Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #633 - Studying Calculus - Exam #2

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #633 - Studying Calculus - Exam #2

Hi Mom,

Studying for a Calculus test that I have today at 1 p.m.

These pictures are from my study session yesterday.

Up top, that's music by Brian Eno on the monitor. I included the video below.

The other picture has James Blake music playing, just FYI.

I work on my Musical Mondays posts while I study.

I am not sure how well I will do on this exam.

But the good news is that I have improved a great deal in the last two years.

I passed the second mastery test last week on the first try. I conquered those limits and derivatives.

This week's test is worth more points and is over not just derivatives but applying that knowledge to real work problems: analyzing functions, optimization, related rates, and so on.

A good take away is that when I made my study guide I went back to the problems that scared me the most in my first run of Calculus, the one right after you died, when I took a hardship withdrawal. I came up against problems in that course by exam #3 that I could not even begin to fully understand let alone complete correctly. So I put those problems on my study guide practice exam, and guess what? They are actually pretty easy.

I would say "wish me luck," Mom, but I don't need to. You're right here with me. All the time.



Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 635 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1703.31 - 6:39

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #632 - Iron Fist #1 - 2017, a comic book review

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #632 - Iron Fist #1 - 2017, a comic book review

Hi Mom,

Hey, look, a comic book review that is actually current. This comic just came out last week, a week ago today, so I am on time to review it for me. Ahead of schedule for me, actually.

This is about as fast as I can produce such things.

This was planned for yesterday, but, heh, "planned" as in Planned Parenthood interceded.

Material will present itself.

Glad this done as I am studying all day for tomorrow's Calculus test.

Also, the new Iron Fist TV program has debuted on Netflix, but I no longer have the kind of lifestyle that allows me to jump right in and devote myself to binge watching the whole thing. For one thing, I have not finished watching Daredevil season two. For another, I had considered watching Luke Cage next, but I am more likely to jump ahead and watch Iron Fist because he's one of my favorite superheroes, Marvel or otherwise.

Some of my fan evidence for Iron Fist can be found here:


Also, there's this, my list of top 20 favorite "non-flagship" male Marvel super heroes. See Iron Fist is #8.

UPDATED 1703.31: It has been called to my attention that I missed Moonknight, which is obviously just an oversight. Here's the new and updated list. I even made a category for it!! I may now need to do the DC one, which would feature Mister Miracle pretty highly.

Yes, here it is, the list you have been waiting for. It was difficult to make this list. I had to confine myself to male Marvel heroes who either did not have their own books or who had/have solo books but are not considered the pillars of the Franchise (like Spider-Man and Captain America). Doctor Strange heads the list.
  1. Doctor Strange
  2. The Silver Surfer
  3. The Black Panther
  4. The Vision
  5. Adam Warlock
  6. The Black Knight
  7. Son of Satan
  8. Iron Fist
  9. Killraven
  10. Falcon
  11. Ka-Zar
  12. Deathlok
  14. Black Bolt
  15. Ghost Rider
  16. 3D Man
  17. Machine Man
  18. Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu
  19. Quasar
  20. Captain Marvel
Maybe it's time to share a trailer for the Iron Fist Netflix show again. This is one I had not seen or shared.

RE: SPOILERS: I don't have to explain that you read at your own risk, right?

So, on to reviewing...

IRON FIST #1 - 2017

ART BY Mike Perkins
Colors Andy Troy
Letters - VC's Travis Lanham
Cover by Jeff Dekal
Release Date - 1703.22

I was very excited for this issue's release because the advance art I saw looked very good, and I REALLY disliked the last Iron First iteration Marvel foisted on us (see review of the former comic below along with the Netflix news from 2014).

This comic did not disappoint. I am tempted to give it minor demerits for being a simple and brief story, but is that really a fault? The comic is very focused and clean in its elimination of extraneous details.

According to Comic Book Round Up, reviewers gave this issue high acclaim with an 8.0 rating out of 10, while users were slightly lower with 7.5.


Here's a few I liked:





Most of the reviews are very positive, but David Pepose gives it a 3.0 out of 10 because he doesn't like the story.


He doesn't like that Danny Rand is "mopey" and "depressed," which is the whole main theme of this story arc because he's trying to find himself again after the destruction of K'un L'un means that he cannot access Iron Fist power. Also, Pepose likens the opening sequences to Fight Club. Here's a news flash, Pepose: Not all arena fighting secret clubs are the same as Fight Club. In fact, almost all of them are not, which you would know if you had actually seen Fight Club, which given this flawed allusion I am wondering if you have.



The art fits with the realistic spy type comics that have lately been popular, such Image's Velvet.

When the story opens, Danny is seen entering an industrial warehouse in Bulgaria.

Immediately, this is a good sign. We're off the beaten track. Bulgaria is hardly well known to most comic book readers. Though this is not quite the movie Fight Club set here in the comic, one can say that this is a private club in which people wager on the outcome of fights.

