Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mama, we're all crazy now

These days sometimes I can't tell the difference between fake news and satire and real news. It's a strange world, as Jeffrey Beaumont said to Sandy Williams in Blue Velvet.

I think the Times Online is a real news outlet, and not the British version of The Onion. But with stories like these, who knows?
  • Local Catholics in the Italian town where Pope Benedict XVI is vacationing are miffed at a new museum piece showing a bizarre Kermit the Frog lookalike hanging on a crucifix, calling it a "public obscenity." It depicts a bright green frog with its tongue hanging out, nailed to a cross, with a beer mug in one outstretched hand and an egg in the other.

  • A liberal bishop from Sri Lanka suggested to his colleagues at the Lambeth Conference of Anglican church leaders that they should take the afternoon off to settle their theological differences about the ordination of gay priest over a game of cricket.

  • The mayor of Capo d’Orlando, Sicily today took a hammer to a street sign bearing the name of Giuseppe Garibaldi, calling the revolutionary hero who led the struggle to unify Italy a "a ferocious murderer in the service of Freemasonry and the British."

  • The Vatican has erected an inflatable church on the beach in Cagliari, Sardinia, saying it was the "next logical step" after providing places of "spiritual comfort" at gas stations, nightclubs and seaside resorts. "It will prove its worth as an investment," said Father Andrea Brugnoli, the genius behind the idea. "Some say the next step will be inflatable Christians."
In a strange way, it's nice to know that Europeans are as certifiably crazy as we Americans are.

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  1. That Crucified Kermit is awesome! I would love to have one. It would look great above my mantle.

  2. Speaking of wacky news, look at the entire Global Warming crap:

    Of course, your government and cable network news knows best!

  3. Infotoxins refer to the use of disinformation, cynicism and truth “stretching” to manipulate individual and societal worldviews. Kalle Lasn (2008) provides an example:

    “Say that an overwhelming majority of respected scientists believe that human actions are causing potentially catastrophic climate change. As an automaker, we stand to lose out. So let’s manipulate popular opinion by funding a handful of contrarians who believe otherwise. Then we launch a campaign to suggest that any threat to the car is an attack on personal freedoms. We fund “grassroots” groups to defend the right to drive. We portray anti-car activists as prudes who long for the days of the horse and buggy. We allow our disinformation to accumulate in the public imagination, just like mercury in an ecosystem. Once we’ve circulated enough of the toxin, the balance of public opinion will shift to our side. We sit back, watch our infotoxins spread – and get ready to sell bigger, badder cars for years to come.”

    Infotoxins are being used here. The evolution of our understanding of our ecosystem and our role in it represents significant stress for both new and established players, and for some who see the mounting evidence and argument against their paradigm and technology, the changes are catastrophic. According to Kubler-Ross in her research on the cycles of grief published in 1969 those impacted by catastrophic events experience all or some of the stages of grief when attempting to adapt to change:

    1. Denial that anything is wrong
    2. Anger against the situation and those who have identified the issue
    3. Bargaining to try and maintain things the way they were
    4. Depression about the hopelessness of the situation
    5. Acceptance that things are changing and that a different reality is possible

    The stakeholders who are using infotoxins to manipulate and resist change can easily be included in these first three stages described by Kubler-Ross. Whether resisting the loss of their monopoly, frustration over exploitation, resistance to changes in the physical landscape, resistance to the redistribution of ownership or some other factor, the use of infotoxins is a symptom arising from the root causes of social friction, a symptom that will exist in any pluralistic society where stakeholders are negotiating competing or unaligned worldviews.

  4. I agree. It's too bad that those pushing the Global Warming agenda are using infotoxins to do so. We have a responsibility to our environment and we don't have to lie to fulfill a responsibility.

    Even if we have no impact with G.W. (obviously we do-I disagree with the amount of impact as offered through Gore and others Infotoxins) we KNOW that we affect the environment in a way that is negative to indiginous life and humans. Why lie using Infotoxins?

    Lies from EITHER side are wrong. STOP lying if you want to help the environment, or at least address all the information available. The G.W. initiative uses Infotoxins to push an agenda. They are the same as those pretending we do not impact the environment, not different.

    The use of Infotoxins by the G.W. -are counter-productive, as lies always are.

    The long message about Infotoxins offers no evidence to refute the statements made in the video. That's a very common Infotoxin tactic. It's actually a straw-man argument. STOP using Infotoxins to lie to people.

    Let's examine these points:

    >1. Denial that anything is wrong<

    The scientists in the video are not doing so. They agree that Global Warming is occuring. They disagree that the impact is solely or even largely due to human activity.

