Climate change is an emergency, but it’s a slow one. The amount of carbon we’ve released—and continue to release—into the atmosphere is wreaking untold changes on our planet. And yet years of prophesied doom has given the warnings a bit of a boy-who-cried wolf aspect. We’re supposed to be in danger, but things seem pretty normal, right?
And then I saw the unprecedented smog in Beijing, and I felt that the sci-fi dystopias of the distant future had suddenly arrived now.From the BBC:
Schools in Beijing are closed and outdoor construction halted after the Chinese capital was issued with its first ever pollution “red alert”.
At 07:00 local time on Tuesday, the air pollution monitor operated by the US Embassy in Beijing reported that the intensity of the poisonous, tiny particles of PM 2.5 was at 291.
The World Health Organization considers 25 micrograms per cubic metre to be a safe level.
The photos could be in Blade Runner. The wolf isn’t at the door, it’s in the house, and we’re hoping it will go away if we keep our eyes screwed tight.
I’m pretty hesitant to link to anything about ISIS-related, since anything that perpetuates fear plays right into their hands, and into the hands of those who would exploit that fear to get us to agree to all kinds of curtailments of our rights and freedoms in the name of safety.
There’s been a lot of violence in the world lately, but most of it hasn’t been in Paris or Colorado Springs or San Bernadino. No group is better at inflicting violence than militaries, since that’s what they’re there for. The best possible outcome of a standing army is the threat of violence, but what good is that threat without exercising it on occasion?
Of course, war and the large military establishments are the greatest sources of violence in the world. Whether their purpose is defensive or offensive, these vast powerful organizations exist solely to kill human beings. We should think carefully about the reality of war. Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous – an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that war is criminal or that accepting it is criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering.
Strong words that I completely agree with. This bit on the military threat to democracy is also cutting:
There are people with destructive intentions in every society, and the temptation to gain command over an organisation capable of fulfilling their desires can become overwhelming. But no matter how malevolent or evil are the many murderous dictators who can currently oppress their nations and cause international problems, it is obvious that they cannot harm others or destroy countless human lives if they don’t have a military organisation accepted and condoned by society. As long as there are powerful armies there will always be danger of dictatorship. If we really believe dictatorship to be a despicable and destructive form of government, then we must recognize that the existence of a powerful military establishment is one of its main causes.
Researchers at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen (yep, that does exist)… took a group of 1,095 Facebook users and split them into two groups. The first group were allowed to continue using the social network on a daily basis, while the other group were forced to go completely cold turkey, staying off the site for the duration of the experiment.
The results were incredibly revealing – after just 7 days 88% of the group that left Facebook said they felt “happy” as opposed to 81% in the group still using the site. They also felt less angry, less lonely, less depressed, more decisive, more enthusiastic, and enjoyed their lives more. Ditching Facebook also appeared to reduce stress levels by as much as 55%.
When I started writing regularly on my blog, I decided to resurrect my years-dormant Facebook account as a publicizing channel. I promised myself that I would stop doing so if I found myself engaging on Facebook in anything more than a superficial manner. Good call. Via Daring Fireball.
While Thanksgiving is now finished on both sides of the border, the spectre of Christmas dinner is looming on the horizon. What I love about Kristin Iversen’s Fuck Turkey is everything: tone, wit, anger, and relentless usage of everyone’s favourite four-letter word:
Turkey is not a good-tasting bird. Fuck turkey for not even tasting as good as fucking bland-ass chicken, which is a pretty low bar to begin with. Fuck turkey for not tasting anywhere near as good as duck, with its tender as hell breast meat which stays succulent thanks to being able to baste in its own delicious fat. And I’m not even going to talk about how good duck leg confit is because then I’ll just start getting mad at how mediocre the turkey leg confit was that I made one Thanksgiving in a last ditch effort to redeem it by making turkey finally taste ok and then after all that time prepping and cooking, guess what that turkey tasted like: just ok.
As someone who’s tried a few of the experiments below to middling results, I found myself nodding and chortling:
Fuck brining. Fuck a wet brine. Fuck a dry brine. Fuck a brown paper bag. Fuck butter under the skin. Fuck “turketta.” Fuck deep-frying. Fuck sous-vide. Fuck sous-vide before deep-frying, because how much fucking time do you have to spend to make something that doesn’t taste good, taste ok? Too much fucking time, that’s how much.
She forgot spatchcocking, which was fine when we tried it last year.