Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Polar Cities and the Future of Humankind

Question: Mr Bloom, do you think your polar cities work will ever be recognized or validated (in your lifetime, or perhaps sometime later?)

DAN BLOOM, on January 21, 2013 ANSWERS:  Judhing from the way the print and online media have mostly ignored my ideas and illustrations and forecasts about POLAR CITIES for survivors of climate chaos in the DISTANT FUTURE, say 2500 AD, if not sooner, except for one good story in the New York Times in March 31, 2008 and a rather snarky piece in Gizmodo and also in Geekologie, ....I'm pretty sure that my work, both as a blogger and book producer for POLAR CITY RED and POLAR CITY DREAMING, one novel and one nonfiction history, by authors Jim Laughter and Stephan Malone, respectively, will never be recognized in my lifetime (1949 - 2032). And I accept this and I understand this. I am talking about things that people do not want to talk about or even hear about. So recognition and validation of my polar cities work will come later, after I am gone, perhaps 100 or 2oo or 300 years later, and I am okay with this. I never did this for fame or money or career advancement. But I know exactly why I started on this path and I know exactly what I am doing, and time will tell. In fact, I do not want to be right, I do not want to be correct. I want to be wrong about all this. Let me be wrong. But I am at peace with all this, I have done what I set out to do, which was to raise the alarm, and to raise an important issue of adaptation through polar cities, or whatever they are called later on, since they will NOT be cities per se  nor will they be sited at the POLES per se.  A prophet is never recognized in his or her own lifetime. It comes with the territory. That is why one sticks one's neck out. Because you know in your heart and your mind that you are on to something important. So you soldier on, you trek on, without recognition or validation. I got enough validation from a handful of scienetists I have been in contact with since 2006 to know that I was on the right path, for me. This was a team effort. Dr James Lovelock was my teacher here. He said a genereal always know a good retreat  and in this case, the best retreat he said himself is toward the poles. Lovelock said that. I took him up on it and created POLAR CITIES for those who make the trek toward the poles. We shall see what the future holds. Meanwhile, I am not finished with my PR work yet. I have a few more good years left to finish what I started, and of course, we won't need polar citities for another 30 generations, so there is still time. MEANWHILE, the two books that Laughter and Malone wrote will stand in the archives of humankind for a long time to come, too. NOTES: ....a writer at Green Blog comments at NYT named ivermarkt from PASADENA says it well here, re future thinking re polar cities and how we are stuck now in the presdent and are afraid of longterm thinking: "Somehow, I find that studying past climatological patterns and effects on sea level, do more of disservice to lending credibility to the persuasiveness for taking the current global warming threat seriously. Unless scientists can find a record of an historic period that had the equivalent carbon dioxide level rise that exists today, and determine what effects that that had on sea level; what's the point of simply measuring other periods of sea level change? Certainly nothing is static on this planet nor this universe, so certainly variations can be found with almost everything. It seems that, all pointing these out do, is give the naysayers a somewhat valid leg to stand on when they say we should do nothing, because changes have occurred in the past, therefore why do anything today? AND THE KEY QUOTE, Andy, IS HERE: ''The passive sound of phrases such as "in maybe 1000 years" re climate chaos; don't necessarily give much of a sense of urgency. Maybe to the scientific community, it does; but when non-scientific minded politicians see long range sounding talk, like that, they just probably kind of shrug and think: Ain't,my problem, baby; and don't even bother thinking about it. Same with much of the general public. It's like what really gets people thinking about buying fire insurance, isn't until the house next door burns down, or a fire in their own kitchen.''

An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress

Richard Alley mentioned in GILLIS temps rise

article tells me today THIS
From: Richard Alley avail on request to DAN

Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2013 09:43:28 -0500

Subject: Re: Subject: Locating YOU re NYT and temp rise and sea level rise

To: Dan Bloom


Dear Danny,

I presume that you are familiar with this one? Not an assessed result

yet, just one paper



Sincerely,



Richard Alley



http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/04/26/0913352107.abstract


An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress


Steven C. Sherwooda,1 and Matthew Huberb

Author Affiliations



aClimate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia; and bPurdue Climate Change Research Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907

Edited by Kerry A. Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, and approved March 24, 2010 (received for review November 19, 2009)



Abstract

Despite the uncertainty in future climate-change impacts, it is often assumed that humans would be able to adapt to any possible warming. Here we argue that heat stress imposes a robust upper limit to such adaptation. Peak heat stress, quantified by the wet-bulb temperature TW, is surprisingly similar across diverse climates today. TW never exceeds 31 °C. Any exceedence of 35 °C for extended periods should induce hyperthermia in humans and other mammals, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible. While this never happens now, it would begin to occur with global-mean warming of about 7 °C, calling the habitability of some regions into question. With 11–12 °C warming, such regions would spread to encompass the majority of the human population as currently distributed. Eventual warmings of 12 °C are possible from fossil fuel burning. One implication is that recent estimates of the costs of unmitigated climate change are too low unless the range of possible warming can somehow be narrowed. Heat stress also may help explain trends in the mammalian fossil record.



climate impactsglobal warmingmammalian physiologypaleoclimate

Footnotes

1To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: . Author contributions: S.C.S. designed research; S.C.S. and M.H. performed research; S.C.S. analyzed data; M.H. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; and S.C.S. and M.H. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.

This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.0913352107/-/DCSupplemental.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Panic Attack Leads to Hospital

Panic Attack Leads to Hospital on Way to Golfer’s First Victory

By KAREN CROUSE and BILL PENNINGTON


On the practice range Friday, before the second round of Charlie Beljan’s final chance to avoid having to requalify for the PGA Tour, his throat tightened and his heart began hammering.



What happened next was one of the more frightening — and remarkable — rounds of golf ever caught on video. Beljan, 28, endured a five-hour stress test, staggering through 18 holes at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. He sat down in the grass to catch his breath. Medical personnel in his gallery monitored his racing pulse. The fear of a possible heart attack dominated his thoughts.



He carded a 64, the second-lowest score of his rookie season, to take the lead, then left the grounds in an ambulance.



He spent the night in a hospital, with machines hooked up to his limbs and his golf shoes still on his feet. A battery of tests revealed nothing physically wrong with him. It was a panic attack.



And when Beljan was released on Saturday, he decided to put his nerves to the test for the final 36 holes.



When he returned to the course, he said, “I was crying on the range because I was so afraid these feelings would come back.”



For the next two rounds, Beljan fought bone-crushing fatigue and worry about his health to hang on for his first PGA Tour victory, a triumph over the most mental of games.



“I was just thinking about my health, one shot at a time, one hole at a time,” he said Monday in a telephone interview from his home in Mesa, Ariz. “And shoot, it worked out pretty well.”



Beljan’s peers who saw him on the course Friday or watched the drama unfold on the telecast said they had never seen anything like it, which was itself a shock.



“It’s amazing that it doesn’t happen more in sports,” Keegan Bradley, the 2011 P.G.A. Championship winner, said Monday.



There have been instances of players leaving the course in distress. During a competitive round in 2005, David Toms experienced a rapid heart rate that caused him to drop to a knee and clutch his chest. He was hospitalized and found to have supraventricular tachycardia, which he had surgery to correct. Robert Karlsson withdrew abruptly on the eve of this year’s British Open after experiencing the golf equivalent of an actor’s forgetting his lines: every time Karlsson tried to take the club back on his swings during a practice round, he froze.



Beljan came into the PGA Tour season finale ranked 139th on the money list. With only the top 125 players assured of retaining their tour privileges for next year, he needed a top-10 finish to secure his card. In his first 21 events, he had two top-10 showings. After a strong opening round, he felt a high finish was in his reach. He said he felt relaxed.



“I’ve never tried to make golf something more than it is,” he said.



Beljan did not think the high stakes of the moment caused his attack. His first go-round on the PGA Tour was only one of the challenges he had to confront this year. He married in the beginning of 2012, and in September, his wife, Merisa, gave birth to their first child, a boy. Beljan had his first panic attack a month before the birth of his son, passing out on an airplane that needed to make an emergency landing as a result.



He said he believed the stress of dealing with so many life-changing events in so few months caused his panic attack on the course.



“I don’t think it’s been the golf that’s done it at all,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of people try to diagnose me who have told me they’ve had the same problem, but I don’t think it’s the stress of the tour. It’s everything I’ve had going on this year.”



Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, the chief of psychiatry at NewYork Presbyterian/Columbia hospital, said a panic attack was a neurochemical disturbance in parts of the brain and was related to the fight-flight response. There are a number of treatments that are effective, he said, including Valium-type medications, beta blockers and other drugs, some of which are prohibited on the PGA Tour. There are also nonpharmacological treatments like behavior therapy and relaxation techniques.



