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September 29, 2006

Robert Polidori's "After the Flood" @ the Met

 3_new_orleans_polidori_048_marigny5417l_1
5417 Marigny Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 2006

reBlogged via NEWSgrist:

via NYTimes:
Art Review
What's Wrong With This Picture? {excerpted}
By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN
Published: September 22, 2006

After Hurricane Katrina, Robert Polidori went to New Orleans, where he lived years ago, to shoot photographs of the devastation for The New Yorker. He stayed longer than first planned, then went back again and again, for weeks, taking hundreds of pictures with a large-format camera that produced wide, superbly detailed color photographs. The camera was awkward to manipulate through the wreckage and in the heat, without electricity and lights. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jeff L. Rosenheim, a photography curator, has selected a couple dozen of these big panoramas and interiors to make a pocket-size lament for a woebegone city.

They are unpeopled scenes: New Orleans as our modern Pompeii. Mr. Polidori stood near the corner of Law and Egania Streets where a plain, single-story cottage with a hole in the roof rests beside a telephone pole. A crisscross of power lines forms a shallow X against the empty blue sky. The house, pale green and white, recedes, diagonally.

Except that — the image can take a second to decipher — there are two cottages, one green, one white. During Katrina, the green one, like Dorothy's house, floated clear across Egania Street from who knows where, stopped perpendicular to its neighbor by those electric lines, which acted like arrestor wires on an aircraft carrier, ripping open the hole in the roof.

If this sounds confusing, that’s the nature of chaos, which can be as hard to photograph as it is to describe. Fortunately, Mr. Polidori is a connoisseur of chaos, and the beauty of his pictures — they have a languid, almost underwater beauty — entails locating order in bedlam. [...]

These are photographs, in other words, without nostalgia, as Mr. Rosenheim writes in a short introduction to Mr. Polidori's book, "After the Flood," but with "something of the air that generations of anonymous New Orleanians had breathed in and out." They make "no attempt to excavate what went wrong in New Orleans or why the state and federal response remains even today predisposed to cronyism, gross fraud and corruption." They simply testify, as Mr. Rosenheim puts it, "to a city that care forgot."

It's good of the Met to remind us.

Learn more about this exhibition

View images from this exhibition

July 30, 2006

Disasters of War: Lebanon oil slick

 

via Breitbart News:
Lebanon oil slick 'worst environmental disaster' in Med
Jul 29 7:03 AM US/Eastern

The Mediterranean is threatened by its worst ever environmental disaster after Israel's bombing of a power plant in Lebanon sent thousands of tonnes of fuel gushing into the sea, the environment minister charged.

"Up until now 10,000-15,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil have spilled out into the sea," after Israel's bombing of the power station in Jiyeh two weeks ago, Lebanese Environment Minister Yacub Sarraf told AFP Saturday.

"It's without doubt the biggest environmental catastrophe that the Mediterranean has known and it risks having terrible consequences not only for our country but for all the countries of the eastern Mediterranean."

Israeli forces bombed the tanks at the power station on July 14 and July 15, just days into their offensive on Lebanon which has seen blistering air strikes across the country and a bloody ground incursion in the south.

The leak from one of the tanks, which are located just 25 metres (80 feet) from the sea, has now stopped but another containing 25,000 tonnes of fuel oil is still on fire and is in danger of exploding. Between 8,000-10,000 tonnes of fuel are on the shore and 5,000 on the open water.

"Until now, the worst ecological disasters have taken place in the oceans and it's the first time that an oil spill has happened outside the open sea," said Sarraf. "We can have no illusions."

Sarraf said that the cost of cleaning up Lebanon's once golden beaches -- which until the bombardment were major attractions for locals and tourists -- will cost between 45-50 million dollars and would not be finished until next summer.

The spill is now affecting 70 kilometres (40 miles) of Lebanon's 220-kilometre-long (140 miles) coast, a third of its coastline. Beaches and rocks are covered in a black sludge which has reached the famous tourist town of Byblos, north of Beirut.

"If nothing is done, not only will currents flowing towards the north mean that one third of Lebanon's coastline be hit, but also Cyprus, Syria, Turkey, Greece and even Israel," Sarraf said.

"The fauna and the Mediterranean ecosystem risk suffering badly and certain species are threatened with extinction," he warned.

Sarraf said that owing to the Israeli blockade of Lebanon's waters, it was impossible to send ships to clear up the pollution.

"I have appealed to Britain, Italy, Spain, the United States, all the countries which have already suffered oil slicks to ask for technical assistance as we cannot act on our own," he said.

Kuwait has sent 40 tonnes of material that would allow the petrol to thicken and also special carpets which absorb petroleum products.

A resident of Byblos, known worldwide for its seafood restaurants and historic harbour, said "for the last four days, fish, crustaceans and crabs have been coming in black, and they are dying as victims of this oil slick."

Fuad Hamdan, director of Friends of the Earth, Europe, and founder of Greenpeace Lebanon, agreed that "it is certainly the worst environmental disaster ever on the eastern Mediterranean coast."

Hamdan said the eastern Mediterranean coast from the Israeli port of Haifa until Syria's Lattakiya was already heavily polluted from Israeli industry, Lebanese sewage and industry from east Beirut and from Syria.

He advised people against eating fish from coastal areas. "Anyway it will smell bad and put people off."

Besides the oil slick, the fire from the oil tanks has caused atmospheric pollution which has already reached Beirut. "Now the toxic cloud is stretching over a 30 kilometre distance," said Sarraf.
The image “http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/07/29/world/650-envrio.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
via NYTimes, Environment:
Casualties of War: Lebanon's Trees, Air and Sea
By HASSAN M. FATTAH
Published: July 29, 2006

JIYEH, Lebanon, July 28 — As Israel continues the bombing campaign that has turned parts of Lebanon into rubble, environmentalists are warning of widespread and lasting damage.

