Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Book You Need, Right Now


James Howard Kunstler's Living in the Long Emergency

From my review at a popular site (though you really should get your copy, if at all feasible, from here):

Over the past fifteen years, Jim Kunstler has written a series of books dealing with cultural, political, economic, and ecological declines.  Here is the latest non-fiction installment, which addresses (1) how some of the previous predictions are turning out and why some of them haven't quite yet, (2) how some people are coping with this changing world where a normal job is increasingly the exception, and (3) what's happening now and what is likely in the near future.  Not surprisingly, these correspond to the three major sections of this book, followed by a personal update that would have fit well into the second section if it were not autobiographical.

It's good, very good.  Take it as food for thought, not prophecy.  Make up your own mind, but even where you may disagree with Kunstler's views on things, they are at least informative and thought provoking.  As with any current affairs type work, it may not be a great tome for the ages, but it does have relevance for the here and now.

Finally, I have to say that it's a strangely uplifting read, if only to see that I'm not the only one having difficulties these past few years.  Ever since right around getting run rump over kettle by Katrina in 2005, something has felt not quite right in the world.  Call it the Era of the Continuing Resolution, call it a Fourth Turning, call it Mid-East war fatigue, call it skepticism over QE #N; it all amounts to the same thing.  The wheels have not yet come off, but what's that shimmy, and what's that weird noise?  Like a blues record on a bad day, it is good to hear that other people are feeling these things too.

Well hurry up and get reading.  Between covid-19 stalking the land and the current political situation, this roadmap has hit the bookstores just in time.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Don't go doin' nothin' stoopid


From Camping to Dining Out: Risks of 14 Summer Activities at NPR.

I should probably come up with something witty to say here, but the subject's getting old.  Not as old as it will probably feel in a couple of months though.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

U.S. DoE pushes work on advanced nuclear reactors


Just a quick one for today: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/05/us-department-energy-rushes-build-advanced-new-nuclear-reactors

Badly needed, let's get on with the research.  Will they work as intended?  Probably.  Will they work if we don't try?  0% chance of working if we take that path.  So... let's get on with this.

That is all for today's good news.  Back to your regular concerns.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

How'd I miss this one?


A short sci-fi (I hope) about an AI controversy generator run amok: Sort by Controversial

I like to think that I'm up on these sorts of things, but evidently not, because it's been floating around for a year and a half.  Go on, read it, it's short.  It's also very relevant.

Monday, May 18, 2020

A Brief History of the Lockheed Skunk Works


... and how to apply the lessons learned to other fields, especially software development.

Video here, 53 minutes.

Lots of wisdom, cutting-edge horse sense, and general how-to/can-do.  Worth your time.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

The BBC Asks: The last 'normal' photo on your phone


The last 'normal' photo on your phone before coronavirus hit.

It is interesting that most of those pictures featured crowds of people, and that's what is judged to be 'normal.'  Looking back through my phone, mostly I take pictures of landscapes and landmarks, with occasional documentation photos: "this is how I set up this gear" during a camping trip, or "this is what the inside of that plumbing looks like" before a trip to the hardware store.  When there's a person at all in a picture, it's usually solo or of a very small group.

Anyway, looking back, this street scene from Mardi Gras would qualify as 'normal' by the BBC article's standards.  The next weekend was Ham Camp #21, and while there were plenty of people there, somehow all that got photographed were tents, radios, and a plastic crow.  Go figure.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

well file system check


Off to an early start this year.