Speaking in general about Beljan, whom he has not treated, Lieberman said, “It’s impressive that he had the cognitive wherewithal to manage his emotions and play winning golf.”



Especially because golf provides a stage built for anxiety. From sloping greens to foul weather to capricious bounces of the ball, so much is out of the players’ control.



“The average golfer can feel his hands tremble just standing over a 4-foot putt to win a weekend match, and for them, all that’s at stake is their ego,” said Joe Parent, a psychologist and the author of the best-seller “Zen Golf.” “The pros are playing for their careers and their lives. It’s a different category of mental stress — an extreme version of stage fright.”



There is no relief for the struggling golfer on the course. Players cannot be removed from competition in the middle of a bad round or take a timeout to regain their composure. There are no coaches to offer comfort or teammates to help erase their mistakes.



“The only comparable thing might be a heavyweight championship fight,” said Jim McLean, an instructor to various touring pros, including Bradley and the L.P.G.A. star Cristie Kerr. “The personal pressure is enormous.”



McLean, who is ranked among Golf Digest’s top five teachers nationally, said he saw panic attacks on the golf course from pros and recreational golfers alike more often than people would imagine. If it is a rare sight on the PGA Tour, he said, it is because being calm under pressure is part of the Darwinian weeding-out process in professional golf.



“Anxiety under pressure has driven a lot of golfers out of the game,” McLean said. “They’re people you don’t know of and never heard about because they couldn’t handle it. That includes some very talented guys. It’s part of the game that is underestimated and just as important as hitting the ball. It can be pretty scary, and it’s an incredible story that Charlie won.”



Beljan also picked up a paycheck of $846,000. Now 63rd on the money list, with almost $1.4 million in earnings this year, his playing privileges for next season are secure.



Still, Beljan arranged to have a full physical Tuesday at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, near his home. He said he also arranged to meet with a psychologist.



In the 24 hours after his win, Beljan watched replays of his second round and was aghast to see himself between shots struggling to remain upright, stooped over on his knees and slumped on top of his golf bag.



“I can’t believe that was me to be honest with you,” he said.



Sea Level and the Need to Consider POLAR CITIES for future survivors IF ANY of climate chaos in 2500 AD

Just In GILLIS:

Justin, the print article and this blog post are vital. One question


for you and others: if in fact sea levels rise, in future times, might

not we humans, our descendants that is, 30 generations from now, say,

need something like "polar cities" as safe refuges for the millions of

climate refugees from the Lower 48 and Europe and Africa and Central

America who trek north to Alaska and Canada and Russia for refuge? Can

you one day maybe sort of do a post about Danny Bloom's cockamamie

ideas about polar cities, which Dot Earth already profiled in 2008?

Why the silence on this worst case scenario as a wake up call?



danbloom AT gmail DOT com

http://pcillu101.blogspot.tw/2013/01/temperature-rising-and-justin-gillis.html




January 22, 2013,
Sea Level and the Limits of the Bathtub Analogy

By JUSTIN GILLIS



Justin Gillis/The New York Times



Alessio Rovere, a Columbia University researcher, examined an ancient shoreline deposit in Cape Agulhas, South Africa. Dunes moving inland ahead of a rising sea are believed to have buried trees at the site, with the decaying trunks producing the unusual features at center.In my article in Tuesday’s Science Times about the risks of long-term sea level rise, and in an accompanying podcast, I reported on the link between past instances of global warming, caused by natural fluctuations in the climate, and higher shorelines.



Based on a study of these past variations, some scientists believe that even if we stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow, we would be due for a substantial rise in sea levels over the long term as ice sheets slowly respond to the warmer temperatures brought on by the greenhouse gases that humans have already dumped into the atmosphere.



The paleoclimate record, as it is known, suggests that even a slight amount of global warming can produce a rise of 25 or 30 feet. And if scientists are anywhere close to right in their projections, the warming over the coming century due to human activity is going to be more than slight. That means a long-term rise in sea level of as much as 80 feet cannot be ruled out.



As I noted in the article, that would take quite a long time to occur, at least hundreds and more likely, thousands of years. On the time scale that people tend to worry about, the next century, the rise would be much less. A common estimate is three feet, although there are persistent fears that the situation could turn out to be worse than that.



What I did not point out is that, now matter how fast it happens, the increase of sea level will not be an even rise everywhere on the planet. Rising sea level, it turns out, is “lumpy” – the sea goes up more in some places than others.



This may seem strange, since we tend to think of the ocean as a giant bathtub filled with water. If you turn on the faucet and add water to a tub, of course, it rises evenly. Why doesn’t the ocean work that way?



Scientists say sea level rise in a given location is actually influenced by a whole multitude of factors. To take one of the most obvious, land can be sinking even as the ocean is rising. This is happening today across much of the East Coast of the United States, with especially high rates of sinking in the Chesapeake Bay region and in southern Louisiana.



The converse can also be true, of course – land in some places is rising fast enough to outpace the rise of the sea. That is happening today in parts of Alaska and Scandinavia.



If land is sinking, that worsens the local effects of a global increase in sea level. And it turns out that sinking land is going to be one of our biggest problems, worldwide, as climate change proceeds. That is because many of the world’s great cities are, like New Orleans, built on river deltas – which is to say, on mud.



Humans have interrupted the flow of sediment to those deltas in most places, and the land surface is sinking as the older sediment underlying the cities compacts and settles. Withdrawal of groundwater or petroleum can worsen the situation, although water withdrawals have been limited in many places specifically to slow the sinking.



If we get a global increase of sea level of several feet by the end of this century, as many scientists expect, the effects are going to be felt most strongly in the big cities with brisk rates of land subsidence. Aside from New Orleans, examples include Tokyo, Houston, Shanghai, Bangkok and Venice.



The complexities don’t stop there. As water is added to the ocean basins, the basins themselves adjust to the extra weight, behaving less like a bathtub and more like a kid’s pool made of flexible plastic. The ocean floor can actually sink. The deformation is slow, but it changes the distribution of ocean water over time.



Another factor that can alter sea levels is a shift in wind patterns. The prevailing winds can cause water to pile up in some locations, as happens today off the eastern coast of Asia.



All of these factors complicate any forecast about sea level rise, and most or all of them can be important for a given locale. But to me, the strangest and most interesting variable has to do with gravity.



The ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica are immense, and it turns out they exert enough gravitational pull to draw a substantial amount of ocean water toward them. So if you imagine the whole Greenland ice sheet melting, for instance, something quite bizarre will happen nearby: sea level will fall across an area stretching more than a thousand miles from the ice sheet.



“If Greenland should catastrophically melt tomorrow, sea level will fall in Scotland, it will fall in Newfoundland — and it will fall in Greenland, by a lot,” said Jerry X. Mitrovica, a Harvard scientist who helped to pioneer the study of such effects. Something similar would happen in the vicinity of Antarctica if the West Antarctic ice sheet, believed to be highly vulnerable to a modest global warming, were to melt.



Think about the implications of this finding: If sea level is going to fall near the melting ice sheets, that means it has to rise more than the average in other places, right?



And that is bad news for some countries. It means an average global rise in sea level of 30 feet, say, could translate to a 40- or 50-foot rise in some parts of the world.



Scientists think the exact distribution of sea level rise will depend on which of the two ice sheets melts – or, more likely, what proportion of each melts. If you live on the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States, for example, a given amount of melting in far-away Antarctica will produce a substantially larger increase of sea level than the same amount of melting from nearby Greenland. It’s counterintuitive, but true.



On top of all this, as the ice sheets melt, the redistribution of mass around the planet will be large enough, according to Dr. Mitrovica and several of his colleagues, that it will actually alter the rotation of the earth. That, in turn, will cause another modest redistribution of ocean water.



With so many moving arrows, the effort to predict exactly what will happen with sea level rise is a work in progress. But we already know that both Greenland and West Antarctica are starting to melt and dump extra ice into the ocean in response to climate change. Globally, sea level is now rising at a rate of about a foot per century and the rate appears to be accelerating.



Given the immense growth of human settlements near the ocean over the past century, the risks of this situation are pretty clear. Scientists fear a perpetual humanitarian crisis will begin before the 21st century is out, as people are forced to flee the rising sea.



At my request, researcher Benjamin H. Strauss at the organization Climate Central made a rough calculation of the number of people living within 10 meters, or 33 feet, of sea level: 710 million, or about 12 percent of the world’s population. And about 1.3 billion people, or 21 percent of the population, lives within 25 meters, or 82 feet, of sea level. In other words, the kinds of long-term increases in sea level that scientists are talking about could wind up displacing a substantial fraction of the human population.