Spilled and burning oil, along with forest fires, toxic waste flows and growing garbage heaps have gone from nuisances to threats to people and wildlife, they say, marring a country traditionally known for its clean air and scenic greenery. Many of Lebanon’s once pristine beaches and much of its coastline have been coated with a thick sludge that threatens marine life.

As smoke billowed overhead on Friday, turning day into dusk, Ali Saeed, a resident, recounted how war has changed this small industrial town about 15 miles south of Beirut.

Most people have left, he said. It is virtually impossible to drive on the roads, and almost everyone hides behind sealed windows.

"There's nowhere to run," Mr. Saeed said, showing off the black speckles on his skin that have turned everything white here into gray. "It's dripping fuel from the sky."

 

Continue reading "Disasters of War: Lebanon oil slick" »

July 27, 2006

Global Warming: Scientist Sets Record Straight

 

Image: Michael Kupperman

via NYTimes:
Op-Ed Contributor
Cold, Hard Facts
By PETER DORAN
Published: July 27, 2006

Chicago
IN the debate on global warming, the data on the climate of Antarctica has been distorted, at different times, by both sides. As a polar researcher caught in the middle, I’d like to set the record straight.

In January 2002, a research paper about Antarctic temperatures, of which I was the lead author, appeared in the journal Nature. At the time, the Antarctic Peninsula was warming, and many people assumed that meant the climate on the entire continent was heating up, as the Arctic was. But the Antarctic Peninsula represents only about 15 percent of the continent’s land mass, so it could not tell the whole story of Antarctic climate. Our paper made the continental picture more clear.

My research colleagues and I found that from 1996 to 2000, one small, ice-free area of the Antarctic mainland had actually cooled. Our report also analyzed temperatures for the mainland in such a way as to remove the influence of the peninsula warming and found that, from 1966 to 2000, more of the continent had cooled than had warmed. Our summary statement pointed out how the cooling trend posed challenges to models of Antarctic climate and ecosystem change.

Newspaper and television reports focused on this part of the paper. And many news and opinion writers linked our study with another bit of polar research published that month, in Science, showing that part of Antarctica’s ice sheet had been thickening — and erroneously concluded that the earth was not warming at all. “Scientific findings run counter to theory of global warming,” said a headline on an editorial in The San Diego Union-Tribune. One conservative commentator wrote, “It’s ironic that two studies suggesting that a new Ice Age may be under way may end the global warming debate.”

In a rebuttal in The Providence Journal, in Rhode Island, the lead author of the Science paper and I explained that our studies offered no evidence that the earth was cooling. But the misinterpretation had already become legend, and in the four and half years since, it has only grown.

Our results have been misused as “evidence” against global warming by Michael Crichton in his novel “State of Fear” and by Ann Coulter in her latest book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism.” Search my name on the Web, and you will find pages of links to everything from climate discussion groups to Senate policy committee documents — all citing my 2002 study as reason to doubt that the earth is warming. One recent Web column even put words in my mouth. I have never said that “the unexpected colder climate in Antarctica may possibly be signaling a lessening of the current global warming cycle.” I have never thought such a thing either.

Our study did find that 58 percent of Antarctica cooled from 1966 to 2000. But during that period, the rest of the continent was warming. And climate models created since our paper was published have suggested a link between the lack of significant warming in Antarctica and the ozone hole over that continent. These models, conspicuously missing from the warming-skeptic literature, suggest that as the ozone hole heals — thanks to worldwide bans on ozone-destroying chemicals — all of Antarctica is likely to warm with the rest of the planet. An inconvenient truth?

Also missing from the skeptics’ arguments is the debate over our conclusions. Another group of researchers who took a different approach found no clear cooling trend in Antarctica. We still stand by our results for the period we analyzed, but unbiased reporting would acknowledge differences of scientific opinion.

The disappointing thing is that we are even debating the direction of climate change on this globally important continent. And it may not end until we have more weather stations on Antarctica and longer-term data that demonstrate a clear trend.

In the meantime, I would like to remove my name from the list of scientists who dispute global warming. I know my coauthors would as well.

Peter Doran is an associate professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

July 06, 2006

Farmers to get their own biennale

 

via The Art Newspaper:

Farmers to get their own biennale
By Gareth Harris | Posted 22 June 2006

LONDON. Just when you thought farming in the UK was in terminal decline, help may be at hand from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The Art Newspaper has learned that representatives from the UK’s Rural Cultural Forum (RCF) met with officials from the DCMS at Tate Britain on 23 May to request funding for the first Farmers’ Biennale of Art and Agriculture, scheduled to open in Yorkshire in the summer of 2009.

The RCF, a lottery-funded umbrella organisation for 25 rural associations such as the National Farmers’ Union and the Soil Association, campaigns for “cultural investment in rural creativity”, said a spokeswoman.

The biennale will focus on three areas, according to Ian Hunter of Littoral Arts, a member association of the RCF. These include commissions for artists working on farms and in disused farmers’ markets, field-art including crop circles and urban projects such as growing “corn fields in the cities”.

Mr Hunter told The Art Newspaper that research into the project had been funded by the Arts Council, which provided £22,350. He said: “Why can’t we appropriate urban cultural models such as the Liverpool Biennale and then re-deploy them to renegotiate our relationship with agriculture?”

