Friday Links: Apocalypse Edition (12/21/2012)

Posted: December 21, 2012 in Friday Links
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Of course everything didn’t end all at once. Does no one understand the meaning of Apocalypse at all?

As a slightly-related starting point, here’s the voiceover opening montage to The Road Warrior (1981), which is one of the great film intros of all time:

While most people think about apocalypse as a singular event (it’s sexier that way), the reality is that we are living in apocalyptic times where a group of related crises (climate change, resource depletion, etc.) all point toward a wide-scale, gradual collapse of civilization as we know it. One of the most overlooked aspects in this dire scenario, at least beyond existing drought areas, is the increasing threat of water scarcity pretty much everywhere.

This article gets at one particular manifestation of gross negligence with regard to stewardship and so-called “development,” AND the crazy kind of solutions people come up with:

“Want some Missouri water? Colorado, get in line” AGua, 12/19/2012

The slices of the Colorado River pie are getting cut thinner and thinner.  With growing populations in southwestern cities and increased needs for irrigation, doling out the dwindling supplies of the Colorado River has reached such a dried up state that government agents are suggesting piping water from the Missouri River 600 miles across Kansas to Denver.  The federal Bureau of Reclamation (part of the Department of the Interior) will be releasing a report this week proposing a constellation of options for mediating growing concern over water supplies for the ~25 million people who rely on the Colorado River, reports the NYTimes.

Words cannot….


Also on the water front:

“Poisoning the Well: How the Feds Let Industry Pollute the Nation’s Underground Water Supply” – Abraham Lustgarten (ProPublica, 12/11/2012)

Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation’s drinking water.

In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.

Scary stuff.  Thanks EPA!

I won’t even comment on this report. Treehugger has an activist article responding to it here, if you are so inclined. I guess I should be actually hoping for coal in my stocking:

“Coal’s share of global energy mix to continue rising, with coal closing in on oil as world’s top energy source by 2017” – The International Energy Agency, 12/17/2012

[T]he world will burn around 1.2 billion more tonnes of coal per year by 2017 compared to today – equivalent to the current coal consumption of Russia and the United States combined. Coal’s share of the global energy mix continues to grow each year, and if no changes are made to current policies, coal will catch oil within a decade.

We are so fucked.

In not so apocalyptic news . . .

One of the most notable online trends this year has been the increased use of doxxing and shaming against internet users who violate certain ethical norms. My good friend Whitney and her co-author Kate Miltner ruminate on these developments in this excellent piece from The Awl:

“The Internet’s Vigilante Shame Army” Whitney Phillips and Kate Miltner (The Awl, 12/19/2012)

If recent high-profile controversies surrounding Violentacrez, Comfortably Smug, racist teens on Twitter, Lindsey Stone and Hunter Moore are any indication, it would seem that many people, members of the media very much included, are increasingly willing to take online justice into their own hands. Because these behaviors attempt to route around the existing chain of command (within mainstream media circles, the legal system, even on-site moderation policies), I’ve taken to describing them as a broad kind of online vigilantism. It might not be vigilantism in the Dog the Bounty Hunter sense, but it does—at least, it is meant to—call attention to and push back against some real or perceived offense.


And for lighter fare (and in thinking about the review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey I’ll get posted soon), Brian Forrest at Avidly riffs on one of the biggest WTFs in LOtR:  “Did I Mention My Army of the Dead?”

Let’s be clear that having the ability to summon an  INVULNERABLE ARMY OF THE DEAD might be useful, if planning a war. And not only does he have the ability to summon them, but it is “foretold” that he’ll do so (a foretelling in Middle Earth is akin to a Nate Silver prediction in our time– the shit’s going down whether you throw a fit on Fox News or not). So why allow so much bloodshed before mentioning this important strategic game-changer? Doesn’t seem like a quality I’d look for in a returning king. I think a real monarch would have acted early.

Charlie Jane Anders over at io9 claims that the apocalypse cultural trend has finally run its course/exhausted itself/etc. One can only hope the deluge of inane Mayan Apocalypse macros and soundbites and other meme-y things from yesterday that everyone felt compelled to share are the end (pun intended).

“8 Signs That Pop Culture Is Finally Done With the Apocalypse” – Charlie Jane Anders (io9, 12/18/2012)

Now, all you hipsters . . .  just walk away. ;p


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