So far, the advice from scientists to reduce the level of risk by limiting greenhouse emissions has basically fallen on deaf ears, and global temperatures are rising.



In my article, I quoted Dr. Mitrovica as pointing out that the temperatures expected later this century have, when they occurred in the past, caused the catastrophic collapse of the ice sheets in both Greenland and West Antarctica. In an interview, he added, “I don’t think you should have any confidence that we’re going to somehow escape that if we continue with these temperatures.”

Ethan Hawke claims he is related to Tennessee Williams on his father's side, but has proof ever been confirmed with documents?

Hawke is a relative of Tennessee Williams: Williams was his great-uncle on his father's side. Ethan Hawke never met Tennessee Williams, his first cousin twice removed, but is any of this really really TRUE, Ethan, or is this family legend and lore? If true, where is the confirmation documents to show it is true. Williams did not have any relatives named HAWKE, so how could this be?

Unlikely pod-ners in a venture of assistance

Unlikely pod-ners in a venture of assistance


A homeless inventor crossed paths with a generous doctor after being brutally beaten. They’ve teamed up to produce molded, durable survival pods.

BY LEE ROMNEY REPORTING FROM SACRAMENTO

The smell of the blossoms had drawn Mike Williams to the rose garden sometime after midnight. Capitol Park security guards were scarce at that hour, and he hoped to get a little sleep.

At 60, the medical technology inventor and entrepreneur was homeless, his money gone, his 28-year marriage over.

But on that August night, things got worse: Williams was awakened by brutal kicks to his midsection. The thieves grabbed his backpack and laptop — which he’d been using to chronicle his unexpected journey.

When he was able, Williams stumbled two miles to an emergency room.

“My biggest fear was that I’d lose my faith,” Williams said recently. “But it took those guys who beat me up for me to meet Dr. Chen.”

A 72-year-old urologist with an easy laugh, Jong L. Chen later operated on the homeless man’s damaged prostate — treating him “with total respect and love,” Williams said.

Then Chen took a leap of faith.

Today, the two men are partners in a start-up venture that aims to use Williams’ street insights to help others. Compliments of Chen, Williams also now has a roof over his head.

When they shook on the partnership, Williams did not let go.

“Do you mind if I just hold your hand for a minute?” he asked Chen. “Because I don’t touch people anymore.”

Short and stout with thick sideburns and sparkling blue eyes, Williams is full of gratitude these days, tearing up easily when chronicling what he has lost — and gained.

But then, hardship notwithstanding, he has always been prone to optimism.

Williams grew up poor in a small pink trailer in Pollock Pines, Calif., and was on his own by the time he was14, working two jobs while attending high school. He served in Vietnam, then made his way to the San Francisco Peninsula, where his entrepreneurial spirit took flight.

During a dental checkup, Williams asked Dr. Ronald Asti if he had a camera that would let him peer inside patients’ mouths. When the dentist said he didn’t, Williams replied: “I want to make one.”

The intra-oral camera he invented in the mid-1980s was “one of the best things to come around in dentistry,” said Asti, who was Williams ’ business partner. “He was the leader.”

But those brilliant ideas didn’t necessarily translate into business success, Asti said.

Despite ample cash infusions from a local investor, their company did not reach profitability; in 1991they sold to Canoga Park-based New Image Industries.

Five years later, Williams turned his next venture into the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of intra-oral dental cameras, with more than $13 million in annual sales. But rapid revenue growth was outpaced by marketing and other expenses, and New Image snatched that one up too.

Williams’ constant push to turn big ideas into bigger companies landed his family on a roller coaster of success and disappointment. At one point, they had to leave their plush Atherton, Calif., home — with its pool, tennis courts and horses — behind.

“There were a lot of ups and downs,” said his daughter, Morgan White, now 29.

Not long after, Williams founded another dental technology venture and moved his family to a10-acre Pollock Pines horse property. Then came the biggest loss of his career: His partner in that venture wound up joining with other investors to edge him out.

Williams finally turned to contract work.

“Mike was always positive and came up with new angles to keep the project running,” recalled Yves Dossche, technology director for the Belgium-based firm Remedent, who spent several months with Williams working in Shenzhen, China, on his idea to use electro-luminescence to whiten teeth.

But the piecemeal work eventually dried up.

Caring for his aging in-laws, Williams fell deeper into debt. The bank foreclosed on the family’s home in 2009. The Williams’ marriage dissolved the next year.

“It took the fight out of me,” Williams said.

He loaded a few belongings into his 2004 Nissan: a psychedelic Einstein tie he had bought in Shenzhen; the mug from his granddaughter, Lillie, that bears her image and the words “I Love You Papa.” Then he drove off.

“I thought I’d find a job washing dishes and a place to live,” he said.

It didn’t happen.

Williams’ three grown children helped when they could. Fellow homeless people taught him to navigate the streets. He even persuaded a restaurateur to leave him 3 a.m. food drops.

And he begged — “just to get enough, $15 or $20, and then I would cry,” he said. “I would cry out of shame.”

His world was the green dumpster where he slept, the alley where he prayed, the sun-soaked rosebushes near the fountain where he eventually was beaten.

Williams woke up “as they were kicking me, just stomping me.” His Lillie mug was in a duffel bag that served as a pillow. That was safe.

He had a hernia and pneumonia, an emergency room doctor told him before referring him to the VA hospital. There, a caseworker landed him a precious bed at the Salvation Army shelter, where Williams learned that his prostate also had been torn.

Enter Chen, who had been practicing medicine in Sacramento for four decades while advocating for democracy and human rights in his native Taiwan. A generous political donor, he was willing to lend a hand to anyone in need.

“If you are down and you don’t have money, he’ll still look at you and take care of you,” said Dr. Joseph Lin, a longtime friend.

As Williams was about to undergo surgery, Chen heard him chatting with the operating room technician about the nanometer range on the laser. During a post-op visit, doctor and patient discussed Williams’ inventions — among them tiny cameras that peer into the heart and joints — and his latest big idea.

It had come to him while he was holed up in the dumpster. The lidded container, which Williams had lined with cardboard, had provided his only privacy. He envisioned a humane alternative: molded, durable survival pods that could be used for housing after disasters or to get the homeless off the streets.

It wasn’t long before Chen called Williams at the shelter and invited him to breakfast. During that meal at McDonald’s, the doctor said something that stunned Williams: “Let’s do it,” Chen said. The pod partnership was on.

Then they sat together, sipping coffee. “It was unbelievable solace and peace,” Williams said.

Chen said: “You can’t just take from society. You have to give back. I see lots of patients, from rich people to poor ones. I could see, ‘He’s OK.’ I believe in him.”

C hen helped Williams secure a small apartment; the doctor pays the $1,000 monthly rent. He also took Williams to Macy’s, picking out leather dress shoes and a charcoal-colored suit.

And although Chen never said a word about Williams’ scraggly beard, he did pinch it firmly one day between his thumb and forefinger — and tugged.

Message delivered.

Williams is now clean-shaven. He works out each morning at the apartment complex gym. He has an army of street friends; he made them turkey sandwiches on Thanksgiving, and soup and pasta salad at Christmas.

Each Thursday, the business partners meet to discuss their venture, Steps Housing Systems Inc. (Chen is chairman; Williams is chief executive.)

The 6-by-8-foot stackable pods, molded from poly-resin fiberglass, will come pre-assembled — with a chemical toilet, solar power capabilities, plexiglass doors and windows and battery-operated heaters and fans. A model complete with a cellphone charger, sleeping bag, water and enough nonperishable food to last 30 days will wholesale for about $4,500.

A manufacturer is in the process of pouring the prototypes, and Williams has reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and private businesses to see if the pods would work for them. At least one has expressed interest in a camouflage model.

He envisions airport rentals for weary travelers. A portable pod “hotel” would provide homeless clients with meals, showers, laundry facilities and security. And Williams and Chen are forming a nonprofit so donors can sponsor pods for the needy.

Chen checks in with Williams regularly, calling and occasionally stopping by the apartment with lunch.

“Sometimes people need help,” Chen said. “You feel better if you help.”

As for Williams, “I’ve never had a friendship like this,” he said. “My heart has changed.” lee.romney@latimes.com  

Temperature Rising, and Justin Gillis dishes the soup dirt here at the NYT

Temperatures Rising, With POLAR CITIES in the wings...?????

Justin, the print article and this blog post are vital. One question


for you and others: if in fact sea levels rise, in future times, might

not we humans, our descendants that is, 30 generations from now, say,

need something like "polar cities" as safe refuges for the millions of

climate refugees from the Lower 48 and Europe and Africa and Central

America who trek north to Alaska and Canada and Russia for refuge? Can

you one day maybe sort of do a post about Danny Bloom's cockamamie

ideas about polar cities, which Dot Earth already profiled in 2008?