Danny enters, finds the big boss, and offers a million dollars to get in a fight. When asked which of the Balkan toughs he wants to fight.

"All of them," Danny says, taking off his hoodie. Cut to credits page as Danny is shown beating up all the thugs amongst the titles and credits, story name "The Trail of the Seven Masters, part one."

So, maybe there's at least seven issues in this arc, eh?

Danny confesses he was looking for something, but he didn't find it in this nest of killers in Bulgaria.

Next, he is seen on a plane flying to Cambodia, and in the airplane bathroom we are treated to Danny's state of mind. He used to be the Iron Fist. Now, he's not so sure.

He wins the fight in Cambodia, too. But he still cannot find what he's looking for: "I feel false. Like I'm going through the motions. Like I'm someone else and I can't find a way back to who I was."

In a hotel room somewhere, Danny continues his introspection. And we see that he cannot summon the Iron Fist because his "tether to the chi of Shou-Lao the undying has been fading, slipping away..."

Are we still in Cambodia? Presumably as text is translated from Vietnamese. Danny goes to a bar to drown his sorrows in whisky. Here, he is accosted by a man, who knows Kung Fu. They start fighting. This man uses "Tsunami Death Strike."

Here's what Kung Fu fans have been waiting for! A well drawn book with some good pathos and some actual Kung Fu Moves. The next sequence shows a grid that isolates these manuevers: Upward Canon Punch, Side Shatter Kick, Bird Beak Strike, Tiger Tail Sweep, Upward Lightning Strike.

It's an excellent sequence. It perfectly shows what this book will deliver: KUNG FU. This is something that has sorely been lacking from many of the recent Iron Fist iterations, even the good ones.

The man, Chosin, halts the battle, confessing that Danny would beat him if they continued. He reveals that he was sent to bring Danny to Liu-Shi for a Kung Fu tournament.

Next we see two beautiful end shots: an old style Asian sailing boat and the rocky island of Liu-Shi.

Brisson's writing is deft and controlled. Not too much text. Just the right angst and pathos. Almost no exposition. Tight POV (just Danny).

Mike Perkins art reminds us the very best of Steve Epting's Velvet. It's dark when it needs to be dark, but there's also plenty of light (as the orange sunset drenched ocean at the end proves), but he evokes his own style as well. He's not swiping. He's working "in the style of" these realistic comics. Gritty yet beautifully rendered. Colors are also gorgeous. The whole package is well worth the cover price, which is not always true in this modern age of comics.

I am excited for the other issues!!

I give it a 10/10.

Here's my review of the last Iron Fist comic. I liked the first issue cover. But the rest rather sucked.

from - http://sensedoubt.blogspot.com/2014/05/weekly-comics-for-140409.html

Weekly Comics for 1404.09

Apparently, I am unable to finish my weekly comics lists posts during the week after I buy the comics. Here it is a week later,
..... uh, how about nearly three weeks later now as I write this text. If I do not get this written today, it WILL BE three weeks later. Yikes....
and I am just now finishing the comics for the ninth of April and have already bought and began the post for the comics from April 16th.... um, and the 23rd, and tomorrow is the 30th. Yikes...

I just posted last week's comic list yesterday on Thursday 1404.10.

I am endeavoring to be more on time since I am feeling better and taxes are done, which are the things that delayed me before. BUT that was not to be the case. I did not get caught up as the previous text indicates. I was in a tough programming course, plus work for my job, plus family stuff, plus.... there's so much. It's difficult to summarize. But I am back on track (I hope) with thoughts on the comics for the week of April 9th.

An exciting set of comics debuted this week with some tough choices. For fans of my T-shirt blog, I am big fan of Marvel's Iron Fist character who ranked 8th on my favorite Marvel non-Franchise superhero list as seen originally in T-shirt #119 but reprinted here in T-shirt #322: Curious George. My Iron Fist T-shirt won a spot early in my blog year at T-shirt #27.

After learning of the new comic and the upcoming Netflix TV show, I have been mulling the idea of re-visiting and expanding my original Iron Fist entry on the T-shirt blog, though this would require going back in time, adding news not released yet to a former entry, which seems kind of wrong. Also, I have additional Iron Fist ideas, which I would like to include.

Whether I will write new Iron Fist material here or in the T-shirts blog I have yet to decide.

Given how much I love the Iron Fist, the new Iron Fist - The Living Weapon would have been in the number one spot this week except the interior art is not quite as good as Romita Jr. or Greg Land and both of those comics have a strong stories and cliff hangers.

The cover is SUPER IMPRESSIVE as seen here. But it took third place because of the excellence of both Kick Ass and Mighty Avengers.

Those interested may wish to explore the following links. I apologize in advance for the intrusive ads. But there's some thoughtful consideration of the planned TV shows with Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, all of which culminate in a Defenders mini-series.



RE: SPOILERS: I don't have to explain that you read at your own risk, right?




