Sunday, November 06, 2016

In which the pond offers some actual interesting writing before heading off to read the Devine ...


The pond thought this a compelling quote with which to start off a Sunday meditation ...

Nuuk sits on the southwest coast. It was founded in the early eighteenth century by a Danish-Norwegian missionary named Hans Egede, and for most of its existence was known as Godth√•b. When Egede arrived, he discovered that the native people had neither bread nor a word for it, so he translated the line from the Lord’s Prayer as “Give us this day our daily seal.” Today, a giant statue of Egede presides over Nuuk much the way Christ the Redeemer presides over Rio.

Give us this day our daily seal!

That story's been around, but it came to the pond via Elizabeth Kolbert's compelling Greenland is Melting, which is outside The New Yorker paywall for the moment, handy for those who refuse to join the pond in supporting the magazine. Well we'll pay for useful information, not so much for Murdochian tripe.

Now Kolbert has the audacity to go to Greenland and talk with experts who are intimately observing what's happening, which of course means she's completely outclassed by such climate experts as the Bolter and Moorice, nestling in their bunkers ...

Inter alia - there's a nice detailing of Greenland exotica and history - Kolbert makes a few compelling remarks:

...The loss of ice cover from Disko Bay is part of the general decline in Arctic sea ice—a decline that’s been so precipitous it now seems likely there will be open water at the North Pole in summer within the next few decades. Since sea ice reflects the sun’s radiation and open water absorbs it, the loss has enormous implications for the planet as a whole. (Sea ice doesn’t contribute to sea-level rise, because it floats, displacing an equivalent amount of water.) Locally, in Ilulissat, the most obvious impact has been on transportation. Once the bay stopped freezing, supply ships could arrive in January, and sleds became obsolete. Dogs no longer seemed worth the seal meat it took to feed them. Many were euthanized. Those which remain are used mostly for sport.

The poor dead doggies, and soon enough:

...the problem with global warming—and the reason it continues to resist illustration, even as the streets flood and the forests die and the mussels rot on the shores—is that experience is an inadequate guide to what’s going on. The climate operates on a time delay. When carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere, it takes decades—in a technical sense, millennia—for the earth to equilibrate. This summer’s fish kill was a product of warming that had become inevitable twenty or thirty years ago, and the warming that’s being locked in today won’t be fully felt until today’s toddlers reach middle age. In effect, we are living in the climate of the past, but already we’ve determined the climate’s future. 
Global warming’s back-loaded temporality makes all the warnings—from scientists, government agencies, and, especially, journalists—seem hysterical, Cassandra-like—Ototototoi!—even when they are understated. Once feedbacks take over, the climate can change quickly, and it can change radically. At the end of the last ice age, during an event known as meltwater pulse 1A, sea levels rose at the rate of more than a foot a decade. It’s likely that the “floodgates” are already open, and that large sections of Greenland and Antarctica are fated to melt. It’s just the ice in front of us that’s still frozen. In recent years, as global temperatures have risen, the ice sheet has awoken from its postglacial slumber. Melt streams like the Rio Behar have always formed on the ice; they now appear at higher and higher elevations, earlier and earlier in the spring. This year’s melt season began so freakishly early, in April, that when the data started to come in, many scientists couldn’t believe it. “I had to go check my instruments,” one told me. In 2012, melt was recorded at the very top of the ice sheet. The pace of change has surprised even the modellers. Just in the past four years, more than a trillion tons of ice have been lost. This is four hundred million Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water, or enough to fill a single pool the size of New York State to a depth of twenty-three feet.

Okay, that takes care of a very big swimming pool, but what about the world?

 ...as the calving front has receded, the ice stream has sped up. This appears to be the result of yet another feedback loop. Since the nineties, the Jakobshavn has nearly tripled its pace. In the summer of 2012, it set what’s believed to be an ice-stream record, by flowing at the distinctly unglacial rate of a hundred and fifty feet per day, or more than six feet an hour. The Jakobshavn’s catchment area is smaller than the negis’s; still, there’s enough ice in it to raise global sea levels by two feet.

And to do a massive pivot, how about Geoffrey Wheatcroft's Tony Blair's Eternal Shame: The Report, also luckily (for those unlike the pond who don't stump up) outside the NYRB paywall at the moment ...

Wheatcroft savages the shameless one, building up to this last summation:

That leaves Blair. His public attempt to answer Chilcot on the day the report appeared was excruciating, haggard, and incoherent; he seems dimly aware that his repute has collapsed and that he is more despised and ill-regarded than any other modern prime minister. Any public intervention by him now can only have the opposite effect, as in the summer of last year when, every time he begged Labour members not to vote for the aging leftist Jeremy Corbyn as party leader, he further ensured Corbyn’s triumph. 
Not that there is any need to feel pity for him: he feels quite enough himself, bemoaning “the demonic rabble tearing at my limbs,” which words may make others think of those Iraqi men, women, and children who suffered because of him. 
His life now is hugely lucrative but hideous to behold, as he roams the world like the Flying Dutchman, with an estimated £25 million’s worth of properties, with a large fortune, including benefits from a Wall Street bank and a Swiss finance company, sundry Gulf sheiks and the president-for-life of Kazakhstan. He doubtless justifies to himself his work for Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev, whose regime has been strongly condemned by human rights organizations, in the same strange antinomian way he justified the manner in which he took us into the Iraq war: whatever he does must be virtuous because he does it. 
Long after those distant years of triumph, the truth about Blair finally becomes clear. He believed himself to be a great leader and redeemer; some of the weirder passages in his memoir—“I felt a growing inner sense of belief, almost of destiny…I was alone”—suggest an almost clinically delusional personality; and of course he did something shameful or even wicked in Iraq. And yet in the end Tony Blair isn’t a messiah or a madman or a monster. He’s a complete and utter mediocrity. He might have made an adequate prime minister in ordinary days, but in our strange and testing times he was hopelessly out of his depth. Now we are left with the consequences. 