Why the silence on this worst case scenario as a wake up call?



danbloom AT gmail DOT com
http://pcillu101.blogspot.tw/2013/01/temperature-rising-and-justin-gillis.html




Logan Ohio..I live in one of the highest points in Ohio, so I don't worry about anything except the hoards of folks who will stream across Pennsylvania on I-80 when the big storms hit NYC, Boston and Philadelphia. Even then, our Southern brethren won't take it seriously until the tsunami sweeps across Florida, wiping out Disney World. Gun shops will flourish...


Jim Macdonald Connecticut..Mr. Magoo is correct that CO2 is logaithmic and has already done most of it's warming.


The whole article is based on the assumption that temperatures will continue to rise. The fact is, temperatues have leveled off and not risen further in the last 15 years!

Research is now turning to the sun and even cosmic ray particles that serve as condensation nuclei ,making more clouds that cause cooling. More particles get through to the atmosphere when the sun is quiet. Guess what? The sun may be going into a quiet period similar to the manuder minimum which occurred in connection with the little ice age. This means we might just see more cooling than warming coming our way.Brrrr.


Bruce WoodPortland, ME..I trust the rising or falling of the land is taken into account when calculating how far above current sea levels the beaches are. This would affect how much of that height is due to ancient sea levels and how much is due to other factors.


Jan. 23, 2013 at 6:03 a.m.

.PRMA..Dear Bruce, All relative my friend. Whether the floor drops, or the sea rises, its glug glug.. We have unleashed never-before-levels of man induced CO2 into the atmosphere over the last 100 years and we have been witness to these results in the last several years. Yes, its difficult to accept responsibility for thisignificant degenerative contribution to our planet's condition, but, we are part of the whole ecosystem. There's a lot of us and even more striving to attain our standard of living.. We must strive for continued improvement in energy efficiency and consumption.





How High Could the Tide Go? asked Justin Gillis in early 2013 AD, presaging the advent of
POLAR CITIES for survivors of climate change in 2500 AD.

in a newspaper onced called The New York Times and published in Manhattan which is now under water

PREHISTORIC SHORELINES : Researchers explored ancient rock formations on

South Africa’s coast. They are looking for critical clues from records

of past climate change to help predict sea level rise in a warming

world.
By JUSTIN GILLIS

January 21, 2013

BREDASDORP, South Africa — A scruffy crew of scientists barreled down

a dirt road, their two-car caravan kicking up dust. After searching

all day for ancient beaches miles inland from the modern shoreline,

they were about to give up.



Temperature Rising

Articles in this series focus on the central arguments in the climate

debate and examine the evidence for global warming and its

consequences.

.Multimedia

Slide Show Hunting High Sea Levels in South Africa.

A blog about energy and the environment.



Go to Blog »

Follow Green on Twitter »

.Enlarge This Image

Samantha Reinders for The New York Times

Alessio Rovere, top, at an ancient beach in South Africa. More Photos »

Suddenly, the lead car screeched to a halt. Paul J. Hearty, a

geologist from North Carolina, leapt out and seized a white object on

the side of the road: a fossilized seashell. He beamed. In minutes,

the team had collected dozens more.



Using satellite gear, they determined they were seven miles inland and

64 feet above South Africa’s modern coastline.



For the leader of the team, Maureen E. Raymo of Columbia University,

the find was an important clue as she tries to determine just how high

the oceans might rise in a warmer world.



The question has taken on new urgency in the aftermath of Hurricane

Sandy, which caused coastal flooding that scientists say was almost

certainly worsened by the modest rise of sea level over the past

century. That kind of storm tide, the experts say, could become

routine along American coastlines by late in this century if the ocean

rises as fast as they expect.



In previous research, scientists have determined that when the earth

warms by only a couple of degrees Fahrenheit, enough polar ice melts,

over time, to raise the global sea level by about 25 to 30 feet. But

in the coming century, the earth is expected to warm more than that,

perhaps four or five degrees, because of human emissions of greenhouse

gases.







Experts say the emissions that may make a huge increase of sea level

inevitable are expected to occur in just the next few decades. They

fear that because the world’s coasts are so densely settled, the

rising oceans will lead to a humanitarian crisis lasting many hundreds

of years.



Scientists say it has been difficult to get people to understand or

focus on the importance, for future generations, of today’s decisions

about greenhouse gases. Their evidence that the gases represent a

problem is based not just on computerized forecasts of the future, as

is commonly believed, but on what they describe as a growing body of

evidence about what occurred in the past.



To add to that body of knowledge, Dr. Raymo is studying geologic

history going back several million years. The earth has warmed up many

times, for purely natural reasons, and those episodes often featured

huge shifts of climate, partial collapse of the polar ice sheets and

substantial increases in sea level.



“I wish I could take people that question the significance of sea

level rise out in the field with me,” Dr. Raymo said. “Because you

just walk them up 30 or 40 feet in elevation above today’s sea level

and show them a fossil beach, with shells the size of a fist eroding

out, and they can look at it with their own eyes and say, ‘Wow, you

didn’t just make that up.’ ”



Skeptics who play down the importance of global warming like to note

that these past changes occurred with no human intervention. They

argue that the climate is ever-changing, yet humans or their

predecessors managed to prosper.



The geologic record does offer startling examples of the instability

of the planet. Whale bones can be dug up in the Sahara. The summit of

Mount Everest is a chunk of ancient seafloor.



But most climate scientists reject the idea that this history means

human-induced climate change will be benign. They add that the fossil

record indicates nothing quite like today’s rapid release of

greenhouse gases and its parallel effect of raising the planet’s

temperature, changes that are occurring in a geologic instant.



“Absolutely, unequivocally, nature has changed before,” said Richard

B. Alley, a leading climate scientist at Pennsylvania State

University. “But it looks like we’re going to do something bigger and

faster than nature ever has.”



Clues From Fossils



In any given era, the earth’s climate responds to whatever factors are

pushing it to change.



Scientists who study climate history, known as paleoclimatologists,

focus much of their research on episodes when wobbles in the earth’s

orbit caused it to cool down or warm up, causing sea level to rise or

fall by hundreds of feet.



Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, appears to have played a

crucial role. When changes in the orbit caused the earth to cool,

scientists say, a large amount of carbon dioxide entered the ocean,

reducing the heat-trapping properties of the atmosphere and thus

amplifying the cooling. Conversely, when the shifts in sunlight led to

initial warming, carbon dioxide emerged from the ocean and helped

speed the end of the previous ice age.



Based on this record, scientists like Dr. Alley describe carbon

dioxide as the master control knob of the earth’s climate. A large

body of scientific evidence shows that the current increase in the gas

is being caused by human activity, meaning that people are essentially

twisting the earth’s thermostat hard to the right.



In most of the previous warm periods, some ice remained near the

poles, in Greenland and Antarctica. Today, enough water is stored as

ice in those regions to raise the level of the ocean roughly 220 feet,

should all of it melt.



he fossil record suggests that temperatures slightly warmer than today

would not be enough to melt the ice caps entirely. But an increase of

even a few degrees Fahrenheit in the average global temperature does

appear to cause severe damage. From the last time that happened, about

120,000 years ago, scientists have found more than a thousand elevated

fossil beaches around the world.



Enlarge This Image

Samantha Reinders for The New York Times

A fossil seashell. More Photos »

Temperature Rising

Articles in this series focus on the central arguments in the climate

debate and examine the evidence for global warming and its

consequences.

.Multimedia

Slide Show Hunting High Sea Levels in South Africa.

A blog about energy and the environment.



Go to Blog »

Follow Green on Twitter » .Many scientists believe that, as a result

of human-induced warming, temperatures are already entering the danger

zone. They are seeing rapid changes in Greenland and western

Antarctica.



“I can merely tell you that every time in recent earth history where

we’ve had these kinds of temperatures for any protracted period of

time, two polar ice sheets have catastrophically collapsed,” said

Jerry X. Mitrovica, an earth physicist at Harvard who collaborates

with Dr. Raymo.



Dr. Raymo works at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a unit of

Columbia University just outside New York City. Like many of her

colleagues, she is trying to run the movie of the earth’s history in

reverse, finding an era with temperatures that mirror those expected

before 2100.



She has zeroed in on the Pliocene epoch, roughly three million years

ago. The level of carbon dioxide in the air then appears to have been

about 400 parts per million — a level that will be reached again

within the next few years, after two centuries of fossil fuel burning.



Previous efforts to estimate the maximum rise of the sea in the

Pliocene did not take full account of some factors now known to be

important.