Iron Fist - The Living Weapon #001

As I mentioned earlier in this blog entry, I am a huge Iron Fist fan. I am careful about how often I say that I am a "huge fan." Ranking Iron Fist eighth on a list of Marvel's non-Franchise heroes constitutes enough "hugeness" for me to apply the term "huge" to my fandom.

As I wrote about in my post for T-shirt #27 over on my T-shirt blog, I very much loved the series called The Immortal Iron Fistcreated by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Travis Foreman, and David Aja in 2006-2009. And since I am a fan of previous incarnations of the Iron Fist, primarily the Chris Claremont and John Byrne stuff of the late 1970s, I received news of a new Iron Fist book with a mix of trepidation, dread, and excitement. Surely, Marvel is setting up its properties for the debut of the Netflix shows, which may start with either the Iron Fist or Daredevil programs.

I was not completely disappointed. I have my criticisms of the book, but in general, I liked it. I will not claim that I am in awe of the art on this book. It's not my favourite, but it is very good. But the overall effect of the book is quite excellent, and I am eager for the next issue, which may be released soon as I am three weeks late with this posting.

The cover is impressive. The story starts with a well-worn trope of Daniel Rand (aka The Iron Fist) being interviewed by an unseen interviewer, in this case a journalist, and he retells his origin story as a choice between "life and death." The art here transitions to the multi-dot look of the old four color process of the comics of the 1970s (and before) in which Iron Fist first debuted. The origin moves through the sacrifice of Rand's father in the avalanche in the Himalayas. The story then reverts to the present and we see the young journalist who has fallen for our hero during the interview, and later he takes her home and beds her. Meanwhile, the narration delivers Rand's inner thoughts: he "can't feel the heat" and he's "one cold, dead thing imitating another."

Unable to sleep, Rand returns to his memories and thinks through the rest of his origin for the reader's benefit.

As you can see here, the Kaare Kyle Andrews art is not my preference if my preferences are Greg Land and John Romita Jr. as noted above. The work is more expressionistic than suits my tastes, bordering on the territory of the previously disparaged Simon Bianchi or Leinil Francis Yu, neither of whom are my taste. As a writer/artist, Kaare Kyle Andrews would not make the top of my list with such excellent candidates as Frank Miller, Matt Wagner, Walt Simonson, and George Pérez, but this first issue of the new Iron Fist is serviceable and enjoyable. Best known for his work on Astonishing X-Men  for Marvel with writer Warren Ellis, Andrews has many short term credits and not a lot of extensive experience. Many of the art effects he created work well enough, such as a silhouette sequence on page 11 (not pictured). But the overall effect of skewed figured not anatomically accurate and heavily inked, heavily colored pastiche grows a bit tiresome after a while.

Rand battles ninja, which is hardly surprising for a first issue. But then things spiral out of control too quickly.
Rand Tower is destroyed, and then some undead ninja comes for the girl, presumably the journalist he slept with, and his Iron Fist power doe snot manifest when he needs it. Though he manages to defeat the "zombie robot that almost cut [the girl] into sushi," but then there's a small man delivering Rand a message to "get back to K'un Lun," the secret city in the Himalyas: "HOME."

As I wrote, not blown away, But I am invested enough to read the next issue.



Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 634 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1703.30 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #631 - #PinkOut - We Stand with Planned Parenthood; We Fight Back

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #631 - #PinkOut - We Stand with Planned Parenthood; We Fight Back

Hi Mom,

You might think I write too much about comic books. It is one of my main subjects. I had a comic book review planned for today. Hey, in fact, it's already completely written and ready to post. This is a rare work ahead win for me. But it will still be fully written tomorrow. And as I was just saying the other day: material presents itself.

And tomorrow will not be National Pink Out Day.

But today is National Pink Out Day.

So today's post must be for #PinkOut.

We live near the Kalamazoo Planned Parenthood, so I am treated all the time to "anti-choice" people (I will not call them "Pro-Life" because being for choice does not make me "Anti-Life") pacing up and down in front of the building with their rosaries and signs and videos and leaflets.

I know someone (I won't say who but I know her well) who likes to honk as she drives by and flip them off.

I just donated $35 dollars to Planned Parenthood action.

Some good re-posts here.

I stand with Planned Parenthood. I always have.



What Is The Pink Out Day Hashtag? Planned Parenthood's Big Event Has A Lot Of Social Media Steam

