Archive | News

Solarpunk. A better future is possible

In the 1960’s, Tim Leary said “turn on, tune in, drop out.” Ken Kesey, by contrast, said, take all the craziness, madness, and glitz and make something better from it. Kesey was right. So is solarpunk. Screw despair, dystopia, and dropping out.

Which is not to say that things can’t be dystopian now, only that a better future is imaginable and can be created. In fact, that’s the task at hand. More than anything, despair and cynicism need to be  avoided, because they kill dreams and hope.


Solarpunk, a new movement in SF that examines the possibility of a future in which currently emerging movements in society and culture such as the green movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, and certain aspects of Occupy Wall Street coalesce to create a more optimistic future in a more just world. In the words of Sir Isaac Newton, however: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Like Newton, the solarpunk movement stands on the shoulders of giants—giants of science fiction.”


Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction, art, fashion and activism that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?” The aesthetics of solarpunk merge the practical with the beautiful, the well-designed with the green and wild, the bright and colorful with the earthy and solid. Solarpunk can be utopian, just optimistic, or concerned with the struggles en route to a better world — but never dystopian. As our world roils with calamity, we need solutions, not warnings. Solutions to live comfortably without fossil fuels, to equitably manage scarcity and share abundance, to be kinder to each other and to the planet we share. At once a vision of the future, a thoughtful provocation, and an achievable lifestyle.

Vegas shooter musings

The alt-right is going berserk trying to show Paddock somehow must be ISIS-linked / crazed libtard terrorist, anything but what he was – which was a secretive white gun nut from an area with lots of sovereign citizens. Some of the more reality-based people on the right are doing a credible job of digging into his background.

Paddocks’s brother made a huge deal of saying Paddock was smart enough to have done this completely on his own. The sheriff thinks otherwise. I don’t trust the brother.

I think Paddock was illegally dealing guns. Only a dealer would have as many guns as he had. Many of his guns sell for several thousand each. He was not a retail gun owner, IMO.

The sheriff said Paddock led a “secret life” which they were trying to uncover. Paddock’s history from 1988-2013 is unknown by all accounts I’ve read. He went to great lengths to cover his tracks, be anonymous, and pretty much remains a cipher. Few photos. No online presence.

Anders Breivik murdered 77 and planned and executed it entirely on his own. He also left a manifesto. Paddock’s motives are unknown.

Valium had nothing to do with it. Millions take Valium every day and do not slaughter innocents. And the script was expired and was only for 10 mg pills, which is nothing.

Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock is a cipher

Stephen Paddock was a high roller. Thus, he probably asked for and got comped the suite and hotel room he slaughtered innocents from. The image is from an excellent nuts-and-bolts story from NYT about the chronology of the Vegas shooting. Paddock chose the suite carefully. The concert area was 400 yards away and once he broke two windows, he had an unobstructed ability to murder. Plus, it would be very hard to take him out fast.

It just bugs me he is so much of a cipher. It’s like we’re missing something. He was not on social media at all. Most 64 year-olds have at least some social media presence. Nobody seems to know anything about him. He gave his Mesquite house keys to a neighbor and asked him to watch the house when he was gone, and the neighbor never saw any guns. That means they were very well hidden.

In gambling parlance, Paddock was a “whale”, a very high roller. Whales get everything comped and get whatever they want, like suites.

Mandalay Bay shooter Stephen Paddock gambled with at least $160,000 in the past several weeks at Las Vegas casinos, according to senior law enforcement officials.

A source familiar with the investigation told NBC News that Paddock was a frequent player “with the highest status” at Caesars Entertainment properties in Las Vegas.

The crazed lone gunman theory just doesn’t seem to fit here.

When police stormed his room shortly before midnight, Mr. Paddock lay dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He left behind 23 guns in the hotel suite, including two rifles mounted on tripods, 19 guns in his house, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, broken windows, and a trail of questions by family members and neighbors who are struggling to make sense of his motive.

What it is with our obsession with sports?

I’ve never really understood our national obsession with team sports. Sure, they are fun to watch, to cheer for our teams and boo the opposition. And yes, athletes do absolutely spectacular things. But the whole hoopla about how sports builds character to me is silly self-justifying rubbish. Sure, football can build team cooperation. However, so do lots of other activities. I’ve backpacked on multi-day trips in the Sierras. It’s a team, it’s a group, everyone helps each other, in cooking, scrambling up and down steep terrain, etc. There are lots of other examples of non-sports team-building.

It is now abundantly clear that college and pro sports are awash in criminality, kickbacks, bribes. Almost any behavior can be rationalized, explained, and legal consequences made to go away if the athlete is important enough. This definitely sends a message to youth. But it’s the wrong message.

A conservative friend said of the football kneeling, I watch sports to get away from all this, can’t it all just go away? I sympathize with his feelings, but it can’t. Politics intrudes on sports regularly. So do criminal investigations like the college basketball bribe scandal, which is almost certainly going to metastasize, put many people in prison, and destroy college basketball teams.

Too many universities now treat academics as an appendage to their sports programs. The bigger and better the teams, the more the money flows in. Everyone gets rich – and of course the whole system got corrupted. There’s no way it couldn’t have.

Sports need to get back to its amateur roots and stay there.

Puerto Rico is getting help. But the destruction is so severe

The huge problem with helping Puerto Rico is you can’t just roll convoys of supplies in by truck. It’s an island. Everything comes in by ship or plane. FEMA, it appears, has genuinely mobilized as have multiple government agencies and resources. Thousands of personnel are on the ground. Search and rescue comes first, then getting power back on. However, the logistics are daunting and the level of destruction is horrendous. And people need food, water, medicine, and shelter now.

The National Guard Bureau (NGB) has more than 2,300 Guard members on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands taking part in security and support operations. The Air National Guard is focused on transporting food, water, and communications capabilities as well as rapidly increasing airlift into affected areas.

FEMA, working in coordination with federal partners, provided more than 1.5-million meals, 1.1-million liters of water, nearly 300 infant and toddler kits, and nearly 12,000 emergency roofing kits to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico for distribution to the public since Hurricane Maria’s landfall.

Ports are beginning to open, shipments are coming in. A few scattered areas have electricity and cell phone service. However, destroyed roads and little power slows everything down. The mayor of San Juan says two people just died in their hospital because generators ran out of fuel. Outbreaks of diseases could happen. So could rampaging gangs in the streets, as people get hungry and desperate. Many areas have no running water. That means maybe a couple of million people will need to find alternative ways to go potty, with all the accompanying health hazards that implies.

Puerto Rico’s water authority… is running water with generators it had in stock. All of the island’s waste water and water treatment plants lack electricity. “We still haven’t received the ones that FEMA is going to give me, but they are working with us,” he said. “We need 2,500 generators for the entire system to be running on generator power. Obviously we are not going to find that.”

“Do you know what people are referring to this town as? You know ‘The Walking Dead’?” Ms. Rivera said, noting that crime was sure to rise as people grew increasingly desperate. “We are afraid for our lives.”

Health care is a huge issue.

Although there’s food provided at the shelter, there is no running water. At night, she says, with no power residents are left in the dark and are awakened sometimes by the sound of gunshots nearby. But for Rivera and many others at the shelter, their biggest worry is health care.

“My husband is a kidney transplant survivor,” Rivera says, her voice trembling with emotion. “He’s diabetic and we don’t have ice to store his insulin.”