In Search of Prehistoric Beaches



Two years ago, in hopes of pinning down a better answer, Dr. Raymo

pitched an ambitious plan to the National Science Foundation, the

federal agency that pays for much of the country’s scientific

research. She proposed to pull together a worldwide network of expert

collaborators: to find, date and measure Pliocene beaches on nearly

every continent and then to work with experts in computer modeling to

take careful account of all the factors known to alter sea level.



The N.S.F. awarded the group $4.2 million, with one anonymous

scientific reviewer declaring that the plan would permit a “far more

precise and quantitative prediction of future climate change.”



This summer, Dr. Raymo and her team drove hundreds of miles along

South Africa’s southern and western coasts, scouting for prehistoric

beaches.



To collect ancient seashells for laboratory testing, they hiked

treacherous paths and descended into old quarries and diamond mines.

At one point an Australian researcher, Michael J. O’Leary, and an

Italian colleague, Alessio Rovere, climbed a steep cliff face to take

measurements, clinging to shrubs as their feet kept slipping.



The team located suspected Pliocene beaches as low as 38 feet and as

high as 111 feet above modern sea level. In similar work in Australia

and on the East Coast of the United States, the researchers have found

Pliocene beaches as low as 33 feet and as high as 295 feet above sea

level.



Part of the explanation for such varying elevations, Dr. Raymo said,

is that the land itself has almost certainly moved over the last three

million years, unevenly — thus raising or lowering beach deposits

after they had been laid down.



Scientists have come to realize this can happen anywhere in the world,

even far from geological hot spots, a major factor complicating their

interpretation of past sea level. “A lot of the big task we have is

teasing apart this dance that the crust of the earth is doing with the

level of the sea,” Dr. Raymo said.



Over the next few years, her team plans to gather new measurements

from most continents, including North America, where the Pliocene

ocean encroached as far as 90 miles inland. After several years of

work, they hope to arrive at the magic number Dr. Raymo calls Pliomax,

or the maximum global sea level rise during the Pliocene.



That figure may help to solve a vexing scientific problem.



A large body of evidence suggests that the ice sheets atop Greenland

and the low-lying, western part of Antarctica are vulnerable to global

warming. But together, they can supply no more than about 40 feet of

sea level rise.



The previous estimates of Pliocene sea level, based on spotty

evidence, range from 15 feet to 130 feet above today’s ocean, with 80

feet being a commonly cited figure. If Dr. Raymo’s work were to

confirm such a high estimate, it would suggest that the ice sheet in

eastern Antarctica — by far the biggest chunk of ice in the world,

containing enough water to raise sea level by 180 feet — is also

vulnerable to melting. And if it is, scientists do not fully

understand why, because their computer forecasts — acknowledged to be

imperfect — suggest most of it should remain stable even in a warmer

world.



“Just the mere fact that we know the number will tell us right off the

bat, is East Antarctica stable?” Dr. Raymo said. “Or is it a huge

risk?”



Thus, if the project is successful, it may put an upper limit on how

much the ocean is ultimately capable of rising if temperatures go up

as much as expected this century.



But the Pliomax project will not be able to answer what might be an

even bigger question: In a worst-case scenario, how fast could the

rise happen?



Dr. Raymo and her team share an emerging scientific consensus that the

increase in this century will probably be on the order of three feet,

perhaps as much as six feet. That would almost certainly require

millions of people to evacuate coastal regions.



Calculations by Climate Central, a research group, suggest that once

the ocean has risen five feet, storm tides comparable to those of

Hurricane Sandy could occur about every 15 years in New York City.



Scientists say that in the 22nd century, the problem would probably

become far worse, and the rise would then continue for many centuries,

perhaps thousands of years. Recent research suggests the likely rise

could be 12 feet by the year 2300, inundating coastal regions around

the world.



If the rise is slower than expected, society may have time to adjust,

or to develop new technology to solve the problem of greenhouse

emissions. But many scientists are plagued by a nagging fear that the

opposite will occur — that their calculations will turn out to have

been too conservative, and social stability will eventually be

threatened by a rapid rise of the sea.



“At every point, as our knowledge increases,” Dr. Raymo said, “we’ve

always discovered that the climate system is more sensitive than we

thought it could be, not less.”

Images of the near future in CL FI Fiction - POLAR CITY RED set in 2075 AD

Images of the near future in CL FI Fiction differ markedly from those of the Far Future in both content and attitude. The far future tends to be associated with cli fi notions of ultimate destiny, and is dominated by metaphors of senescence; its images display a world irrevocably transfigured.

It is viewed from a detached viewpoint; the dominant mood is – paradoxically – one of nostalgia, because the far future, like the dead past, can be entered only imaginatively, and has meaning only in terms of its emotional resonances.

The near future, by contrast, is a world which is imminently real – one of which we can have no definite knowledge, which exists only imaginatively and hypothetically, but which is nevertheless a world in which (or something like it) we may one day have to live, and towards which our present plans and ambitions must be directed. A good example of a near future CLI FI novel is Jim Laughter's POLAR CITY RED, which takes place in Alaska in 2075 AD, the near future.

The fears and hopes reflected in his images of the near future are real, however overpessimistic or overoptimistic they may seem. In order to plan our lives we must all possess such images, and the fact that they are fictions does not mean that they are unimportant. Literary representations of the near future both reflect and nourish those images.




Monday, January 21, 2013

Confident Obama lays out battle plan...


Confident Obama lays out battle plan...

Vows aggressive agenda...

Defends role of strong government...

Liberated and liberal...

Stumbles on 'states' during swearing in...

'Preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action'...

Warns against steep spending cuts, presses for immigration changes...

Action on 'climate change'...

Call for unity may go unheeded by half the country...

Chris Matthews: 'Gettysburg Address'...

CORN: Speech for 'Obama's people'...

CNN Reporter: 'I Feel Like I Should Pinch Myself'...

Republicans: No regrets...







1461 MORE DAYS...







Obama claims decade of war ending...



Panetta: US has to 'fight back' against al Qaeda...

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TERROR IN AFRICA: ARE WESTERNERS PULLING THE STRINGS?

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VIDEO: First Lady Rolls Eyes At Boehner...







SPECIAL DAY: Inaugural lunch tops 3,000 calories...



JOAN RIVERS: First lady's new 'do is a 'don't'...

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Rapper thrown offstage during pre-inauguration event after anti-Obama rant...

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Prince Harry acknowledges killing Taliban...



'Take a life to save a life. That what we revolve around, I suppose'...



Vegas pictures were 'too much army, not enough prince'...



TURNS HIS GUNS ON THE MEDIA...



'It's fairly obvious how far back it goes'...

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Iran vows to launch 'living creatures' into space in 'coming days'...



Turns to Public Hangings to Combat Crime Wave...

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Attenborough: Humans are plague on Earth...

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Russia moves to enact anti-gay law nationwide...

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Man cited for riding camel during Sundance fest...

Obama, in second inaugural, calls for polar cities for survivors of climate chaos in distant future


[Editor’s Note: Here is the text of President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address, as provided by the White House press office.]


PRESIDENT OBAMA: Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice,
members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens, and you, James Lovelock over there in Cornwall:



Each time we gather to inaugurate a sitting or new president we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional — what makes us American — is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”



Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. (Applause.) The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.



And for more than two hundred years, we have.



Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.



Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and colleges to train our workers.



Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.



Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.



Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character.



But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people. (Applause.)



This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. (Applause.) An economic recovery has begun. (Applause.) America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together. (Applause.)



For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. (Applause.) We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. (Applause.)



We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. So we must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.



We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. (Applause.) For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.



We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. (Applause.) They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. (Applause.)



We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. (Applause.) Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.



The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.



We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. (Applause.) Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. (Applause.) Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war; who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends — and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.



We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully –- not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. (Applause.)



America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe. And we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice –- not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice.



We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. (Applause.)



It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- (applause) — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity — (applause) — until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.



That is our generation’s task — to make these words, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time. (Applause.)



For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. (Applause.) We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.



My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction. And we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.



They are the words of citizens and they represent our greatest hope. You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. (Applause.)



Let us, each of us, now embrace with solemn duty and awesome joy what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.



Thank you. God bless you, and may She forever bless these United States of America.

Obama’s Chance for a Fresh Start on a Climate-Smart Energy Quest and the Need for Polar Cities for survivors of global warming chaos in distant future


ANDREW C. REVKIN writes: on DOT EARTH in NYT.com

It was heartening to see President Obama include an ample reference to the importance of climate-smart energy policies in his short inaugural address today. The speech is presumably a sketch of what’s to come in the State of the Union message and policy initiatives this year.