I'm sure it's been like any other day on social media — aimlessly scrolling, catching up on the latest with your friends, family, as well as your favorite businesses and media organizations. Until you come across some post with the hashtag #PinkOut, which of course, is a curious tag, one that you may be wondering the meaning of. Well, you're in the right place: #PinkOut is for Pink Out Day on Mar. 29, organized by Planned Parenthood.
Curious? I'm sure if you circle around the web you'll find that a ton of websites and social accounts are going pink on Wed., Mar. 29. Why? Because it means there is support behind Planned Parenthood, and resistance towards government "defunding" this iconic women's health center. Pink Out Day is supposed to be a visual representation of the 75 percent of Americans that support Planned Parenthood. If the entire Internet can turn pink in support of their health services, than it could send a message to Congress of how much Planned Parenthood is needed for patients throughout the country.
Now Pink Out Day doesn't just have to stay on the internet. Supporters of Planned Parenthood are encouraged to wear pink on Mar. 29, and to share selfies of themselves in their pink ensembles on all forms of social media. Using the #PinkOut hashtag is even better.
Are you one of the 75 percent ready to back them up? Well help in their efforts to #PinkOut the web with these few steps. First, you can share their message through Thunderclap and see the millions of other people doing the same during Pink Out Day. Next, add some pink to your profile picture on your social platforms. Third, use the hashtags #PinkOut and spread the word by saying #IStandWithPP. And lastly, sign the pledge to and let Congress know that you stand with the 75 percent.



Planned Parenthood supporters rally for women's access to reproductive health care at Los Angeles City Hall on Sept. 9, 2015. (Nick Ut / AP)


Note to Republicans: Drop the crusade against Planned Parenthood

by The Times Editorial Board
March 28, 2017 4:00 a.m.

Millions of Americans who rely on the Affordable Care Act for their insurance coverage dodged a bullet last week when Republican infighting killed a bill by the House GOP leadership to repeal and replace the healthcare law. So, thankfully, did Planned Parenthood. Embedded in the bill was a provision to bar federal funding temporarily for this well-regarded and crucial healthcare provider, which the GOP has tried, obsessively, to dismantle for years.
If only that were the end of it. Sadly, congressional Republicans may take another go at defunding Planned Parenthood in the omnibus spending bill (formally known as a “continuing resolution”) that must pass by April 28 to keep the government running.

So let’s remind legislators, again, how short-sighted and harmful it would be to single out Planned Parenthood, not in an effort to improve healthcare, but in an attempt to punish it for also providing legal and safe abortions — none of which are financed with federal dollars. (Congress routinely prohibits federal dollars from being spent on abortions.) And abortions comprise a tiny fraction of the services the organization’s clinics perform; Planned Parenthood estimates that abortions represent only 3% of the care provided by the organization.
About 2.5 million people — women and men — are seen annually at Planned Parenthood clinics. They come for breast examinations and cervical cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and infections, contraception and family planning, urinary tract infection treatments and other primary care services. Many of the clinics’ patients are lower-income, and almost all of the federal funding that Planned Parenthood receives is through health programs aimed at low-income Americans: Medicaid and Title X Family Planning grants.

Planned Parenthood clinics in California get nearly 1.5 million patient visits each year. To help pay for those services, the organization’s California branch received about $260 million in Medicaid reimbursements in the fiscal year ending in June 2016. Nationwide, the organization got about half a billion dollars in federal funding in the year ending in June 2015, the vast majority of it from Medicaid as reimbursements for services its clinics provided.

A February letter to lawmakers signed by nearly two dozen national associations of healthcare professionals and public health groups emphasized how essential Planned Parenthood clinics are to the network of healthcare providers in the country: “More than 50% of Planned Parenthood health centers are in areas with health professional shortages, rural or medically underserved areas,” the letter states. “Policies that would exclude Planned Parenthood from public health funding would hurt millions of patients and undermine health care access in communities across the country.”
Nor is the public crying out for Congress to freeze out Planned Parenthood. In fact, recent polls suggest that most voters support the organization and want its funding to continue. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted this month showed that 61% of registered voters opposed cutting federal aid for Planned Parenthood. (The number went up to 80% when it was explained that federal funding for the provider cannot be used for abortions.) According to Planned Parenthood officials, supporters made more than 122,000 phone calls to members of Congress over the last several months and organized more than 1,000 events across the country to demonstrate their support.
Finally, the effort to penalize Planned Parenthood through the continuing resolution seems sure to trigger another dysfunctional Washington meltdown that could hurt Republicans politically. Senate Democrats won’t abide a move to defund Planned Parenthood any more than they did the House GOP’s efforts to “defund Obamacare” in 2013. If the House GOP insists on including Planned Parenthood in the resolution, the near-certain result is another standoff that shuts down non-essential government services, to the detriment of the party that picks the fight. That’s you, Republicans.

The test for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is whether he can lead strong-willed members away from this trap, or if he’ll be led by them straight into it. One might say it’s a test for President Trump as well, but it’s hard to tell where he is on the issue. Over the weekend he blasted the intransigent Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus for having “saved” Planned Parenthood and Obamacare by withholding support from the leadership’s repeal-and-replace bill. But on Monday his spokesman wouldn’t say whether Trump wanted to take another crack at Planned Parenthood in the continuing resolution.

If he’s as savvy as he claims to be, he’d recognize a doomed mission when he sees it. Republicans should do the right thing and stop their crusade against Planned Parenthood. In the end, there is no political, economic, or public health gain to continuing it.

Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 633 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1703.29 - 10:10 (my time)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #630 - GO GREEN! Viridian Design

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #630 - Viridian Design

Hey Mom,

Bruce Sterling
I love Bruce Sterling.