Other issues under discussion at Tate Britain, said Mr Hunter, included a new national gallery for rural art and culture to “promote new contexts for contemporary art practice in challenging rural and agricultural issues”. The National Agricultural Centre at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, near Coventry, is the proposed site for the new museum.

The RCF is also in discussions with Tate Britain about the possibility of hosting, in 2010, a survey of art inspired by agriculture, with works by Stubbs and Damien Hirst.

June 26, 2006

Tourism and the American Landscape @ The Cooper-Hewitt

 

Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900). Schoodic Peninsula from Mount Desert at Sunrise, 1850–1855. Brush and oil paint on paperboard. Gift of Louis P. Church, 1917-4-332. Photo: Matt Flynn.

Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Moran:
Tourism and the American Landscape

[Link

May 19–October 22, 2006


The Cooper-Hewitt
National Design Museum
New York City 

As nineteenth-century America rapidly evolved into an urban, industrialized society, the natural beauty of the country's vast untouched landscape became the chosen subject matter of many artists, including Frederic Edwin Church, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Moran. These painters recorded, romanticized, and sometimes embellished views of Niagara, Maine, the Catskills, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and other scenic locations, stimulating a burgeoning America to become a nation of tourists.

During the decades following the Civil War, recreational travel became accessible and affordable for the middle class as well as the wealthy. To serve a rapidly growing tourist clientele, hoteliers, real-estate builders, and railroad entrepreneurs developed, and eventually threatened, the same regions chosen by the artists for their pristine, untouched beauty. Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Moran: Tourism and the American Landscape chronicles the ways in which the works of some of America's most significant artists paralleled the evolving interest in and development of the American landscape while at the same time embedding icons of natural beauty in the nation’'s collective consciousness.

June 12, 2006

inigo manglano-ovalle: blinking out of existence

 


inigo manglano-ovalle: blinking out of existence

june 23 , 2006 - september 3, 2006

The Rochester Art Center is pleased to be the first Minnesota institution to present a large-scale solo exhibition of new and recent work by Chicago-based artist and recent MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. Working in a variety of media including video, sound, photography, and sculpture, this exhibition represents the largest and most ambitious installation at the Rochester Art Center to date, utilizing all major galleries and devoting over 6,500 square feet to the artist’s unique vision. As such, this exhibition will expose the scope and breadth of the artist’s oeuvre to Minnesota audiences for the first time. For his exhibition at the Rochester Art Center, Manglano-Ovalle will present a wide-variety of works focusing on diverse subjects—climate, immigration and emigration, power and powerlessness, the effects of technology, international politics, identity, and the possibility of violence. Frequently collaborating with scientists, engineers, architects, writers, geneticists, and others, Manglano-Ovalle creates objects that are both technically complex and formally captivating. Two such objects become the foundation of the exhibition—Iceberg(r11i01) and Cloud Prototype #1.

Iceberg(r11i01) is based on concrete scientific data of an existing iceberg drifting in the Labrador Sea. This iceberg was scanned with the assistance of the Canadian Hydraulic Center utilizing both radar and sonar. Using data provided by the Center, the artist worked closely with Chicago architect Colin Franzen to create a 25-foot sculpture comprised of thousands of aluminum tubes and rapid-prototyped joints.

(above)
Cloud Prototype No. 2, 2003
fiberglass and titanium alloy foil 11 x 16 feet
Scale model of 30km-long cumulonimbus thundercloud based on actual storm database provided by the Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, Univ. of Illinois and the National Computing Center, Beckman Institute, Urbana-Champaign. Courtesy Max Protetch Gallery, New York.

Cloud Prototype #1 is a large-scale sculpture of a cumulo-nimbus thundercloud modeled by the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Working with architect Douglas Garafalo, Manglano-Ovalle has transformed the numerical data scanned from this existing 50 kilometer wide thundercloud into a titanium-clad sculpture produced by computer-controlled milling machines frequently used by the automobile industry.

Both works begin to comment on ephemeral forces such as weather or clouds while examining patterns of migration uninhibited by political or social boundaries. James Rondeau, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, states: "Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle is engaged in a process of understanding how certain extraordinary forces and systems—man-made and natural—are always and already in the process of remaking the world. As an artist, thinker, and citizen he absorbs and transforms catalytic ideas and paradigmatic events, adapting them within the context of a formal, intellectual, multivalent visual practice. ‘What I want to represent,’ the artist declares, ‘is how the world represents itself to us.’ Over the course of the last decade, his protean achievements include, but are not limited to, activist-inspired public art, sculpture, film, sound, and photography—all of which fuse the politics of contemporary urban culture with poetic meditations on aesthetics, history, and identity." (James Rondeau, Event Horizons, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Fudacion "la Caixa" 2003.)

About the Artist

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle was born in Madrid, Spain and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Media Arts Award (1997-2001) from the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, a Media Arts Residency (1998-2000) from the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington in Seattle, an ArtPace Foundation International Artist Residency Fellowship (1997) in San Antonio, Texas, and a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship (1995).

Exhibition Catalog

A fully-illustrated exhibition catalog will offer critical essays by Kris Douglas, Chief Curator of the Rochester Art Center, Claire Barliant, Associate Editor of ARTFORUM, and an interview with Manglano-Ovalle by Yasmil Raymond, Assistant Curator at the Walker Art Center.