In his speech, Obama framed the need to address climate change and non-polluting energy technologies as both as a legacy issue and a real-world priority. Importantly, he also cautioned that this will be a long journey. Here’s the excerpt:

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.



Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition. We must lead it.



We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries. We must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure, our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.



It’s time for the president to move from pledges on such initiatives to action.

Obama 2013 Speech Gives POLAR CITIES for survivors of climate chaos in distant future the Center Stage

Obama 2013 Speech
Gives ''POLAR CITIES'' for survivors of climate chaos
in distant future
the Center Stage


WASHINGTON — President Obama made addressing climate change the most prominent policy vow of his second Inaugural Address, setting in motion what Democrats say will be a deliberately paced but aggressive campaign built around the use of his executive powers to sidestep Congressional opposition.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Mr. Obama said on Monday at the start of eight sentences on the subject, more than he devoted to any other specific area. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”



The central place he gave to the subject seemed to answer the question of whether he considered it a realistic second-term priority. He devoted scant attention to it in the campaign and has delivered a mixed message about its importance since the election.



Mr. Obama is heading into the effort having extensively studied the lessons from his first term, when he failed to win passage of comprehensive legislation to reduce emissions of the gases that cause global warming. This time, the White House plans to avoid such a fight and instead focus on what it can do administratively to reduce emissions from power plants, increase the efficiency of home appliances and have the federal government itself produce less carbon pollution.



Mr. Obama’s path on global warming is a case study in his evolving sense of the limits of his power and his increased willingness to work around intense conservative opposition rather than seek compromise. After coming to office four years ago on a pledge to heal the planet and turn back the rise of the seas, he is proceeding cautiously this time, Democrats said, intent on making sure his approach is vetted politically, economically and technologically so as not to risk missing what many environmental advocates say could be the last best chance for years to address the problem.



The centerpiece will be action by the Environmental Protection Agency to clamp down further on emissions from coal-burning power plants under regulations still being drafted — and likely to draw legal challenges.



The administration plans to supplement that step by adopting new energy efficiency standards for home appliances and buildings, a seemingly small advance that can have a substantial impact by reducing demand for electricity. Those standards would echo the sharp increase in fuel economy that the administration required from automakers in the first term.



The Pentagon, one of the country’s largest energy users, is also taking strides toward cutting use and converting to renewable fuels.



Mr. Obama’s aides are planning those steps in conjunction with a campaign to build public support and head off political opposition in a way the administration did not the last time around. But the White House has cautioned activists not to expect full-scale engagement while Congress remains occupied by guns, immigration and the budget.



The president’s emphasis on climate change drew fire from conservatives. Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a group financed by the Koch brothers, who made a fortune in refining and other oil interests, criticized the speech in a statement. “His address read like a liberal laundry list with global warming at the top,” Mr. Phillips said. “Americans have rejected environmental extremism in the past and they will again.”



Still, Mr. Obama has signaled that he intends to expand his own role in making a public case for why action is necessary and why, despite the conservative argument that such changes would cost jobs and leave the United States less competitive with rising powers like China, they could have economic benefits by promoting a clean-energy industry. In addition to the prominent mention on Monday, Mr. Obama also used strong language in his speech on election night, referring to “the destructive power of a warming planet.”



Those remarks stood in contrast to Mr. Obama’s comments at his first postelection news conference, when he said he planned to convene “a wide-ranging conversation” about climate change and was vague about action. He is also expected to highlight his plans in his State of the Union address next month and in his budget plan soon afterward.



Beyond new policies, the administration is seeking to capitalize on the surge of natural gas production over the past few years. As a cheaper and cleaner alternative to coal, natural gas gives it a chance to argue that coal is less economically attractive.



After the defeat in 2010 of legislation that would have capped carbon emissions and issued tradable permits for emissions, Mr. Obama turned to regulation and financing for alternative energy. Despite the lack of comprehensive legislation, emissions have declined roughly 10 percent since he took office, a result both of the economic slowdown and of energy efficiency moves by government and industry.



The administration is discussing with Congressional Democrats, some of whom are leery of the issue because their states are home to coal businesses, how to head off a Republican counterattack on the new regulations. Democrats are paying particular attention to the likelihood of Republicans employing a little-used procedure to block new regulations with a simple majority vote.



Senate Democrats are also girding for a battle when Mr. Obama nominates a new head of the E.P.A. The agency, excoriated by Republicans as a job-killing bureaucracy, would take the lead in setting the new regulations.



The approach is a turnabout from the first term, when Mr. Obama’s guiding principle in trying to pass the cap-and-trade bill was that a negotiated legislative solution was likely to be more politically palatable than regulation by executive fiat. Now there is a broad expectation that he will follow up his first big use of the E.P.A.’s powers to rein in emissions — proposed rules last year for new power plants — with a plan to crack down on emissions from existing power plants.



According to estimates from the Natural Resources Defense Council, emissions from current coal-fired plants could be reduced by more than 25 percent by 2020, yielding large health and environmental benefits at relatively low cost. Such an approach would allow Mr. Obama to fulfill his 2009 pledge to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by about 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, the group says.



“There’s a really big opportunity, perhaps bigger than most people realize,” said Dan Lashof, director of the defense council’s climate and clean air program.



The regulatory push will be particularly important because Mr. Obama has little prospect of winning as much money for clean energy as he did in his first term, with Republicans now in control of the House. Despite the renewed attention to climate change following Hurricane Sandy and record-high temperatures in the continental United States last year, there is little sign that the politics of the issue will get any easier for Mr. Obama.



Polar cities are inevitable in future SCI FI novels and movies

Consideration of climate change and the likely need for polar cities for survivors of the Great Interruption from 2500 AD to 3500 AD, perhaps longer, has become virtually inevitable in serious Near Future sf ''SCIENCE FICTION'' and'' Cli - fi'' novels of the 21st century.

Traditional sf treatments of the theme sometimes depict climate change as the result of excessive co2 emissions and the reckless burning of fossil fuels to power a modern civilization and that results in the building of POLAR CITIES for survivors of climate chaos in the distant future, with Jim Laughter's cli fi novel of 2012 titled POLAR CITY RED being among the first to go down this road.



Traditional sf treatments of the theme also sometimes depict climate change as the result of massive Pollution (which see); an interesting example is the spoof television documentary Alternative 3 (1977). Rather more frequently, human complicity is downplayed in favour of natural Disaster: a new Ice Age, for example, in John Christopher's The World in Winter (1962; vt The Long Winter) and again in The Sixth Winter (1979) by John Gribbin and Douglas Orgill. Earth's gravitational capture by a "dark star" leads to the freezing of its atmosphere in Fritz Leiber's "A Pail of Air" (December 1951 Galaxy), and the Sun is disastrously occluded by the titular space entity of Fred Hoyle's The Black Cloud (1957). J G Ballard's moody The Drowned World (January 1962 Science Fiction Adventures; exp 1962) – a significant influence on the iconography of later sf climate-change scenarios – ascribes increasing heat, rising sea levels and the drowning of London to persistent solar flares. Other notable works shift the responsibility to Aliens, such as the deep-sea invaders of John Wyndham's The Kraken Wakes (1953; rev vt Out of the Deeps 1953), whose ultimate weapon increases sea levels in order to drown tiresome humanity. The Newts of Karel Čapek's earlier War With the Newts (1936; trans 1937) do not raise the sea but use explosives to dismantle and lower the land. In Gerald Heard's "The President of the United States, Detective" (March 1947 Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine) as by H F Heard, a Chinese plot to melt the Arctic tundra, raise sea levels and drown portions of the West is countered by the US President (a Scientist), whose atom-bombing of Greenland's and Antarctica's ice-fields will both reclaim these continents for Western use and inundate much of China. Scientific hubris can also lead to climatic doom, as in Piers Anthony's eccentric Rings of Ice (1974), in which vast masses of orbiting ice fragments moved into Earth orbit as solar reflectors (> Power Sources) soon fall to become planet-drowning rain and floods. The 1980s added the plausible speculation that one side effect of World War Three would be Nuclear Winter.



Among the unlikeliest scenarios of human-triggered climatic disaster is Frederik Pohl's "The Snowmen" (December 1959 Galaxy), which incorrectly assumes that widespread use of heat pumps to warm houses will lower outside temperatures and ultimately bring on an artificial ice age; however, the protagonist's wilful indifference to global issues is oddly prophetic of more recent climate-change denial.