He's a go to persona and thinker that I have tried to follow to the best of my ability for years.

Right now, I am reading old columns -- old as in from 2000 -- by Warren Ellis from the Comic Book Resources web site collected in one volume called Come In Alone, and so I am very late to the party for things Warren suggested that readers look at. The year 2000 was before I jumped on the Warren Ellis band wagon.

But I already knew Bruce Sterling and had read some of his books, but I missed this manifesto for Viridian Design.

Central to his message:

The task at hand is therefore basically an act of social engineering. Society must become Green, and it must be a variety of Green that society will eagerly consume. What is required is not a natural Green, or a spiritual Green, or a primitivist Green, or a blood-and-soil romantic Green.

Go green, he wrote.

What's interesting as you read this manifesto is how much work still needs to be done, how little progress has been made on these issues in 17 years.

from - http://www.viridiandesign.org/manifesto.html

The Manifesto of January 3, 2000by Bruce Sterling

The rapidly approaching millennium offers a unique cultural opportunity. After many years of cut-and-paste, appropriation, detournement and neo-retro ahistoricality, postmodernity is about to end. Immediately after the end of the fin de siecle, there will be a sudden and intense demand for genuine novelty.

Any new year offers a chance for sweeping resolutions and brave efforts at self-reform. But the end of a millennium offers a rare and vital opportunity to bury all that is dead within us and issue proclamations of particular scope and ambition.
I suspect that a group that can offer a coherent, thoughtful and novel cultural manifesto on the target date of January 3, 2000 has a profound opportunity to affect the zeitgeist. (On January 1, everyone will be too hung over to read manifestos; on January 2, nobody's computers will work. So naturally the target date must be January 3.) In this preliminary document, I would like to offer a few thoughts on the possible contents of such a manifesto.

The central issue as the new millennium dawns is technocultural. There are of course other, more traditional, better-developed issues for humankind. Cranky fundamentalism festers here and there; the left is out of ideas while the right is delusional; income disparities have become absurdly huge; these things are obvious to all. However, the human race has repeatedly proven that we can prosper cheerfully with ludicrous, corrupt and demeaning forms of religion, politics and commerce. By stark contrast, no civilization can survive the physical destruction of its resource base. It is very clear that the material infrastructure of the twentieth century is not sustainable. This is the issue at hand.

We have a worldwide environmental problem. This is a truism. But the unprecedentedly severe and peculiar weather of the late 1990s makes it clear that this problem is growing acute. Global warming has been a lively part of scientific discussion since at least the 1960s, but global warming is a quotidian reality now. Climate change is shrouding the globe in clouds of burning rain forest and knocking points off the GNP of China. Everyone can offer a weird weather anecdote now; for instance, I spent a week this summer watching the sky turn gray with fumes from the blazing forests of Chiapas. The situation has been visibly worsening, and will get worse yet, possibly very much worse.
Society has simply been unable to summon the political or economic will to deal successfully with this problem by using 20th century methods. That is because CO2 emission is not centrally a political or economic problem. It is a design and engineering problem. It is a cultural problem and a problem of artistic sensibility.

New and radical approaches are in order. These approaches should be originated, gathered, martialled into an across-the-board cultural program, and publicly declared -- on January 3rd.

Global warming is a profound opportunity for the 21st century culture industry. National governments lack the power and the will to impose dirigiste solutions to the emission of carbon dioxide. Dirigiste solutions would probably not work anyway. It is unlikely that many of us could tolerate living in a carbon-dioxide Ration State. It would mean that almost every conceivable human activity would have to be licensed by energy commissars.

Industry will not reform its energy base. On the contrary, when it comes to CO2 legislation, industry will form pressure groups and throw as much sand as possible into the fragile political wheels. Industry will use obscurantist tactics that will mimic those of American right-wing anti-evolution forces -- we will be told that Global Warming is merely a "theory," even when our homes are on fire. Industry is too stupid to see planetary survival as a profit opportunity. But industry is more than clever enough to sabotage government regulation, especially when globalized industry can play one government off against the next.

The stark fact that our atmosphere is visibly declining is of no apparent economic interest except to insurance firms, who will simply make up their lack by gouging ratepayers and exporting externalized costs onto the general population.

With business hopeless and government stymied, we are basically left with cultural activism. The tools at hand are art, design, engineering, and basic science: human artifice, cultural and technical innovation. Granted, these may not seem particularly likely sources of a serious and successful effort to save the world. This is largely because, during the twentieth century, government and industry swelled to such tremendous high-modernist proportions that these other enterprises exist mostly in shrunken subcultural niches.

However, this doesn't have to be the case. With government crippled and industry brain-dead to any conceivable moral appeal, the future of decentered, autonomous cultural networks looks very bright. There has never been an opportunity to spread new ideas and new techniques with the alacrity that they can spread now. Human energy must turn in some direction. People will run from frustration and toward any apparent source of daylight. As the planet's levees continue to break, people will run much faster and with considerably more conviction.

