Paxus's blog

Hard Wind Going to Blow

It is deeply satisfying to wake up and read articles like this one from Bloomberg business press on how wind power is putting nuclear plants out of business.  Last year in the US $25 billion were spent and new wind capacity.  This raised the total grid electricity fraction to 3.4% from wind, with a forecast of it raising to 4.2% in 2013.  In 2013 there will be no new nuclear reactors connected to the grid and at least one and possibly several reactors will close this year forever.

So using a rough extrapolation, if these rates continue, in about 7 or 8 years the amount of wind generated electricity will exceed the amount of nuclear power in the US.  It is important to remember that many nuclear proponents continue to say that the entire class of renewables are not up to the job of powering the country and instead we should be investing in new reactor designs, most of which cant even be in prototype phase until early 2020?s.

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And thus it is worth remembering, that highly paid, well educated, well intentioned, nuclear promoters are stunningly wrong yet again.

Keystone Continued

25 Arrested at Keystone XL Pipeline Protest in Massachusetts

In the latest protest against the Keystone XL oil pipeline, 25 people were arrested after handcuffing themselves together inside a TransCanada office in Westborough, Massachusetts. More than 100 students, mothers and clergy members staged a “funeral for our future,” saying TransCanada’s pipeline would spur devastating climate change, pollution and potential spills.

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Protesters: [singing] “They are digging us a hole. They are digging us a hole, six feet underground, where the pipeline will go.”

The Keystone XL pipeline would carry tar sands crude from Canada to Texas. A decision from President Obama on the project is expected soon, after a State Department review found it does not pose a serious threat to the environment. (this is from democracy now)

Riddle me this? An advanced test on racism and classism

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I repost things i think are clever from Facebook with some regularity, i re-shared the image above.

The response from one friend i got on this post was “fuck this racist, classist paternalism.”

i have some explaination of this now, and i am wondering if it is clear to others.

Steel Building Burns at Acorn

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Firefighters arrived quickly

i was quite pleased with the fire at the Acorn steel building.  Not because no one was hurt, tho this was certainly a relief.  Not because the blaze did not leap to the new seed office, which would have been seriously disheartening for Acorn in general and especially the crew working hard to complete it.  Nor was my joy from the fact that the bad chicks were moved to safety a couple days before the blaze.

What i was pleased about was that within an hour of the fire starting, after power was returned to the Acorn campus after having been out for a couple of days, i got 4 different sets of messages that i was happening.  GPaul texted me first, Mac phoned me an update, Puck gave the most details of the blaze and another person who does not like to be named told me what was happening.

What thrills me about this is that all these people thought in response to this tricky situation they would call me.  Not that i was going to do anything in the immediate sense (except blab about it on social media), but because i was someone who it was going to be important to and now is was in the Acorn family and needed to be told about our shared loss.

Steel building post fire interior - weight machine and drying racks - all photos by Mac

Steel building post fire interior – weight machine and drying racks – all photos by Mac

Conservative Wrap Around

This is the tale of two brothers, there political disagreements and it’ very contemporary political parallel on the floor of the Senate.

I was in the WISE offices in Am*dam and i got the call.  It was Teddy Goldsmith on the line, the publisher of the radical British magazine the Ecologist.  Teddy was an inspiration to the dark green ecologists who i would ultimately work with in Czechoslovakia. He wrote a compelling ecological book called “The Great U turn. which advocates de-industrialization.  He was calling because his brother, wanted to set up a meeting of the most important anti-nuclear activists in the world.  His brother wanted a private anti-nuclear summit.

Teddy’s brother was the Anglo-French billionaire Sir James Goldsmith.  “Jimmy”wanted to fund the best ideas for stopping nukes.  I learned a lot organizing this event, first off that there was absolutely no agreement on who these people were, we started with a list of about 40 people for an event that was supposed to have only 15.

amazon with clouds

Drone Wars

i hang with some pretty unusual folks and i hear a fair few conspiracy theories.  So the other day before the code pink drone protest that i attended in San Francisco, i was listening carefully to my dear friend Modok who was telling me about the dangers of drones.