May 28, 2006

On 'An Inconvenient Truth'

 

An Inconvenient Truth [view the trailer]
Official site
Opens today in New York and Los Angeles.
Directed by Davis Guggenheim; produced by Laurie David, Lawrence Bender and Scott Z. Burns; released by Paramount Classics and Participant Productions. Running time: 96 minutes.

via NYTimes:
MOVIE REVIEW
MORE ON 'An Inconvenient Truth'
Warning of Calamities and Hoping for a Change in 'An Inconvenient Truth'
By A. O. SCOTT
Published: May 24, 2006

CANNES, France, May 23 — "An Inconvenient Truth," Davis Guggenheim's new documentary about the dangers of climate change, is a film that should never have been made. It is, after all, the job of political leaders and policymakers to protect against possible future calamities, to respond to the findings of science and to persuade the public that action must be taken to protect the common interest.

But when this does not happen — and it is hardly a partisan statement to observe that, in the case of global warming, it hasn't — others must take up the responsibility: filmmakers, activists, scientists, even retired politicians. That "An Inconvenient Truth" should not have to exist is a reason to be grateful that it does.

Appearances to the contrary, Mr. Guggenheim's movie is not really about Al Gore. It consists mainly of a multimedia presentation on climate change that Mr. Gore has given many times over the last few years, interspersed with interviews and Mr. Gore's voice-over reflections on his life in and out of politics. His presence is, in some ways, a distraction, since it guarantees that "An Inconvenient Truth" will become fodder for the cynical, ideologically facile sniping that often passes for political discourse these days. But really, the idea that worrying about the effect of carbon-dioxide emissions on the world's climate makes you some kind of liberal kook is as tired as the image of Mr. Gore as a stiff, humorless speaker, someone to make fun of rather than take seriously.

In any case, Mr. Gore has long since proven to be a deft self-satirist. (He recently told a moderator at a Cannes Film Festival news conference to address him as "your Adequacy.") He makes a few jokes to leaven the grim gist of "An Inconvenient Truth," and some of them are funny, in the style of a college lecturer's attempts to keep the attention of his captive audience. Indeed, his onstage manner — pacing back and forth, fiddling with gadgets, gesturing for emphasis — is more a professor's than a politician's. If he were not the man who, in his own formulation "used to be the next president of the United States of America," he might have settled down to tenure and a Volvo (or maybe a Prius) in some leafy academic grove. [read on...]

 

more via NYTimes:
'An Inconvenient Truth': Al Gore's Fight Against Global Warming
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: May 22, 2006

The frustrations of a man whose long-sought goal remains out of reach are vividly on display in the first few minutes of "An Inconvenient Truth," a new documentary about former Vice President Al Gore's quest to spur action against global warming.

And the scene has nothing to do with the Supreme Court vote that denied Mr. Gore a chance to win the 2000 presidential election.

He is tapping on his laptop, adding yet another tweak to the illustrated climate lecture he has given more than 1,000 times since 1989 in ever more sophisticated ways: first with flip charts, then slides, then a mix of digital imagery, animation and high-tech stagecraft, and now through this film itself, which was screened at Cannes and opens on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles.

He laments being unable so far to awaken the public to what he calls a "planetary emergency" despite evidence that heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases are warming the earth, and even after Hurricane Katrina and Europe's deadly 2003 heat wave, which he calls a foretaste of much worse to come.

"I've been trying to tell this story for a long time, and I feel as if I've failed to get the message across," Mr. Gore muses.

The question now is whether the documentary, with the potential to reach millions of people instead of a roomful of listeners at a time, can do the job.

For the moment, opinions on its prospects range from hopeful to scornful, not so much a reflection on the film's quality as the vast distance between combatants in the fight over what to do, or not do, about human-caused warming.

In a recent interview in Manhattan, Mr. Gore said he was convinced that Americans would move on the issue, not just because of his documentary (and companion book), but also because of the vivid nature of recent climate-related disasters.

"The political system, like the environment, is nonlinear," he said. "In 1941 it was impossible for us to build 1,000 airplanes. In 1942 it was easy. As this pattern becomes ever more clear, there will be a rising public demand for action."

"An Inconvenient Truth" came about after Laurie David, a prominent Hollywood environmentalist, saw Mr. Gore give a short version of his presentation two years ago at an event held just before the premiere of the climate disaster movie "The Day After Tomorrow."

Ms. David said she was stunned by the power of Mr. Gore's talk and helped organize presentations in New York and Los Angeles for people involved in the news media, environmental groups, business and entertainment. By the time she had done the Los Angeles event, "I realized we had to make a movie out of it," she said. "What's the guy going to do? There are not physically enough hours in the day to travel to every town and city to show this thing."

She helped recruit a team of filmmakers and investors and, after pressing Mr. Gore, persuaded him to be followed by a film crew. [read on...]


Books of The Times | 'An Inconvenient Truth'
Al Gore Revisits Global Warming, With Passionate Warnings and Pictures
By MICHIKO KAKUTANI
Published: May 23, 2006

[...]

Fourteen years ago, during the 1992 campaign, the current president's father, George Herbert Walker Bush, dismissed Mr. Gore as "Ozone Man" — if the Clinton-Gore ticket were elected, he suggested, "we'll be up to our neck in owls and out of work for every American" — but with the emerging consensus on global warming today, Mr. Gore's passionate warnings about climate change seem increasingly prescient. He has revived the slide presentation about global warming that he first began giving in 1990 and taken that slide show on the road, and he has now turned that presentation into a book and a documentary film, both called "An Inconvenient Truth." The movie (which opens in New York and Los Angeles on Wednesday) shows a focused and accessible Gore — "a funnier, more relaxed and sympathetic character" than he was as a candidate, said The Observer, the British newspaper — and has revived talk in some circles of another possible Gore run for the White House.