Our cultural substance-abuse problem with CO2 may have very severe consequences to human happiness, but the immediate physical problem is rather well understood. Clever people, united and motivated, should be able to deal with this. Carbon dioxide is not a time-honored philosophical dilemma or some irreducible flaw in the human condition. Serious fossil-fuel consumption, as a practice on the grand scale, is only about 200 years old. The most severe rise in carbon emission occurred during the past fifty years. We're painfully dependent on this practice, but it's not as if we've married it.

It's a question of tactics. Civil society does not respond at all well to moralistic scolding. There are small minority groups here and there who are perfectly aware that it is immoral to harm the lives of coming generations by massive consumption now: deep Greens, Amish, people practicing voluntary simplicity, Gandhian ashrams and so forth. These public-spirited voluntarists are not the problem. But they're not the solution either, because most human beings won't volunteer to live like they do. Nor can people be forced to live that way through legal prescription, because those in command of society's energy resources will immediately game and neutralize any system of legal regulation.

However, contemporary civil society can be led anywhere that looks attractive, glamorous and seductive.

The task at hand is therefore basically an act of social engineering. Society must become Green, and it must be a variety of Green that society will eagerly consume. What is required is not a natural Green, or a spiritual Green, or a primitivist Green, or a blood-and-soil romantic Green.

These flavors of Green have been tried, and have proven to have insufficient appeal. We can regret this failure if we like. If the semi-forgotten Energy Crisis of the 1970s had provoked a wiser and more energetic response, we would not now be facing a weather crisis. But the past's well-meaning attempts were insufficient, and are now part of the legacy of a dying century.

The world needs a new, unnatural, seductive, mediated, glamorous Green. A Viridian Green, if you will.

The best chance for progress is to convince the twenty-first century that the twentieth century's industrial base was crass, gauche, and filthy. This approach will work because it is based in the truth. The twentieth century lived in filth. It was much like the eighteenth century before the advent of germ theory, stricken by septic cankers whose origins were shrouded in superstition and miasma. The truth about our physical existence must be shown to people. It must be demonstrated repeatedly and everywhere.

People with networks, websites and sophisticated sensors should not find this task very difficult.

The current industrial base is outmoded, crass and nasty, but this is not yet entirely obvious. Scolding it and brandishing the stick is just part of the approach. Proving it requires the construction of an alternative twenty-first century industrial base which seems elegant, beautiful and refined. This effort should not be portrayed as appropriate, frugal, and sensible, even if it is. It must be perceived as glamorous and visionary. It will be very good if this new industrial base actually functions, but it will work best if it is spectacularly novel and beautiful. If it is accepted, it can be made to work; if it is not accepted, it will never have a chance to work.

The central target for this social engineering effort must be the people who are responsible for emitting the most CO2. The people we must strive to affect are the ultrarich. The rentiers, the virtual class, the captains of industry; and, to a lesser extent, the dwindling middle classes. The poor will continue to suffer. There is clearly no pressing reason for most human beings to live as badly and as squalidly as they do. But the poor do not emit much carbon dioxide, so our efforts on their behalf can only be tangential.

Unlike the modernist art movements of the twentieth century, a Viridian culture-industry movement cannot be concerned with challenging people's aesthetic preconceptions. We do not have the 19th-century luxury of shocking the bourgeoisie. That activity, enjoyable and time-honored though it is, will not get that poison out of our air. We are attempting to survive by causing the wealthy and the bourgeoisie to willingly live in a new way.

We cannot make them do it, but if we focussed our efforts, we would have every prospect of luring them into it.

What is culturally required at the dawn of the new millennium is a genuine avant-garde, in the sense of a cultural elite with an advanced sensibility not yet shared by most people, who are creating a new awareness requiring a new mode of life. The task of this avant-garde is to design a stable and sustainable physical economy in which the wealthy and powerful will prefer to live. Mao suits for the masses are not on the Viridian agenda. Couture is on the agenda. We need a form of Green high fashion so appallingly seductive and glamorous that it can literally save people's lives. We have to gratify people's desires much better than the current system does. We have to reveal to people the many desires they have that the current system is not fulfilling. Rather than marshalling themselves for inhuman effort and grim sacrifice, people have to sink into our twenty-first century with a sigh of profound relief.

Allow me to speak hypothetically now, as if this avant-garde actually existed, although, as we all know, it cannot possibly come into being until January 3, 2000. Let's discuss our tactics. I have a few cogent suggestions to offer.

We can increase our chances of success by rapidly developing and expanding the postmodern culture industry. Genuine "Culture" has "art" and "thought," while the Culture Industry merely peddles images and information.

I know this. I am fully aware of the many troubling drawbacks of this situation, but on mature consideration, I think that the Culture Industry has many profound advantages over the twentieth century's physically poisonous smokestack industries. Also, as digital technologists, thinkers, writers, designers, cultural critics, und so weiter, we Viridians suspect that the rise of the Culture Industry is bound to increase our own immediate power and influence vis-a-vis, say, coal mining executives. This may not be an entirely good thing. However, we believe we will do the world less immediate damage than they are doing.

