Traffic in a developing country is astounding and terrifying in equal measure. I saw this first-hand in Cairo in 2008, when I took a cab ride from Giza to the downtown area. For the first ten minutes, as ramshackle Peugots whizzed within an inch of my ride, I was a white-knuckled mess, cringing as every vehicle scraped by at top speed.
But at minute 11, my body just gave up. I involuntarily relaxed and numbly took in the spectacle in front of me, because I had no choice. I wish my brain would do that right now.
Originally I had a half-formed blog post looking back at election night. I picked away at it and couldn’t quite wrap my head around this disastrous calamity, and frankly I’m still not entirely convinced it’s real (or at leas that’s my waking thought each morning before grim reality sets in). But I figured I had to write something.
It’s been a few weeks, but Trump’s incoming administration is already a contradictory shitshow. I’m starting to think this is the New Abnormal: pointless lurching from policy to policy with no rhyme or reason, and the only theme tying it all together is existential danger.
I’ve been digging around Current.com, partly to see if there’s any way I can make a buck or two for Freyburg Media, and partly because there’s some really good content on the site. Here’s a story about how Argentines have coped with their recession (something we’ll have to start doing soon)…
and here’s another report from Angola about China’s rising influence in the region.
Stewart Brand made a name for himself with the Whole Earth Catalog and the “back to the land” movement (though always with the caveat of networked communication and other high-tech innovation), but he’s now changed his opinions, and says that cities actually help the environment by reducing population (less kids born in cities than in the countryside) and letting subsistence-framed land go back to its natural state.
In a speech on Meet the Press worthy of Obama’s elecution, General Colin Powell explained that he feels Obama is not only a “transformational figure” but that Sarah Palin is not ready to be President of the United States (which is, after all, her job as VP) and that the Republican Party has swung too far to the right. Special mention should go to his addressing the insidious nature of calling Obama and Arab and Muslim. As Powell put it, it wouldn’t matter is he was, and if seeing Obama inspires some seven-year old Muslim American to someday become president, so much the better.
As fears of peak oil, resource wars and economic collapse dot the headlines, it’s a fair question whether aviation, which chews up an enormous amount of fuel and greenhouse gases, is still a viable form of transport. The New Republic has an interesting piece about how flying defines our economy, and how screwed we’ll be if aviation goes away.
Matt Taibbi (who usually writes for Rolling Stone) has posted a cynical, angry and heartfelt screed on Smirking Chimp about what Sarah Palin’s candidacy says about middle-class America’s love of image over substance and blind consumerism over thoughtful discourse. It’s certainly biased and bile-filled, but it’s also exceptionally well written and not without some truth.