As for the book, its roots as a slide show are very much in evidence. It does not pretend to grapple with climate change with the sort of minute detail and analysis displayed by three books on the subject that came out earlier this spring ("The Winds of Change" by Eugene Linden, "The Weather Makers" by Tim Flannery and "Field Notes From a Catastrophe" by Elizabeth Kolbert), and yet as a user-friendly introduction to global warming and a succinct summary of many of the central arguments laid out in those other volumes, "An Inconvenient Truth" is lucid, harrowing and bluntly effective.

Like Mr. Gore's 1992 book "Earth in the Balance," this volume displays an earnest, teacherly tone, but it's largely free of the New Age psychobabble and A-student grandiosity that rumbled through that earlier book. The author's wonky fascination with policy minutiae has been tamed in these pages, and his love of charts and graphs has been put to good use. Whereas the charts in "Earth in the Balance" tended to make the reader's eyes glaze over, the ones here clearly illustrate the human-caused rise in carbon dioxide levels in recent years, the simultaneous rise in Northern Hemisphere temperatures and the correlation between the two. Mr. Gore points out that 20 of the 21 hottest years measured "have occurred within the last 25 years," adding that the hottest year yet was 2005 — a year in which "more than 200 cities and towns" in the Western United States set all-time heat records. [read on...]

 

May 16, 2006

Battle for the North Pole


 via The Week, 5/12/2006:

The Battle for the North Pole
The melting Arctic ice cap may be bad news for polar bears, but it is prompting a frantic scramble for territory and resources. What's at stake?

How fast is the ice cap melting?
The size of the summer polar ice cap has shrunk 20 percent since 1979, reaching its smallest size last year. With average temperatures in the Arctic rising twice as fast as elsewhere in the world, climate scientists predict the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free by the summer of 2050. In place of the white wilderness that killed explorers and defeated navigators for centuries, the world would have a blue North Pole and a seasonally open sea nearly five times the size of the Mediterranean. Last August, a Russian vessel, the Akademik Fyodorov, became the first ship to reach the North Pole without having to use an icebreaker.

Who stands to lose from all this?
The melting of the ice could shut down the Gulf Stream and wreak havoc with the world’s coasts and climate. It would spell potential disaster for traditional Arctic communities, for ecosystems, and for plant and animal species—polar bears would drown or starve, and the species could become extinct. But fish would prosper. Warming Arctic waters are already creating new fishing grounds as fish migrate and adapt to new conditions. Pink salmon have been seen spawning in rivers far to the north of their traditional territory.

Who stands to gain?
The melting ice cap represents a colossal commercial opportunity. Russian icebreakers are already preparing to take tourists to the Pole for $30,000 each this summer, and the thaw could open up some highly lucrative shipping routes. A northeast sea route, north of Siberia, would allow shipping to sail from Europe to northeast Asia, cutting the journey by a third; and the fabled Northwest Passage through Canada's Arctic archipelago could be open to shipping in a few decades, cutting the journey from Europe to East Asia (now routed through the Panama Canal) by 4,000 miles. The greatest profits, however, are likely to be found under the ice.

What is being discovered there?
Oil and natural gas. A quarter of the world's untapped fossil fuels (including 375 billion barrels of oil) are thought to lie under the Arctic, and will become accessible as the ice melts. Industry experts now talk of a "black gold rush," as companies such as BP Amoco, Statoil of Norway, and the Russian giant Gasprom all race to tap already discovered reservoirs in the region. The Arctic, says Moscow-based energy analyst Christopher Weafer, "is the next energy frontier." [read on...]

HALLIBURTON SOLVES GLOBAL WARMING


via The Yes Men:

May 9, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

   Contact: mailto:EPDU@halliburtoncontracts.com
   Photos:  http://www.halliburtoncontracts.com/EPDU/

HALLIBURTON SOLVES GLOBAL WARMING
SurvivaBalls save managers from abrupt climate change


An advanced new technology will keep corporate managers safe even when climate change makes life as we know it impossible.

"The SurvivaBall is designed to protect the corporate manager no matter what Mother Nature throws his or her way," said Fred Wolf, a Halliburton representative who spoke today at the Catastrophic Loss conference held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Amelia Island, Florida. "This technology is the only rational response to abrupt climate change," he said to an attentive and appreciative audience.

Most scientists believe global warming is certain to cause an accelerating onslaught of hurricanes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, etc. and that a world-destroying disaster is increasingly possible. For example, Arctic melt has slowed the Gulf Stream by 30% in just the last decade; if the Gulf Stream stops, Europe will suddenly become just as cold as Alaska. Global heat and flooding events are also increasingly possible.

In order to head off such catastrophic scenarios, scientists agree we must reduce our carbon emissions by 70% within the next few years. Doing that would seriously undermine corporate profits, however, and so a more forward-thinking solution is needed.

At today's conference, Wolf and a colleague demonstrated three SurvivaBall mockups, and described how the units will sustainably protect managers from natural or cultural disturbances of any intensity or duration. The devices - looking like huge inflatable orbs - will include sophisticated communications systems, nutrient gathering capacities, onboard medical facilities, and a daunting defense infrastructure to ensure that the corporate mission will not go unfulfilled even when most human life is rendered impossible by catastrophes or the consequent epidemics and armed conflicts.

"It's essentially a gated community for one," said Wolf.

Dr. Northrop Goody, the head of Halliburton's Emergency Products Development Unit, showed diagrams and videos describing the SurvivaBall's many features. "Much as amoebas link up into slime molds when threatened, SurvivaBalls also fulfill a community function. After all, people need people," noted Goody as he showed an artist's rendition of numerous SurvivaBalls linking up to form a managerial aggregate with functional differentiation, metaphorically dancing through the streets of Houston, Texas.