We therefore loudly demand that the Culture Industry be favored as a suitably twenty-first century industrial enterprise. Luckily the trend is already very much with us here, but we must go further; we believe in Fordism in the Culture Industry. This means, by necessity, leisure. Large amounts of leisure are required to appreciate and consume cultural-industrial products such as movies, software, semi-functional streaming media and so on. Time spent at more traditional forms of work unfairly lures away the consumers of the Culture Industry, and therefore poses a menace to our postindustrial economic underpinnings.

"Work" requires that people's attention to be devoted to other, older, less attractive industries. "Leisure" means they are paying attention and money to us.


We therefore demand much more leisure for everyone. Leisure for the unemployed, while copious, is not the kind of "leisure" that increases our profits. We specifically demand intensive leisure for well-educated, well-heeled people. These are the people who are best able to appreciate and consume truly capital-intensive cultural products.

We Viridians suspect that it would require very little effort to make people work much less. Entirely too much effort is being spent working. We very much doubt that there is anything being done in metal-bending industry today that can justify wrecking the atmosphere. We need to burn the planetary candle at one end only (and, in daylight, not at all).

As much time as possible should be spent consuming immaterial products. A global population where the vast majority spend their time sitting still and staring into screens is a splendid society for our purposes. Their screens should be beautifully designed and their surroundings energy-efficient. The planet will benefit for everyone who clicks a mouse instead of shovelling coal or taking an axe and a plow to a rain forest.

The tourist industry is now the number one industry on the planet. Tourists consume large amounts of pre-packaged culture. We believe tourism to be a profoundly healthy development. We feel we must strongly resist the retrograde and unprofitable urge to make migrants and migration illegal.

Given the unstable condition of the environment, this practice may soon become tantamount to genocide. It is also palpably absurd to live in a society where capital can move faster and more easily than human beings. Capital exists for the sake and convenience of human beings.

We believe that the movement of human beings across national boundaries and under the aegis of foreign governments is basically a design problem. If guest workers, refugees, pleasure travellers and so forth were all electronically tracked via satellite or cell repeaters, the artificial division between jet setters and refugees would soon cease to exist. Foreigners are feared not merely because they are foreign, but because they are unknown, unidentified, and apparently out of local social control.


In the next century, foreigners need be none of these things. Along with their ubiquitous credit cards and passports, they could carry their entire personal histories. They could carry devices establishing proof of their personal bona fides that would be immediately obvious to anyone in any language. A better designed society would accommodate this kind of human solidarity, rather than pandering to the imagined security needs of land-based national regimes.

We believe that it should be a general new design principle to add information to a problem, as opposed to countering it with physical resources (in the case of migrants, steel bars and barbed wire). Electronic tracking seems a promising example. While the threat to privacy and anonymity from electronic parole is obviously severe, there is nothing quite so dreadful and threatening as a septic refugee camp. We consider this a matter of some urgency. We believe it to be very likely that massive evacuations will occur in the next few decades as a matter of course, not merely in the disadvantaged Third World, but possibly in areas such as a new American Dust Bowl. Wise investments in electronic tourist management would be well repaid in stitching the fraying fabric of a weather-disrupted civilization.

For instance, we would expect to see one of the first acts of 21st century disaster management to be sowing an area with air-dropped and satellite-tracked cellphones. We believe that such a tracking and display system could be designed so that it would not be perceived as a threat, but rather as a jet-setter's prestige item, something like a portable personal webpage. We believe such devices should be designed first for the rich. The poor need them worse, but if these devices were developed and given to the poor by socialist fiat, this would be (probably correctly) suspected as being the first step toward police roundup and a death camp.


Replacing natural resources with information is a natural area for twenty-first century design, because it is an arena for human ingenuity that was technically closed to all previous centuries. We see considerable promise in this approach. It can be both cheap and glamorous.

Energy meters, for instance, should be ubiquitous. They should be present, not in an obscure box outside the home, but enshrined within it. This is not a frugal, money-saving effort. It should be presented as a luxury. It should be a mark of class distinction. It should be considered a mark of stellar ignorance to be unaware of the source of one's electric power. Solar and wind power should be sold as premiums available to particularly affluent and savvy consumers. It should be considered the stigma of the crass proletarian to foul the air every time one turns on a light switch.

Environmental awareness is currently an annoying burden to the consumer, who must spend his and her time gazing at plastic recycling labels, washing the garbage and so on. Better information environments can make the invisible visible, however, and this can lead to a swift re-evaluation of previously invisible public ills.

If one had, for instance, a pair of computerized designer sunglasses that revealed the unspeakable swirl of airborne combustion products over the typical autobahn, it would be immediately obvious that clean air is a luxury. Infrasound, ultrasound and sound pollution monitors would make silence a luxury. Monitor taps with intelligent water analysis in real-time would make pure water a luxury. Lack of mutagens in one's home would become a luxury.