Turns out not to be a conspiracy

Turns out not to be a conspiracy

Modok and Dianne talked about how the Israeli military was increasingly using drones inside that country often killing civilians, in an effort to prove they are effective for market.    But then Modok said something that caught my ear. He claimed that weaponized drones would be deployed inside the US in the coming time.  i objected.  While i despise the drone program, i was quite confident that while they might well be used for surveillance within the US, there would not be weaponized drones inside this country anytime soon.  It was too politically expensive, i countered.  Obama and company want to be able to use drones for killings overseas ad bringing them into domestic use might well endanger that tactical advantage.

This is what technophilia looks like

i watch the nuclear news.  Especially, i watch the nuclear reactor stores which the mainstream media promotes.  This week there is a lot of excitement about the young man in this picture.

Taylor Wilson designs small reactors circa 2013

Taylor Wilson designs small reactors circa 2013

Taylor Wilson according to the TED talk article built a fusion reactor in his parents garage when he was 14.  Only he did not. Here is what the OED sez bout reactors:

an apparatus or structure in which fissile material can be made to undergo a controlled, self-sustaining nuclear reaction with the consequent release of energy.

What young Mr. Wilson did is at best a fusion experiment.  There is no self sustaining aspect to this reaction, and what ever power was released was dwarfed by the energy that went into making his experiment.  In fact this is a classic nuclear power deception, claiming that you are solving problems when you are at best doing nothing and at worst creating other problems.

As for fusion power as a solution to the worlds energy problems, this remains another illusive myth.  In 2006, New Scientist said “If commercial fusion is viable, it may well be a century away.”

Code Pink Action San Francisco – Pictures Only

Action set up

Action set up

Modok's sign which requires a graduate degree in poly sci

Modok’s sign which requires a graduate degree in poly sci

A more accessible sign

A more accessible sign

 

More powerful than Guy Fawkes masks?

More powerful than Guy Fawkes masks?

 

Giving Feiinstein a pink slip over drones

Giving Feiinstein a pink slip over drones

 

Sociopaths and Mary Poppins

San Francisco is my favorite US City, in part because it asks the right question.  I have to confess that one of my favorite things is going to an action where i really believe in the message or demand, but  am not involved in organizing the action.  It is the perfect working holiday for me.  Tomorrow i will get this with the Code Pink crowd at Sen Dianne Feinstein house tomorrow at 10 AM.

“Who do you want as the director of the CIA, Mary Poppins?” i replied to Modok, who had just commented that Brennan was a psychopath.

Code Pink Fights Drones

Code Pink Fights Drones

And Brennan is terrible.  He endorsed torture and rendition.  He lied about the drone program having no civilian casualties.  And he is the author of the current drone policy which is the center of the controversy around his confirmation, in the eyes of code pink and others who watch this stuff carefully.

The Obama administration, which ran on a transparency campaign, is hiding the drone policy information which Brennan wrote.    So Feinstein, who runs the Senate Intelligence sub-committee and who has the highest security clearance, is unable to see why we kill Americans and Pakistani children with flying robots.  So we are going to go to her house and demand she grow some ovaries and demand these documents.

Here is the Action alert, swing by if you are in the city and say hi.

Friends,

Story Telling with Craig

Craig and i lived together at Paradox in the late 1980s. This sprawling group house was in the Castro district of San Francisco.  While we were not close, we were certainly friendly.  We shared a razor, which would not be a big deal, except that Craig is HIV positive.

Before you start ranting about how crazy this behavior is, remember what San Francisco was like at this time.  HIV was a death sentence then and the Castro was the center of the epidemic.  Which means we knew more about AIDS then than most people do even today.  We knew the virus died in 90 seconds at room temperature.

Was the time when we understood the myths and risks better

Was the time when we understood the myths and risks better

Craig’s first story tonight was in part about passing trucks on the curve.  It is not so much about a reckless style of living as it is embracing the idea that if the odds are against you then you make sure there is a lot of life during your days.  Long before he got HIV from a blood transfusion, Craig was supposed to die of hemophilia.  Turns out he is good at not dying on schedule.  His first story got me chocked up.  Craig is a far more personally daring as a story teller than i am.

Willowisms

I’ve been telling stories about Willow the last couple of days.