The conference attendees peppered the duo with questions. One asked how the device would fare against terrorism, another whether the array of embedded technologies might make the unit too cumbersome; a third brought up the issue of the unit's cost feasibility. Wolf and Goody assured the audience that these problems and others were being addressed.

"The SurvivaBall builds on Halliburton's reputation as a disaster and conflict industry innovator," said Wolf. "Just as the Black Plague led to the Renaissance and the Great Deluge gave Noah a monopoly of the animals, so tomorrow's catastrophes could well lead to good - and industry must be ready to seize that good."

Goody also noted that Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society was set to employ the SurvivaBall as part of its Corporate Sustenance (R) program. Another of Cousteau's CSR programs involves accepting a generous sponsorship from the Dow Chemical Corporation, whose general shareholder meeting is May 11.

Please visit http://www.halliburtoncontracts.com/EPDU/ for photos, video, and text of today's presentation.

May 07, 2006

Planet in Peril: Atlas of Current Threats to People and the Environment

 reBlogged via >> mind the __ GAP* ?

mapping the planet in peril

Posted: Wednesday 12 April 2006

Le Monde Diplomatic just published the introduction for the new atlas Planet in Peril: Atlas of Current Threats to People and the Environment

Written by an international team of specialists, these pages from the Atlas illustrate through text and maps, graphics and diagrams the interplay between population and the world’s ecosystems and natural resources both in the short and long terms. It brings together a wealth of information from the most up-to-date sources on such key issues as climate change, access to water, exploitation of ocean resources, nuclear energy and waste, renewable
energy, weapons of mass destruction, causes of industrial accidents, waste, export, hunger, genetically modified organisms, urban development, access to health care and ecological change in China.

That is a good opportunity to point also to its listing of political maps and for those who have access to the article of P.Rekacewicz Confessions of a map-maker:

Earlier this year, Le Monde diplomatique published the second edition of its atlas, and the United Nations Environmental Programme, in partnership with the paper, published a translation of the part of it that focuses on environmental issues. It’s a difficult business being a mapmaker. Maps, as mere visual representations of the idea of the world, are just as subject to diplomacy, border disputes and international struggles as real geopolitical territory.
… (continue on Le Monde Diplomatic - sorrily a password is needed)

May 02, 2006

Climate Change Casino?

Martucket2

 reBlogged via NEWSgrist:
via The Boston Globe
:
Artist, deadpan, floats a proposal
Cape turbines' critic offers a Vegas spin

By Jenna Russell, Globe Staff  |  May 2, 2006

Senator Edward M. Kennedy has flexed his considerable political muscle to try to block a wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Governor Mitt Romney strongly opposes the project.

But how would they handle this? A floating theme park, described by its designer, Provincetown artist Jay Critchley, as ''a Las Vegas version of the Cape and islands," to be built on an enormous triangular platform in the midst of the wind turbines.

Some dismiss it as an extravagant -- and expensive -- joke. But Critchley isn't laughing, at least not in public. He says that by proposing the theme park he is trying to bring attention to what he believes is the lack of oversight that the proposed wind farm has received and that he is challenging regulators to give his project similar treatment.

Dreamed up by Critchley, the plans for the Martucket Eyeland Resort & Casino read like classic political satire. Attractions would include the Climate Change Casino & Sweat Lodge, the Captain Ahab Fitness Center, and an amusement park ride called Jaws, Jaws, Jaws, which Critchley describes as ''a simulated eating by a shark -- for the kids."

To be taken even remotely seriously, the 59-year-old Cape Cod artist and provocateur has to insist he has every intention of actually building the theme park. And he does insist. He even filed an application in March with the US Army Corps of Engineers, seeking a permit to move forward with construction.

According to the application, the platform would be anchored between three of the 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound that would comprise Cape Wind.

But in this game of showmanship, federal officials, who admit they were initially amused by Critchley's submission, now caution that the artist is risking serious consequences by forging ahead with his permit request. Applicants found to have knowingly made ''false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations" may be fined $10,000 or imprisoned for up to five years, said Tim Dugan, a spokesman for the Corps' New England district.

''We're working at taxpayers' expense, and we don't want to waste their money," Dugan said with all deliberate earnestness.

Critchley said he is not worried about being prosecuted, though some of his friends are concerned. ''I have other things to worry about, like raising a billion and a half dollars to build the park," he said with equal earnestness.

Corps officials have conducted an initial review of Critchley's application and have asked him for more information. If he does not reply, a spokesman said, his file will be closed. If he moves the process forward, the Department of Justice could be called in to decide if he applied in good faith.

The fate of the Cape Wind farm, while farther along in the planning stage, is still uncertain.

Kennedy supported an effort by Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, to block the development by inserting a provision in a sure-to-pass bill funding the Coast Guard that would give the governor of Massachusetts the ability to veto the project. But the provision -- inserted without public debate, after being considered by only the handful of House members and senators negotiating the Coast Guard bill -- has rankled members of both parties.

A group of House members persuaded House leaders to delay a vote on the bill. In the Senate, the chairman and the ranking Democrat on the Energy Committee say they will try to block the Cape Wind provision when the bill comes to the floor.