Plausible climate change is central in Dakota James's Greenhouse: It Will Happen in 1997 (1984), whose timescale proved overly pessimistic; in George Turner's The Sea and Summer (1987; vt Drowning Towers 1988), with the seas steadily and oppressively rising owing to greenhouse-effect melting of the polar icecaps; and in John Barnes's Mother of Storms (1994), whose eponymous killer storm is made possible by a sudden, human-triggered increase in atmospheric methane levels. Further novels set in futures made bleak by global warming include Kurt Vonnegut's Slapstick, or Lonesome No More! (1976), Dakota James's Milwaukee the Beautiful (1987), Richard Kadrey's Kamikaze L'Amour: A Novel of the Future (1995), Julie Bertagna's Exodus (2002) and Ray Hammond's Extinction (2005).



Inevitably, some authors have adopted contrarian positions. Environmentalists concerned with climate change are portrayed as villains in Fallen Angels (1991) by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn, where global-warming scenarios are rebutted by the coming of a new ice age. Much the same attitude, bolstered by dubious science and (according to the scientists themselves) misrepresentation of actual work in climate science, pervades Michael Crichton's State of Fear (2004).



A particularly thoughtful sf examination of Near-Future climate change – including some plausible US Politics – is Kim Stanley Robinson's Science in the Capitol trilogy, comprising Forty Signs of Rain (2004), Fifty Degrees Below (2005) and Sixty Days and Counting (2007). Crises here include the drowning of Washington, District of Columbia, in book one (foreshadowing the 2005 impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans) and the stalling of the Gulf Stream, which is restarted at heroic cost. The term Anthropocene, denoting the current geological era in which human activities have became a significant factor in global ecosystem change (> Ecology; Gaia), was coined by ecologist Eugene F Stoermer (1934- ) in the early 1980s and features in such sf novels as Alastair Reynolds's Blue Remembered Earth (2012) and Kim Stanley Robinson 2312 (2012).



The pervasiveness of the scientific consensus has spread awareness of climate change as a likely near-future default into more mainstream literary circles. Examples include Maggie Gee's The Ice People (1998); T Coraghessan Boyle's A Friend of the Earth (2000), offering a vision of related devastation as early as 2025; and Ian McEwan's Solar (2010). In the Cinema, The Day After Tomorrow (2004) perhaps inevitably hypes up global-warming effects, converting steady decline to a rapid-action Disaster scenario. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001) more plausibly uses flooding caused by rising sea levels as a future background rather than the narrative focus. [DRL]




SEE ALSO


•Welcome to the Greenhouse: New Science Fiction on Climate Change (New York: OR Books, 2011) edited by Gordon Van Gelder [anth: pb/Eric Drooker]

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sci fi writer Bruce Sterling says CLIMATE CHANGE is the most important issue of the times we live in

Giuseppe Granieri asked Bruce Sterling in a recent interview: In ''LOVE IS STRANGE'', the character Gavins says: «I may dress like a nerd, but I can read trends».


Could you pick 5 trends to watch in the next 5 years, Bruce?



BRUCE ANSWERS: I can pick the trends, but you'll only really watch them if they somehow capture your imagination. The number one trend in the world, the biggest, the most important trend, is climate change. People hate watching it; they either flinch in guilty fear or shudder away in denial, but it makes a deeper, more drastic difference to your future than anything else that is happening now.

and
===============================
Owing to the increasing scientific consensus that our energy-intensive technological civilization is measurably and in all likelihood irreversibly affecting Earth's climate, consideration of climate change has become virtually inevitable in serious Near Future sf of the twenty-first century.




Traditional sf treatments of the theme sometimes depict climate change as the result of massive Pollution (which see); an interesting example is the spoof television documentary Alternative 3 (1977). Rather more frequently, human complicity is downplayed in favour of natural Disaster: a new Ice Age, for example, in John Christopher's The World in Winter (1962; vt The Long Winter) and again in The Sixth Winter (1979) by John Gribbin and Douglas Orgill. Earth's gravitational capture by a "dark star" leads to the freezing of its atmosphere in Fritz Leiber's "A Pail of Air" (December 1951 Galaxy), and the Sun is disastrously occluded by the titular space entity of Fred Hoyle's The Black Cloud (1957). J G Ballard's moody The Drowned World (January 1962 Science Fiction Adventures; exp 1962) – a significant influence on the iconography of later sf climate-change scenarios – ascribes increasing heat, rising sea levels and the drowning of London to persistent solar flares. Other notable works shift the responsibility to Aliens, such as the deep-sea invaders of John Wyndham's The Kraken Wakes (1953; rev vt Out of the Deeps 1953), whose ultimate weapon increases sea levels in order to drown tiresome humanity. The Newts of Karel Čapek's earlier War With the Newts (1936; trans 1937) do not raise the sea but use explosives to dismantle and lower the land. In Gerald Heard's "The President of the United States, Detective" (March 1947 Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine) as by H F Heard, a Chinese plot to melt the Arctic tundra, raise sea levels and drown portions of the West is countered by the US President (a Scientist), whose atom-bombing of Greenland's and Antarctica's ice-fields will both reclaim these continents for Western use and inundate much of China. Scientific hubris can also lead to climatic doom, as in Piers Anthony's eccentric Rings of Ice (1974), in which vast masses of orbiting ice fragments moved into Earth orbit as solar reflectors (> Power Sources) soon fall to become planet-drowning rain and floods. The 1980s added the plausible speculation that one side effect of World War Three would be Nuclear Winter.



Among the unlikeliest scenarios of human-triggered climatic disaster is Frederik Pohl's "The Snowmen" (December 1959 Galaxy), which incorrectly assumes that widespread use of heat pumps to warm houses will lower outside temperatures and ultimately bring on an artificial ice age; however, the protagonist's wilful indifference to global issues is oddly prophetic of more recent climate-change denial.



Plausible climate change is central in Dakota James's Greenhouse: It Will Happen in 1997 (1984), whose timescale proved overly pessimistic; in George Turner's The Sea and Summer (1987; vt Drowning Towers 1988), with the seas steadily and oppressively rising owing to greenhouse-effect melting of the polar icecaps; and in John Barnes's Mother of Storms (1994), whose eponymous killer storm is made possible by a sudden, human-triggered increase in atmospheric methane levels. Further novels set in futures made bleak by global warming include Kurt Vonnegut's Slapstick, or Lonesome No More! (1976), Dakota James's Milwaukee the Beautiful (1987), Richard Kadrey's Kamikaze L'Amour: A Novel of the Future (1995), Julie Bertagna's Exodus (2002) and Ray Hammond's Extinction (2005).



Inevitably, some authors have adopted contrarian positions. Environmentalists concerned with climate change are portrayed as villains in Fallen Angels (1991) by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn, where global-warming scenarios are rebutted by the coming of a new ice age. Much the same attitude, bolstered by dubious science and (according to the scientists themselves) misrepresentation of actual work in climate science, pervades Michael Crichton's State of Fear (2004).



A particularly thoughtful sf examination of Near-Future climate change – including some plausible US Politics – is Kim Stanley Robinson's Science in the Capitol trilogy, comprising Forty Signs of Rain (2004), Fifty Degrees Below (2005) and Sixty Days and Counting (2007). Crises here include the drowning of Washington, District of Columbia, in book one (foreshadowing the 2005 impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans) and the stalling of the Gulf Stream, which is restarted at heroic cost. The term Anthropocene, denoting the current geological era in which human activities have became a significant factor in global ecosystem change (> Ecology; Gaia), was coined by ecologist Eugene F Stoermer (1934- ) in the early 1980s and features in such sf novels as Alastair Reynolds's Blue Remembered Earth (2012) and Kim Stanley Robinson 2312 (2012).



The pervasiveness of the scientific consensus has spread awareness of climate change as a likely near-future default into more mainstream literary circles. Examples include Maggie Gee's The Ice People (1998); T Coraghessan Boyle's A Friend of the Earth (2000), offering a vision of related devastation as early as 2025; and Ian McEwan's Solar (2010). In the Cinema, The Day After Tomorrow (2004) perhaps inevitably hypes up global-warming effects, converting steady decline to a rapid-action Disaster scenario. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001) more plausibly uses flooding caused by rising sea levels as a future background rather than the narrative focus. [DRL]



See also:

Andrew Bovell; Pseudoscience; Steve Waters; Weather Control.



further reading



•Welcome to the Greenhouse: New Science Fiction on Climate Change (New York: OR Books, 2011) edited by Gordon Van Gelder [anth: pb/Eric Drooker]




Saturday, January 19, 2013

What Would Hannah Horvath Make of Elizabeth Wurtzel?


What Would Hannah Horvath Make of Elizabeth Wurtzel?