At age 2 Willow said in response to me asking where some toys were “i assume they are under the tower”

At age 4 when asked what he thought about having two dads he replied “i guess i lucked out”

Happy CoDads - 2012

Happy CoDads – 2012

At age 6 when asked what he would say to the police if his car was stopped and he was not in the required car seat “i dont have ID, i will just lie.”

At age 8 after i told him he needed to clean his room her replied “With what authority do you tell me this?”

At age 10 on Dec 21, 2012 at the mythical end of the Mayan calendar when was asked his thoughts on the pending end of the world, he responded “I am disinclined to believe any religious text that is found written on a wall”

Minority Relationship Model

Crystal asked me to shock his Social Movement students at Cal State Monterey Bay.  This felt like a high bar, so i offered to entertain them and provoke their thinking.

Crystal and fellow philosopher

Crystal and fellow philosopher

i presented about all the folks who had said the world was going to end if we dont dramatically change our behavior (Club or Rome, Carl Sagen and nuclear winter, Rio 1992 and sustainability, the Peak Oil kids and now climate change).  i put them in small groups and asked them to discuss what they could share better.

But it was (predictably) the second part of the class which got the most eyebrows raised.  I talked about polyamory and the astronomy of the Star family (and bragged about various Willowisms).  The group exercise was to talk about their relationship with jealousy and report back on if they liked it and how they might change it.

But the thing that Crystal was most excited about was the idea that polyamory was a minority relationships model and as such was discriminated against in most peoples thinking.  i pointed out that if you get involved in a poly relationship and it does not work out, you are quite likely to say “Polyamory does not work” or perhaps “Poly does not work for me”.

How to see Sexism at Festivals

This post is part of an on-going dialog between myself and Rosie Lila who is the Special Events Maven at Burning Man / Burning Man Project  (which manifests the ten principals more widely than just the BM event itself).  It started with her response to my “Can Festivals Save the World?” post.  And then she followed up on my grousing about sexism at Burning Man with a new post called Sexism & Festivals, which includes the following helpful challenge.

I’d like to know more about what sexism at festivals looks like to the people who think that it happens as a majority occurrence.  Paxus’ mention of it is vague, and points to no evidence. So I am curious about this: What does sexism at festivals look like to you? And are your opinions based on your own direct experience?

Does this look funny?

Does this look funny?

i am a boy.  i dont see and experience sexism in the same way at these festivals as my women allies.  And i know from many conversations this is  big issue for a number of people, so i asked for help crafting a worthy reply to Rosie’s request.  And i got lucky, this is challenging response from BM particiant and i am happy to offer it up to this conversation, recognizing it is a controversial take.

a Polite Funological debate – can festivals save the world?

At the current rate of traffic to this site, it will break the 1/4 million hits threshold by April fools.  But as satisfying as this is, it is less important to me than what happened the day before yesterday.  Which was being politely, but formally debated on another blog about whether festivals can change the world.  I am excited about this debate because Rosie is actually part of the Burning Man organization and while she is not speaking for BM inc in her post, she is certainly an insider, with perspective and experience which many participants cant have.  And i am thrilled about the debate, because i want her to be right and this exchange of perspectives will hopefully help our shared wish for these events to be high positive impact and world transforming.  And of course controversy spikes web traffic, and i love traffic.

Let me try to summarize her points here (but please read her article linked above):

The Tattoo Conspiracy

Reblogged from Dispatches from Intentional Community:

It took less than an hour to permanently transform the skin on my inner wrist into a work of art, but when I reappeared in the kitchen, you’d have thought I’d been gone a week and been re-made by the Witness Protection Program. Edgar, who is 4, was livid, as I knew he would be, that I’d done something new. He freaks out if I wear a shirt he hasn’t seen before.

Read more… 385 more words

We need to create a culture in which we are co-conspiring for something greater, something worthy of our potential. This is a reblog from one of my heroes.

Transcending Jealousy and The Shakespeare Challenge

The coining of the word “kiss” is oft credited to Shakespeare and i think it is an especially brilliant name, further solidifying his genius status in my mind.  Perhaps it was called just “snogging” before old Bill came along and saved the day.  In this spirit, i have asked Rabbit to come up with a better term for compersion, which is slightly poorly defined as the opposite of jealousy.  What compersion really is, is when you feel good or great about your romantic intimate having other romantic intimates.  Great idea, terrible name.  Oh, and it turns out Shakespeare did not coin “kiss”, but has the first attestationof it (first recorded printing).

you can take anything i have, forever, without asking

Rabbit makes me rant.  This is a good thing actually.  Crystal has invited me to talk at his social movements class and when i pressed him for details about what he was interested on me presenting about, he simply replied “i want you to shock them.”

