Australian ethicist Clive Hamilton calls the book “chilling” in its technocratic confidence. But Keith and Hamilton do agree on one thing: solar geoengineering could be a major geopolitical issue in the 21st century, akin to nuclear weapons during the 20th—and the politics could, if anything, be even trickier and less predictable. The reason is that compared with acquiring nuclear weapons, the technology is relatively easy to deploy. “Almost any nation could afford to alter the Earth’s climate,” Keith writes. That fact, he says, “may accelerate the shifting balance of global power, raising security concerns that could, in the worst case, lead to war.”
The potential sources of conflict are myriad. Who will control Earth’s thermostat? What if one country blames geoengineering for famine-inducing droughts or devastating hurricanes? No treaties ban climate engineering explicitly. And it’s not clear how such a treaty would operate.
The issue of hukous, or residence permits, is the flip side of China’s urbanization dilemma. On one hand, there is the government’s itch to speed up the process, which can result in new cities that have residents but no jobs or stores. On the other hand, many rural residents who head to the cities of their own accord, in hopes of finding better-paying jobs, become second-class citizens. These migrants lack the residence permits (hukou in Chinese) that provide access to local schools and health care. In fact, as the Xinhua article pointed out, many of the Chinese currently counted as “city-dwellers” are not officially city residents because they lack hukous. Reuters estimated that, if these migrant workers are excluded, China’s urbanization rate may be as low as 35 percent.
The problem has received increasing attention in recent years, to the point that even Xinhua, China’s official state media outlet, has no problem calling the hukou system “a major barrier holding back the country’s urbanization process.” The CUWC called for concrete steps to reform the hukou system, but in a tiered approach. In coming years, China will “fully remove hukou restrictions in towns and small cities, gradually ease restrictions in mid-sized cities, setting reasonable conditions for settling in big cities while strictly controlling the population in megacities.” In other words, China will continue to emphasize the growth and development of “small cities” by removing hukou restrictions for these underdeveloped areas. But “megacities” like Beijing and Shanghai will likely continue to have strict limitations on hukous in a bid to fight overcrowding and rising housing costs.
for each new software designer hired in San Francisco to develop the most useless iPhone app, there are five new job openings for minimum wage in the service sector, who in turn become consumers of commodities that ultimately profit the investors that evade taxation by starting nonprofit, charity foundations that support startups that hire new software designers to develop the most useless iPhone app, …
John Eliot Gardiner - Beethoven - “Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt”
On one occasion the two men were walking in the park immediately behind the castle in the centre of Teplitz. Goethe suddenly noticed that the Empress was walking with her retinue on the other side of the park. He hurried over, insisting Beethoven come with him.
Goethe positioned himself in front of the Empress and as she passed executed a deep bow. Beethoven pushed his top hat firmly on the back of his head, crossed his arms and strode past the Empress, intentionally snubbing her. Goethe was appalled, and their friendship was irretrievably damaged.
Goethe’s social attitudes, like his musical tastes, were shaped in a more formal age. For Beethoven, 21 years his junior, the only true aristocrats were artists. In the mythology, his disillusionment was clinched by Goethe’s behaviour when they encountered royalty in the street, as reported 20 years later by Bettina: ‘Beethoven said to Goethe: keep walking as you have until now, holding my arm, they must make way for us, not the other way around. Goethe thought differently; he drew his hand, took off his hat and stepped aside, while Beethoven, hands in pockets, went right through the dukes and their cortege… They drew aside to make way for him, saluting him in friendly fashion. Waiting for Goethe who had let the dukes pass, Beethoven told him: “I have waited for you because I respect you and I admire your work, but you have shown too much esteem to those people.”’
Carl Rohling’s famous picture of 1887, ‘The Incident in Teplitz’, commemorates the occasion: composer haughty and bullish, poet suavely deferential, touching his heart with one hand as he swings his hat low to the ground. The incident in question may tally with Beethoven’s avowed disapproval of Goethe the courtier. But scholars agree that it almost certainly never took place. Bettina was a notorious embroiderer and fabricator, and there is no corroborative evidence.
Whatever his frustrations with aspects of Goethe the man – and his strictures have to be balanced with his reminiscences to Rochlitz a decade later – Beethoven never wavered in his admiration for Goethe the poet. Two years after the Teplitz sojourn he returned to Goethe’s verses with a choral-orchestral work that united two contrasting poems, ‘Meeresstille’ (Calm Sea) and ‘Glückliche Fahrt’ (Prosperous Voyage). The same year, 1814, Goethe realised his long-held plan of staging Egmont in Weimar with Beethoven’s incidental music. ‘Beethoven has done wonders matching music to text’, he wrote: unequivocal praise at last for a composer whose work he had more often found overblown and/or incomprehensible.
U.S. negotiators are pushing to reach agreement on a major trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a new deal with the European Union. But many unions, environmentalists and consumers are skeptical. Diane and her guests talk pros and cons over new trade agreements.
SILICON ALLEY IS EMPTY: Despite adopting the language of urbanism, the tech companies flocking to cities are increasingly isolating themselves from the urban experience by failing to create vibrant public spaces and lively streetscapes. Perhaps they should take some basic courses in urban studies…
I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval," said the judge, an appointee of President George W. Bush. "Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.
CNN: Judge says the NSA phone surveillance program is unconstitutional. (via tothepoint)