    >2. Anger against the situation and those who have identified the issue<

    The scientists in the video are not angry against anyone. I admit a bit of anger, but it is because I bought into it hook, line, and sinker for so long but always wondered why the information was not clear all the points. Now we know. The use of Infotoxins by the Global Warming fearmongers.

    3. Bargaining to try and maintain things the way they were

    The scientists are delivering facts, facts the G.W. initiative blithely ignores or fails to address. They are not trying to maintain things the way they were or are. The G.W. crowd should stop trying to maintain the use of Infotoxins, as that's 'things the way they were'.

    4. Depression about the hopelessness of the situation

    The scientists in the video do not seem depressed nor hopeless at all.

    5. Acceptance that things are changing and that a different reality is possible

    How is that going to happen when the first four points aren't happening? Keep spreading Infotoxins and you'll fail to help the environment AT ALL. Only the TRUTH can save the environment, not network news drivel driven by corporate interests trying to break into a new market. Your statement, "Infotoxins are being used here." is absolutely true of your post. Stop using them.

  5. Worse than just Global Warming is how the repairs we're planning are making the matter worse. Biofuels are bad for the environment, increase greenhouse gases, and for poor countries and starving people to death:
    "Another common misconception is that bio-fuels are environmentally friendly. Albeit the final product of biofuels is cleaner then gasoline or diesel, many of the biofuel farmers are clearing forest and jungles to make room for biofuel crops. This clearing of vegetation causes the concentration of CO2 to increase further. "

    Solar panels and wind generators can add more to emissions in their creation than they can pay off.

    "PV cells are quite energy intensive to make and can take up to 5 years of solid use to repay their carbon debt (theamount of CO2 emitted during manufacture). If the system is used in conjunction with batteries the carbon debt might be 10 years."

    It's better to purchase a fuel-efficient car from the used market than a hybrid, which might never, ever equal the carbon debt used in its creation in comparison to buying a used car.

    All the proposed fixes to G.W. are broken right now. Most of them are not cost-effective. Some of them are detrimental to human and animal life and do not reduce greenhouse emissions at all, when everything is calculated.

  6. Nobody

    For someone open minded and objective you seem to be quite negative and focused on underlining failures and shortcomings. What is working? What are the options and opportunities?

    You are right that some of the solutions are problematic. All to often it is because the solutions are band aids rather than real options for addressing the root causes of the problems.

    I hope I am wrong and you are right about climate change (or more appropriately climate destabilization) and that the crisis is not real.

    The mounting evidence does not look good though.

    I am unwilling to not take action to address it though and I am likewise unwilling not to address the other challenges facing us as a species.

    This clip is worth watching for a basic intro to this premise.

    There are a lot of useful questions we should be asking when comparing what we have and possible options about our future energy system. Some include:

    What is the carbon debt/footprint of other conventional forms of power generation when you look at their full life cycle?

    What are the other associated costs (and benefits) of centralized versus decentralized power with conventional and renewable resources?

    What is the cost of a car centric lifestyle that demands massive energy inputs for making and running the vehicles and infrastructure?

    What does energy security look like?

    Why are insurance companies and financial institutions taking into consideration the effects of climate disruption?

    Why do we fail to take externalities into consideration when calculating costs?

    Who should benefit from the exploitation of their energy resources, locals or external firms?

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. Again I hope you are right about global warming and that the efforts being made by many are unnecessary (but still beneficial - jobs, industry, energy security, reduced pollution, local economic development, etc.).

    if you are wrong I hope we can find practical solutions rather than simply cynicism and negativity to wallow in while the world falls apart. There are no silver bullets, there is the choice to be proactive.

    S & F

  7. "I hope I am wrong and you are right about climate change (or more appropriately climate destabilization) and that the crisis is not real."

    Would that be the case, I'd be exceedingly pleased. If you please, read what I wrote and listen to the scientists. NOBODY, and I'm not either, says there isn't a crisis. There clearly is. The issue is how much we can do to solve it and whether or not those attempting to do so are offering us clear information. While it may be a large part of the equation, the G.W. proponents seem to want to suggest that it is purely man-made, when clearly there are other significant factors given the information on solar flares and other climatic records.

    Do not get me wrong, there is unequivically an issue. How much will the lowering human-produced CO2 impact the issue is the question. We are not being given the whole story (by either side) and we can't fix the problem by half with half.

    The fixes as they stand are bad for Africa and third-world countries, increase CO2 levels and deforestation, and are highly ineffective and are currently profit driven. Many of these fixes, as they stand, are detrimental to the problem and not productive at all.


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