Posted by Meghan Daum

Does Hannah Horvath, heroine of the HBO series “Girls,” stand to learn any lessons from Elizabeth Wurtzel’s January 6th New York magazine story “Elizabeth Wurtzel Confronts Her One-Night Stand of a Life”? It’s almost absurdly perfect that the article appeared just days before the start of “Girls”’s second season. You can imagine Hannah, the emotionally raw, often exhibitionist alter ego of the show’s creator, Lena Dunham, hunched over her iPhone, devouring the article bit by tiny bit before accosting her friends with a round of unanswerable, existential questions: “Is this me in twenty years? Will I have ‘failed to accumulate that brocade of civility and padlock of security … that makes life complete’? Will I be able to write about this for New York magazine? If so, where do I sign up?”



Wurtzel’s fifty-five-hundred-word essay is many things: a real-estate horror story, a jeremiad against aging, a list of reasons to go to law school, a list of reasons not to go to law school, a paean to the good old days of generous book and magazine writing contracts. It’s also self-aggrandizing, disjointed, and, in its most egregious moments, leaves the impression that her editors might have been egging her on—or worse, taking advantage of what sometimes looks like a fairly precarious psychological state—in order to ensure maximum blogospheric outrage. “For a while after my first book came out,” Wurtzel writes, “I went home with a different man every night and did heroin every day—which shows my good sense, because the rest of the time I was completely out of control.”



In this story, as with many tragic New York City stories, the catalyst for reflection is a housing crisis. Stalked and terrorized by her landlady, Wurtzel is forced to move from the parlor unit of an elegant Bleecker Street townhouse to a basement apartment in Chelsea (east of Eighth Avenue, “the neighborhood equivalent of a dungeon.”) Compelled, finally, to take an inventory of her last two decades, she admits that, at forty-four, she is essentially living the same life she did at twenty-four. In the plus column, that means an active romantic life—“I am always in love—or else I am getting over the last person or getting started with the next one”—and fitting into the same clothes she always did. In the minus column, that means she can’t afford new clothes, anyway.



Wurtzel is the author of the best-selling 1994 memoir “Prozac Nation,” a book that became a cultural touchstone and earned Wurtzel a reputation as a kind of damaged, if gifted, wastrel-about-town. For aspiring writers kicking around New York City in the nineteen-nineties—I was one—Wurtzel was an object of scorn, admiration, lust, mockery, awe, and, most of all, envy. (I remember being very proud of my twenty-four-year-old self for coining the phrase “prosaic notion.”) We resented her for being such a famous and hot little mess, yet we couldn’t help but begrudgingly admire her ability to parlay her neuroses into financial rewards and a place in the literary scene. We rolled our eyes at her second book, “Bitch,” a treatise on sexually manipulative women for which Wurtzel had received an enormous advance and on whose dust jacket she appeared topless with her middle finger extended. Still, Wurtzel was a testament to the power of “the personal as professional,” and a lot of us wished we had the courage and chutzpah to make, as Wurtzel describes it, “a career out of my emotions.”



That is about as close a description as you can get to Hannah Horvath’s dream job. Hannah, an aspiring personal essayist who makes a pitch for staying on her parents’ bankroll because “I think I may be the voice of my generation—or at least a voice, of a generation,” is in some ways the poor man’s version of the younger Wurtzel. She’s not as glamorous, and despite a foray into cocaine in the season two opener, she’s not as reckless with controlled substances, nor have we seen any signs of the serious depression that has been Wurtzel’s calling card from the start. The two also represent markedly different generations and classes: Wurtzel, a child of divorce who grew up un-rich in New York City but was resourceful enough to get herself to private school and then to Harvard, comes out of a punk sensibility, and has a certain up-by-the-Doc-Marten-bootstraps street cred. Hannah, whose Midwestern academic parents balk at supporting her “groovy lifestyle” but can offer a safety net nonetheless, is softer, more naïve, and seemingly less adept than Wurtzel at wreaking havoc on either her own life or the lives of others.



Still, when it comes to the question of how to honor your creativity while also maintaining a semblance of respect for yourself, Wurtzel and Hannah are similarly flummoxed. Like Wurtzel, Hannah often confuses her entitlement for ambition, and passes off a certain baseline inertia for artistic integrity. When Wurtzel declares in her piece that she is “pleased that I only write what I feel like,” you can almost see Hannah copying that down and pinning it to a vision board. Like Wurtzel, Hannah has not yet learned that it’s possible (maybe preferable) to have a full-time day job and do your writing at night. She has not yet considered the various living options that exist outside the New York metro area. She does not understand the difference between being uncompromising in your work and refusing to make compromises so that you can keep doing that work.



The question is, will she ever learn these things? If so, how and when? Moreover, how must Wurtzel’s saga sound to someone like Hannah? How must it feel to be trapped inside a self-imposed, culturally sanctioned extended adolescence, only to get the news that this limbo might be a permanent condition, that not even fame and best-selling books guarantee a graduation into respectable, adult life? What would she make of being told, in effect, that the things that most move her as ideas and ways of being in the world—“pathological honesty,” “loving with a pure heart,” and “writing about uncompromised life in New York City,” to cite a few of Wurtzel’s top priorities—are the least likely to move her past the futon phase?



It’s possible that Hannah would cast the article off as the wreckage of one very specific train. It’s also possible that she would use it as further evidence that old forms of media are not only dead but were never all that great in the first place, and that she should aim to showcase her generation-defining voice in ways other than in book form. And though I think this one’s a long shot, there’s some chance that Hannah would be scared so straight by the article that she’d embrace her inner commercialism and lose the poserish coolness that takes up so much of her energy. Dunham’s role model, after all, was the hard working, highly accessible, confessional-but-only-to-a-point, consummate grownup Nora Ephron. Maybe Hannah would stop buying cupcakes and instead invest in some icing tubes and begin making them at home—and then write a romantic comedy about a pastry chef who falls for a gluten-free diet guru.



Like many people, women especially, who look back on their struggling, striving twenties with a combination of nostalgia and mortification, I think about Hannah a lot. (I think less often about Dunham herself, whose extraordinary talent and considerable luck renders her much less relatable than her fictional iteration.) I lived in my version of Hannah’s apartment and had my version of her pals and all those weird, feckless boyfriends. I, too, was homing in on the very niche practice of personal-essay writing, though I was far too broke to be discriminating about the work I did for money, which ran the gamut from temporary secretarial work to, as the dotcom era rolled around, “producing content” for a Web site about maxipads. Most of all, though, I, too, was constantly caught between wanting desperately to be a real grownup and wanting desperately to live in a way that felt, for lack of a better phrase, true to myself. I wanted—I needed—to know that I was precisely where I was meant to be, doing precisely what I was meant to do. This meant choosing freelance over staff jobs and renting in clanky, overpriced pre-war buildings rather than cheaper high-rises. It meant wiling away months and years with inappropriate boyfriends instead of with men I could imagine marrying. This all made for great fun and great writing fodder, but the price I paid was that I did not acquire many of the trappings of bona-fide adulthood. In my fantasy, the inappropriate boyfriends would come over and eat off my good china. But of course, I was nowhere close to being the kind of person who had good china.



I had a number of reactions while reading Wurtzel’s essay—this is sad, this is beautiful, what is the purpose of this paragraph?—but mostly I wanted to call up Hannah (or text her, or ping her, or whatever it is she answers to) and tell her to pay it no mind while also paying close attention. Over the years, countless stories have been told about winding up broke and alone in the big city, each with its own details and points of tension—I wrote one of my own, for this magazine, in 1999. (No two people get to that real-estate crisis in precisely the same way.) Still, to hear enough of these stories—there was Vince Passaro’s “Who’ll Stop The Drain?” in Harper’s, in 1998; there was Benjamin Anastas’s memoir “Too Good to be True,” just last year, to name a few—is to hear the same themes emerging again and again, and they’re not without their lessons.



“This story has the best possible ending, because I am telling it,” Wurtzel writes in “One-Night Stand.” Sometime in the course of writing my story, I thought the same thing. But then it came out, and even though life was exciting for five minutes, the money I was paid for it went straight to Visa and ConEdison and Sallie Mae, and I didn’t feel any more enlightened or empowered than I had before. I saw then, as I have so many times since, that stories don’t end just because you tell them. They may become funnier or more colorful or more meaningful because you’ve told them. They may make it easier to wake up every morning and keep living that story. But they don’t change it or make it a happy one. Change, unfortunately, can only be accomplished off the page. Change means enduring some measure of sameness while you build a foundation from which you can launch yourself into your next adventure. A pure heart beats as steadily and as monotonously as a sell-out one.



And with that, my dear Hannah, I say get a job and get writing, in that order. If you’re patient, one day you’ll have a life.



Meghan Daum is an opinion columnist at The Los Angeles Times. Her most recent book is “Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House.”





Photograph: HBO

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Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/01/what-would-hannah-horvath-make-of-elizabeth-wurtzel.html#ixzz2IUZTMYrk