April 14, 2006

Asking Mutual Funds To Consider Climate Change

ceres-logo-excerpt.jpg

via Eybeam reBlog: 

A group of United States-based NGO's and consumers is petitioning the three largest mutual fund companies in the US to consider the financial impacts of global warming. Fidelity, Vanguard, and American Funds recently received petitions and letters asking them to begin addressing the economic risks of climate change by supporting global warming shareholder resolutions filed with U.S. companies. "In 2005, none of the three mutual fund companies supported such resolutions, which typically request that firms disclose the financial risks and opportunities of global warming and describe their strategies for managing those challenges". The strategy is well conceived, because mutual fund companies themselves have no expertise for directly assessing the potential impact. The best they can do is ask the companies they include in their portfolios to provide some insights into how climate change might shape the long range performance of their stock. Just asking the question is step one. Step two is designing a fund based on the collective strength of its members to mitigate climate change. More about the organizing NGO's after the fold.

(This post continues on the site) Originally from Treehugger, ReBlogged by Yury Gitman on Mar 30, 2006 at 09:38 AM

April 13, 2006

EcoPoetics Exhibition

 

via  The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF)

EcoPoetics Online Exhibition
Curated by Timothy Murray, Tom Shevory, and Patricia Zimmermann Selected artistic interventions from artists throughout the world explore the electronic interfaces between sustainability and environmental thought. Subsequently, they will be maintained in off-line form in the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell University Library.

This international exhibition probes a series of questions about digitalities, visualities, and environments to create new landscapes for contemplation and action.

How might new media environments and technological flows intervene in ecoculture and ecopolitics? What is the relationship between the techne of ecopoetics and the imperative of ecopolitics?

How do Internet paradigms of speed, flow, and traffic impact notions of sustainability? Do mobile technologies and global positioning systems provide platforms for ecological activism? How can we decipher and comprehend the military’s utilization of ludic gaming systems for digital terror and ecological devastation?

How might new media interventions offset media blackouts of the global ecology of war and public health degradation? How can the artistic mixing of ecological and poetic materials—organic, inorganic, technological, aural, and visual—create alternative and fertile environments in new media culture?

The exhibition includes works by Judy Malloy, Diane Ludin, Ryan Griffis, Ian M. Clothier, Andrew Bucksbarg, Thorsten Knaub, Sam Smiley, Olga Kisselva, Ollivier Dyens, Joseph Rabie, Lillian Ball, Katerie Gladys, Annette Weintraub, Tiffany Holmes, Maria Damon and mIEKAL aND, Agricola Cologne, and Regina Célia Pinto.  We plan to archive the exhibit in The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library,
following the Festival.

Digital Artists Selected for EcoPoetics Exhibition

    1. Ryan Griffis, United States
    The Temporary Travel Office: Parking Public (2005)
    www.temporarytraveloffice.net/hollywood/parking.html
    2. Ian M. Clothier, New Zealand
    Roll over Oe sun, roll over Oe rain
    www.art-themagazine.com/ian/pages/anim803.htm
    3. Andrew Bucksbarg, United States
    Consumertopia (2001) Duration: Variable-Interactive
    www.adhocsound.org/consumertopia.html
    4. Judy Malloy, United States
    Concerto for Narrative Data
    www.well.com/user/jmalloy/concerto/begin.html
    5. Diane Ludin, United States
    Version 3.0. I BPE, Ecological and Seed-Based Patents
    www.ibiology.net
    6. Thorsten Knaub, United Kingdom
    GPS Diary
    www.gpsdiary.org
    7. Claude Shannon, United States
    AstroDime Transity Authority
    www.virtualberet.net/ata
    8. Olga Kisselva, Russia/France
    My Conquest of Iraq
    www.kisseleva.org/iraq.htm
    9. Ollivier Dyens, Canada
    The Profane Earth
    http://etfran.concordia.ca/~odyens/profane.htm
    10. Joseph Rabie, France
    Landscopes/Ayguesvives /"Here Comes the Sun"
    www.joetopia.org/_swf/e/landscopes/ayguesvives.htm
    Landscopes/ Jerusalem, Old City/"Possession"
    www.joetopia.org/_swf/e/landscopes/jerusalem_aqsa.htm
    11. Lillian Ball, United States
    Gusher
    www.lillianball.com/Gusherstills.html
    12. Katerie Gladdys, United States
    Commuting: Ditch
    www.layoftheland.net/portfolio/start.html
    13. Annette Weintraub USA
    The Mirror That Changes
    http://www.annetteweintraub.com/mirror_content/mirrorpage.html
    14. Tiffany Holmes, United States
    Floating Point
    www.enviroart.org/HolmesColab/docs
    15. mIEKAL aND, United States
    Floraspirae
    www.joglars.org/floraspirae/inhale.html
    16. Maria Damon and mIEKAL aND, United States
    Erosion
    www.cla.umn.edu/joglars/erosion
    www.cla.umn.edu/joglars/erosive_media
    17. Agricola de Cologne
    Message from Behind a Wall
    movingpictures.agricola-de-cologne.de/volume11/wall.html
    18. Regina Célia Pinto (Brazil)
    I Want Some Red Roses for a Blue Earth
    arteonline.arq.br/ecologia/

February 08, 2006

Bush Appointee Resigns Post at NASA

 

via NYTimes:
A Young Bush Appointee Resigns His Post at NASA
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: February 8, 2006

George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word "theory" at every mention of the Big Bang, resigned yesterday, agency officials said.

Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his résumé on file at the agency asserted.

Officials at NASA headquarters declined to discuss the reason for the resignation.

"Under NASA policy, it is inappropriate to discuss personnel matters," said Dean Acosta, the deputy assistant administrator for public affairs and Mr. Deutsch's boss.

The resignation came as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was preparing to review its policies for communicating science to the public. The review was ordered Friday by Michael D. Griffin, the NASA administrator, after a week in which many agency scientists and midlevel public affairs officials described to The New York Times instances in which they said political pressure was applied to limit or flavor discussions of topics uncomfortable to the Bush administration, particularly global warming.

