8 tremor been even slightly higher, there could have been cause for concern. There are 104 nuclear reactors in the U.S. –to me, all accidents waiting to happen. The precedents are there, aren’t they? A quick reminder, if needed, of the more spectacular examples.

1979: The core reactor at Three Mile Island undergoes meltdown. The industry and regulatory commissions swear themselves blue in saying that no loss of life followed. Mmmm… Reports tell us otherwise in spikes of death and illness by cancer. As for causes, Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC) experts have blamed the accident on lack of communication, lack of training, equipment failure, operator error, etc. Not reassuring when you think that the plant has not been closed to this day. Read more…

Actors, brainless and generally heartless, should stick to acting

August 26, 2011 Leave a comment

In the May 9 issue of the New Yorker’s Talk of the Town, actor Ted Danson talks to Elizabeth Kolbert—the magazine’s environment expert—about his work in the field of oceanography and marine conservation. He talks about the protection of oceans and marine life, about his concern over the fact that a year after the BP oil spill, offshore drilling is again being promoted. (Though why he should be disappointed by politicians being politicians and wealthy companies getting away with murder indicates naiveté more than anything else.) I was surprised at Kolbert–a great and thorough journalist–who wonders about whether an actor shouldn’t stick to acting. Yes, that’s the common attitude toward celebrities putting their weight behind a cause. Elizabeth Taylor and AIDS, Sean Penn and Haiti, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon in their heyday as all-round activists, Read more…

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