If only the pond could summon up that depth of richly deserved withering contempt, and lard it all over the reptiles and their climate denialism and their war mongering in times past (from war criminals John Howard and  high heels Downer to the dog botherer is a one degree of separation classic case) ...

But sadly, the pond's remit isn't on the ground reporting, or hacking at feet of clay, it's the minnow reptiles down under, and so we must turn to Sunday reading, though sometimes it's simply best got out of the way, quickly buried before the pungent smell of stupidity leaves a stench in the nostrils that lasts for days ...

It just so happens by luck or by coincidence that today is always Devine day, give us our daily Devine, and as everybody knows she was an Iraq war enthusiast and a dab hand at climate science ...




Anyone who likes can google that nonsense from the days the Devine soiled Fairfax with her musings, but let’s face it, that's what she does. The Devine is a bit of a slob, a pig, a dog, a disgusting animal. She could never be a 10. She’s possibly a gold digger. Whenever she writes, you can see blood coming out of her eyes. Bloody coming out of her wherever. Sadly, she’s running to fat. Look at that face the Terror routinely runs. Would anyone vote for or read someone who looks like that?Could you imagine her as a featured journalist? I mean, she’s a woman and we’re not supposed to say bad things, but really folks, come on, are we serious?

Why does she keep interrupting everybody? She’s as ugly as Angelina Jolie and Rosie O’Donnell, as extremely unattractive as Bette Midler. Let’s face it, if she can’t satisfy her husband, how could she possibly be expected to satisfy Terror readers?

 Okay, enough channelling of the Donald.

Thanks to the intertubes, there’s a UK sexism tracker of the Donald at the UK Terror here outside the paywall and 18 things the Donald said at Huff here. And plenty, plenty more on the full to overflowing intertubes.

Channelling the Donald, it seems, is a good warm-up for reading the Devine ...


Sir, a woman writing is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all.

Thanks Dr Johnson, and it's on with the read ...


Actually the pond regrets mocking the Donald.

Anyone who can scribble that a multiple bankrupt, who has rigorously avoided paying taxes, sometimes in the most devious and reprehensible ways possible, owes nothing to anyone, must indeed be immensely stupid ...

Be cool bitch. Bitch be cool ...


Of course, being the Devine, it's double down time all the time ...


Indeed, indeed, it was the Donald himself who made the obvious point:



Meanwhile, the Devine goes on attempting to satisfy the Terror readership ...


Yes, judgement is the ultimate manifestation of character, and in her many scribbles, from climate science and Lord Monckton to the Iraq war to the hanging of greenies from the nearest lamp post, the Devine has manifested her character ...

And worse, she never shuts up. Is there an explanation, Donald?



Never mind, there are millions of reasons to fear the Devine ...


Indeed, indeed. Let the fuzzy wuzzies die of AIDS, what have they ever done for Australia? And as for climate science, see Lord Monckton for a debrief ...

What a contrast the excellent Trump Foundation makes ...

Donald Trump’s namesake foundation has done a lot of good for one man: Donald Trump. Missing, it would appear, is a philanthropic mission and evidence of charitable work. (Graudian here).

Never mind, congratulations America, you've been splashed with a little Devine, a woman who feels a deep sorrow for Gaddafi... and possibly cried when she heard the news of Hitler's death too ... (oh okay Godwin's Law swear jar) ...


Here's hoping you do a little better than Iraq or the planet.

And now for a sobering David Rowe chaser, and more Rowe here ...




5 comments:

  1. "The real Clinton email scandal is that a bullshit story has dominated the campaign" - see http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/4/13500018/clinton-email-scandal-bullshit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not only, but also:

      http://money.cnn.com/2016/11/03/media/baseless-fox-news-indictment-report/

      This reminds me of why we used to have media blackout periods for the last couple of days before an election - until the web made that utterly pointless, I guess. But the 'October Surprises' just keep getting invented and lied about, don't they.

      Delete
  2. Her Wikipedia entry says of Miranda that she's an "Australian columnist and writer noted for her conservative stance..."

    She's not within cooee of being "conservative", she's far out rabid right(eous). Frank must be so very proud of her.

    But Wikipedia did stun me just a little when it said that Miranda has a mathematics degree from Macquarie Uni and worked for CSIRO for four years. I wonder what happened in those four years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps she worked in somewhere like Human Resources? She displays all the essential qualities of a modern HR Manager.

      The great thing about reading the rantings of the Not-So-Divine Miss M on the US election is knowing that they're completely useless, meaningless and without influence or importance. They're not going to make the slightest iota of difference to a single American vote, and if a few locals happily accept her cut-and-pastes from various other sources, then - so what?

      Delete
    2. Well Wikipedia says she joined CSIRO's textile physics division, but that mighta been as a HR headcount cutter - at least she'd have been able to add up the savings' to be made.

      Delete

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