"As we have stated in the past, NASA is in the process of revising our public affairs policies across the agency to ensure our commitment to open and full communications," the statement from Mr. Acosta said.

The statement said the resignation of Mr. Deutsch was "a separate matter."

Mr. Deutsch, 24, was offered a job as a writer and editor in NASA's public affairs office in Washington last year after working on President Bush's re-election campaign and inaugural committee, according to his résumé. No one has disputed those parts of the document.

According to his résumé, Mr. Deutsch received a "Bachelor of Arts in journalism, Class of 2003."

Yesterday, officials at Texas A&M said that was not the case.

"George Carlton Deutsch III did attend Texas A&M University but has not completed the requirements for a degree," said an e-mail message from Rita Presley, assistant to the registrar at the university, responding to a query from The Times.

Repeated calls and e-mail messages to Mr. Deutsch on Tuesday were not answered.

Mr. Deutsch's educational record was first challenged on Monday by Nick Anthis, who graduated from Texas A&M last year with a biochemistry degree and has been writing a Web log on science policy, scientificactivist.blogspot.com.

After Mr. Anthis read about the problems at NASA, he said in an interview: "It seemed like political figures had really overstepped the line. I was just going to write some commentary on this when somebody tipped me off that George Deutsch might not have graduated."

He posted a blog entry asserting this after he checked with the university's association of former students. He reported that the association said Mr. Deutsch received no degree.

A copy of Mr. Deutsch's résumé was provided to The Times by someone working in NASA headquarters who, along with many other NASA employees, said Mr. Deutsch played a small but significant role in an intensifying effort at the agency to exert political control over the flow of information to the public.

Such complaints came to the fore starting in late January, when James E. Hansen, the climate scientist, and several midlevel public affairs officers told The Times that political appointees, including Mr. Deutsch, were pressing to limit Dr. Hansen's speaking and interviews on the threats posed by global warming.

Yesterday, Dr. Hansen said that the questions about Mr. Deutsch's credentials were important, but were a distraction from the broader issue of political control of scientific information.

"He's only a bit player," Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Deutsch. " The problem is much broader and much deeper and it goes across agencies. That's what I'm really concerned about."

"On climate, the public has been misinformed and not informed," he said. "The foundation of a democracy is an informed public, which obviously means an honestly informed public. That's the big issue here."

 

 

January 29, 2006

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him

 

via NYTimes: 

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: January 29, 2006

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.

Dean Acosta, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs at the space agency, said there was no effort to silence Dr. Hansen. "That's not the way we operate here at NASA," Mr. Acosta said. "We promote openness and we speak with the facts."

He said the restrictions on Dr. Hansen applied to all National Aeronautics and Space Administration personnel. He added that government scientists were free to discuss scientific findings, but that policy statements should be left to policy makers and appointed spokesmen.

Mr. Acosta said other reasons for requiring press officers to review interview requests were to have an orderly flow of information out of a sprawling agency and to avoid surprises. "This is not about any individual or any issue like global warming," he said. "It's about coordination."

Dr. Hansen strongly disagreed with this characterization, saying such procedures had already prevented the public from fully grasping recent findings about climate change that point to risks ahead.

"Communicating with the public seems to be essential," he said, "because public concern is probably the only thing capable of overcoming the special interests that have obfuscated the topic."

Dr. Hansen, 63, a physicist who joined the space agency in 1967, directs efforts to simulate the global climate on computers at the Goddard Institute in Morningside Heights in Manhattan.

Since 1988, he has been issuing public warnings about the long-term threat from heat-trapping emissions, dominated by carbon dioxide, that are an unavoidable byproduct of burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels. He has had run-ins with politicians or their appointees in various administrations, including budget watchers in the first Bush administration and Vice President Al Gore.

In 2001, Dr. Hansen was invited twice to brief Vice President Dick Cheney and other cabinet members on climate change. White House officials were interested in his findings showing that cleaning up soot, which also warms the atmosphere, was an effective and far easier first step than curbing carbon dioxide.

He fell out of favor with the White House in 2004 after giving a speech at the University of Iowa before the presidential election, in which he complained that government climate scientists were being muzzled and said he planned to vote for Senator John Kerry.

But Dr. Hansen said that nothing in 30 years equaled the push made since early December to keep him from publicly discussing what he says are clear-cut dangers from further delay in curbing carbon dioxide.

In several interviews with The New York Times in recent days, Dr. Hansen said it would be irresponsible not to speak out, particularly because NASA's mission statement includes the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet."

He said he was particularly incensed that the directives had come through telephone conversations and not through formal channels, leaving no significant trails of documents.

Dr. Hansen's supervisor, Franco Einaudi, said there had been no official "order or pressure to say shut Jim up." But Dr. Einaudi added, "That doesn't mean I like this kind of pressure being applied."

The fresh efforts to quiet him, Dr. Hansen said, began in a series of calls after a lecture he gave on Dec. 6 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. In the talk, he said that significant emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, particularly in the case of motor vehicles, and that without leadership by the United States, climate change would eventually leave the earth "a different planet."

The administration's policy is to use voluntary measures to slow, but not reverse, the growth of emissions.

After that speech and the release of data by Dr. Hansen on Dec. 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century, officials at the headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr. Hansen that there would be "dire consequences" if such statements continued, those officers and Dr. Hansen said in interviews.

Among the restrictions, according to Dr. Hansen and an internal draft memorandum he provided to The Times, was that his supervisors could stand in for him in any news media interviews. [read on...]