Thursday, June 23, 2011

Aqueductista News

--Eleanor Arnason's novella "The Mammoths of the Great Plains" is a finalist for both the Sturgeon and the Sidewise awards.

--Temporary Culture has announced the forthcoming publication of Wendy Walker's My Man & Other Critical Fictions, in October 2011.

--The Irish Times has an article by Danny O'Brien on Liz Henry's internet detective work, which revealed that two supposed lesbian bloggers (one of them, as everyone by now already knows, posing as a Syrian named Amina) as sock-puppets. According to O'Brien, neither of the hoaxsters knew the other was also a fraud, and actually flirted with each other online. O'Brien notes that Liz's knack for detecting internet frauds is, rather than being cynical, "to pay more attention to what these fictional constructs were saying, not less." In short, "If “Amina” had been listened to more carefully, as a human rather than just an exciting story; if her readers were listening to others in the region, and able to compare those experiences, the gaps in her story would have become more readily apparent far more quickly." (Link thanks to Josh Lukin)

--The Blue and White has published a speech Chan Davis made at Kansas State University on 28 April 2011. (This link is also thanks to Josh Lukin.) His speech discusses Malthusian issues:

I am not conceding that the authorities are sometimes wrong, I am insisting and reemphasizing that the authorities are sometimes wrong. This is not a reservation to my message; it is a part of my message. Where you think a specific detail in a forecast is doubtful, pick away at it and see what you can learn. The forecast consists of the details.

But please, please, do not use the uncertainties as an excuse for looking away from the future. This is the world we’re talking about, the real world. The denialists would have you pretend we can not wrestle with the world’s dilemma, but they do not have any other world than this. Do not kid yourselves.

The forecast is that the world will not produce enough food for seven billion people, and that the world population will be nine billion by 2050. So billions of people will live without food? I do not believe it. Or everyone will go on a very local diet? That will not work so well either. Seems the predictions do not jibe!

We hear these incompatible predictions every day, from the wise heads and politicians. How come most of them do not point out the incompatibility? Why are they shy about drawing conclusions from the contradiction? I sympathize with them. If politicians were frank about it, it would sound as if they thought that people need to be got rid of, and that is not going to be welcome to their constituents.

Some prophets of doom like Garrett Hardin do indeed say that shortages are inevitable. Garrett Hardin calls on the haves to harden their hearts (a pun on his name, maybe?) and refuse to share with the have-nots. He would let those who are without food go ever hungrier until they are no longer able to disturb us with their wails. I am asking you to face reality, but not to harden your hearts. I am more on the side of the Passover invocation, “Let all those who are hungry come and eat.” Maybe the doom-criers will class me with the soft-hearted. All right, let them. Soft-hearted? I can live with that.

But I refuse to close my eyes to our plight. You remember forty years ago a study of the world economy by Dennis Meadows and his team argued that the limits to growth would be reached in about forty years. The standard joke is that if you tell a politician to act because the end is coming in forty years, he will put you off and tell you to come back in thirty-nine years. I’m saying that in 2011– the time is up. We can not survive without food, and there is not enough food, there is not going to be enough food.

The population will decrease.

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