18 agosto 2007

From 0.0

Disorganization. Focus.

(Entropy? Order?)

Hiding behind 'anonymous'
let's add a bit to the
'why' column at right.
No blogs, please, but
here we are.

We explored a bit of the
Alps' beginnings from Turin,
by bicycle, during the August
holidays. Up the Ala di Stura.

There we saw a strange thing
that wanted photographing.

Day up, again by bicycle,
dragging 8x10 view camera
in the 'B.O.B.' trailer.
Up and up.
Sprawling the bike, trailer,
shopping bags of film holders,
camera, and stuff, quick to
get to making the photograph.

What's the difference between
making a photograph
and a train wreck?

Quick-witted answer:

'In the one, more people get off track.'

Let us off track get.

Starting from oh-ZERO.
Zero. Point. Zero.


Received truth: Global Warming, Speculation

Awakened at three in the morning to heavy, steady rain that continues into the day. Yesterday saw noisy thunderstorms, true summer drama of lights and darks, winds and sound. Today is long-sleeve-shirt brisk and damp. Not August, but November.

What if, the geoscientist in this writer wonders, the warming of the Earth were not smooth, but lumpy? More obvious: that some places get much warmer and others not so much or even get cooler. Less obvious? That, through time, some places or moments get, not warmer, but cooler, both as to inversions of seasonal norms, and in annual, longer-term changes. Let one accept that this past winter-spring were abnormally mild and dry over Europe and the northeastern US and that this summer has been unseasonably cool. 'Global warming' does seem consistent with the warmer winter, but what about the cooler summer?

And: what can we take from this, to our advantage? In spite of the obvious threats in this global predicament, let us consider how the warming might present opportunities of not modest proportion.
(Note D)

1. Develop and expand urban settings inland from low-lying coasts, favoring places that are or are becoming warm-temperate.
(Note A)

2. Apply smart urban design to make liveable towns with infrastructure people will care about maintaining.

3. Let go of flooding regions coastwise, with few exceptions.
(Note B)

4. Resettle those displaced into expanding regions. Favor areas of moderate climate, do not penalize those that are colder.

5. Accept that for most places the prevailing climate will become warmer on average. In selecting where to extend new development, favor those predicted to have warm 'mediterranean-temperate' climates.

6. Ride the warming trends to economize on fuel use and to take advantage of indoor-outdoor living, the 'balcony culture' of Mediterranean societies.

7. Multiply efficiencies in every activity. In urban design, 'efficiency' equates to 'irresistable temptation' to enter, traverse, linger in, be part of, and to own, the urban space. Unless we build new places people want to inhabit, no technological uptick in mpg or cubic meters of heated space per btu will be enough. People who stay in town because they have to won't care and will go down complaining and not stay up by voting. When Job 1 has become the saving of one's own skin and 401(k) and tax deduction, instead of enjoying and promoting one's own house as it stands in the whole community, the enterprise is in danger. When everyone dreads with gritted teeth and angry expletives the commute, the search for parking, the wait for the bus, and the prospect of enduring what it is simply to be in such a place, the urban fabric is rent.
(Note C)

8. Make 'free' bicycles available within 200 meters of any urban origin point for journeys of 10 kilometers or less. The bicycle is the single most efficient and rapid means of personal transportation that has ever existed.

Note A: Human value underpins this project, in the notion that it will be kinder to disrupt and uproot in anticipation of losses to come than to recover and relocate, in chaos, after such loss is suffered. No formulation of this motive can avoid the inference of potential mischief in motive and manipulation, nor of the advantaging of the few at the expense of the many. Is doing nothing the greater virtue?

Note B: Some already-flooding zones will claim resources for their protection and preservation, but at some point the cut will be made. Venice, quite possibly, perhaps Holland. Bangladesh, doubtful, and not solely on the basis of geographic extent. Let this be however the gauntlet thrown, a challenge to bigger thinkers and do-ers — to prove this thesis wrong.

Note C: Rent: to remove, split, or tear apart by violence; hire out, lease, have the use of that owned by others by payment of a fee; monies paid for such use.

Note D: This writer, geoscience head firmly attached, sees great danger in the element of human-assisted cause for the up-trends in planetary temperatures now confirmed. This present argument rests on two prongs: that reversing human-triggered change is essential and that treating these shifts as 'natural' will be helpful. Both are required.

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