Prof Rabbi and friend

Prof Rabbi and friend

This got me thinking while Rabbit and i were out walking the dog along he scenic Western Drive of Santa Cruz California.  I thought back to the message that i want to push, which was first framed by the McDonogh presentation a year ago, that recycling is very nice, but you should be spending at least that much time figuring out how to better share things.

And more powerfully, that the problem with the vast majority of environmental action is that it requires real sacrifice.  Recycling takes some time, biking instead of driving is generally slower and less convient than drive a car, growing your food w/o pesticides is far slower than simply buying commercial produce at the local supermarket.  But the place where the biggest payoff is, is in figuring out how to share things.  We have 17 cars at Twin Oaks our default world counterparts have 77 cars.  This is a huge savings, so you can work much less, but more importantly if we cut global manufacturing by 4/5ths, we could dodge climate change and not hit the wall with peak oil so hard and so soon.

Blur

It is a bit before 5 AM.  i leave in a few minutes for San Francisco, the last vacation part of my leave from community.  And as is true before almost every trip of more than a couple of days that i take, i am trying to get a bunch of stuff completed before of go.  i start moving faster, becoming more manic, more likely to make mistakes.  It is a state which others and i have come to call blur.

This is part because i stay in places even shorter than normal, and i am oft seen bolting from any given room and thus i appear as something of a blur.  But also after 22 hours up my brain stops functioning normally, and i start making more mistakes, so in this sense it is a reality blur.

are your edges melting?

are your edges melting?

And what is also true is that these days are some of the most productive for me, tying up loose ends, ditching things which i am failing to get along with, scratching things off various “to do” lists.  Despite the general exhaustion it entails, i like the blur feeling.

i can sleep on the plane.

 

Spaceships trump Lifeboats

There is a conversation which Acorn has about membership that Oakers basically dont ever have.  It is the spaceship versus lifeboat conversation.

lifeboat versus spaceships

Lifeboat proponents say that industrial capitalism is destroying the planet and chances for survival as slim.  And that Acorn represents a lifeboat for people who are trying to escape this disaster.  Correspondingly, your humanitarian nature drives you to try to get as many people into the lifeboat as possible and you dont judge your fellow survivor based on their abilities or merits, instead you welcome them and try to integrate them best you can.

The spaceship crowd (which i am a long believer of) says we are looking for the best people to take on this mission we are going on.  In fact the success of the mission is dependent in large part on us selecting people who have the complex mix of skills and gifts we need to make this journey work well.    Some of them are organizers, some of them are inspiring artists and performers, some of them garden and fix things, still other manage computers, cook and take care of and teach kids.

When i was going thru my Acorn clearnesses, on member said to me “i like you okay, but i think anyone who wants to should be able to live here, regardless of my opinion of them.”  This is a classic lifeboat position.  At Twin Oaks, we are not having this discussion, we are spaceship believers and we are selection people based on largely on their sociability and their work ethic and skills.

Can Festivals Save the World?

Abigail forwarded me this trailer for a web series on transformational festivals called Bloom.

It left her feeling uneasy and self critical.  She wants to support festival culture, but is concerned by what she perceives as self congratulatory and over hyped claims of saving the world.  And she is right.

I think festivals are hugely important, I have seen them change lots of peoples lives mostly in positive ways.  They can be significant models for all manner of new societies we want to create.  And you can’t just dance oppression away, you can’t party away economic injustice and you can’t vacation your way to sustainability, especially in the middle of the desert.

The Bloom Film team

 

Don’t get me wrong.  I am excited about Bloom.  If the trailer is any indication, these are very thoughtful funologists.  They are looking at the need for rituals in current culture, they are challenging the commercialization of daily life, they get that festivals can heal participants and catalyze personal transformations.  They understand that these festivals are a chance to model new behaviors and cultural norms.  I applaud this approach and their investigation into the power of these events, especially festivals that are cash free internally.

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