Freedom from interruption and time to think is a luxury; personal attention is luxury; genuine neighborhood security is also very much to be valued. Social attitudes can and should be changed by the addition of cogent information to situations where invisible costs have long been silently exported into the environment. Make the invisible visible. Don't sell warnings. Sell awareness.

The fact that we are living in an unprecedently old society, a society top-heavy with the aged, offers great opportunity. Long-term thinking is a useful and worthwhile effort well suited to the proclivities of old people.

Clearly if our efforts do not work for old people (a large and growing fraction of the G-7 populace) then they will not work at all. Old people tend to be generous, they sometimes have time on their hands. Electronically connected, garrulous oldsters might have a great deal to offer in the way of managing the copious unpaid scutwork of electronic civil society. We like the idea of being a radical art movement that specializes in recruiting the old.

Ignoring long-term consequences is something we all tend to do; but promulgating dangerous falsehoods for short-term economic gain is exceedingly wicked and stupid. If environmental catastrophe strikes because of CO2 emissions, then organizations like the anti-Green Global Climate Coalition will be guilty of negligent genocide. Nobody has ever been guilty of this novel crime before, but if it happens, it will certainly be a crime of very great magnitude. At this moment, the GCC and their political and economic allies are, at best, engaged in a risky gamble with the lives of billions. If the climate spins out of control, the 21st century may become a very evil place indeed.

The consequences should be faced directly. If several million people starve to death because, for instance, repeated El Nino events have disrupted major global harvests for years on end, then there will be a catastrophe. There will be enormous political and military pressures for justice and an accounting.

We surmise that the best solution in this scenario would be something like the Czech lustration and the South African truth commissions. The groundwork for this process should begin now. The alternatives are not promising: a Beirut scenario of endless ulcerous and semi-contained social breakdown; a Yugoslav scenario of climate-based ethnic cleansing and lebensraum; a Red Terror where violent panic-stricken masses seek bloody vengeance against industrialism. Most likely of all is a White Terror, where angry chaos in the climatically disrupted Third World is ruthlessly put down by remote control by the G7's cybernetic military. It is very likely under this last scenario that the West's gluttonous consumption habits will be studiously overlooked, and the blame laid entirely on the Third World's exploding populations. (The weather's savage vagaries will presumably be blamed on some handy Lysenkoist scapegoat such as Jews or unnatural homosexual activities.)

With the Czech lustration and the South African truth commissions, the late 20th century has given us a mechanism by which societies that have drifted into dysfunctional madness can be put right. We expect no less for future malefactors whose sly defense of an indefensible status quo may lead to the deaths of millions of people, who derived little benefit from their actions and were never given any voice in their decisions. We recommend that dossiers be compiled now, for the sake of future international courts of justice. We think this work should be done quite openly, in a spirit of civic duty. Those who are risking the lives of others should be made aware that this is one particular risk that will be focussed specifically and personally on them.


While it is politically helpful to have a polarized and personalized enemy class, there is nothing particularly new about this political tactic. Revanchist sentiment is all very well, but survival will require a much larger vision. This must become the work of many people in many fields of labor, ignoring traditional boundaries of discipline and ideology to unite in a single practical goal: climate.

A brief sketch may help establish some parameters.

Here I conclude with a set of general cultural changes that a Viridian movement would likely promulgate in specific sectors of society. For the sake of brevity, these suggestions come in three parts. (Today) is the situation as it exists now. (What We Want) is the situation as we would like to see it. (The Trend) the way the situation will probably develop if it follows contemporary trends without any intelligent intervention.

The Media

Today. Publishing and broadcasting cartels surrounded by a haze of poorly financed subcultural microchannels.

What We Want. More bandwidth for civil society, multicultural variety, and better-designed systems of popular many-to-many communication, in multiple languages through multiple channels.

The Trend. A spy-heavy, commercial Internet. A Yankee entertainment complex that entirely obliterates many non-Anglophone cultures.

The Military

Today. G-7 Hegemony backed by the American military.

What We Want. A wider and deeper majority hegemony with a military that can deter adventurism, but specializes in meeting the immediate crises through civil engineering, public health and disaster relief.

The Trend. Nuclear and biological proliferation among minor powers.


Today. Currency traders rule banking system by fiat; extreme instability in markets; capital flight but no labor mobility; unsustainable energy base

What We Want. Nonmaterial industries; vastly increased leisure; vastly increased labor mobility; sustainable energy and resources

The Trend. commodity totalitarianism, crony capitalism, criminalized banking systems, sweatshops

Industrial Design

Today. very rapid model obsolescence, intense effort in packaging; CAD/CAM

What We Want: intensely glamourous environmentally sound products; entirely new objects of entirely new materials; replacing material substance with information; a new relationship between the cybernetic and the material

The Trend: two design worlds for rich and poor comsumers; a varnish on barbarism

Gender Issues

Today: more commercial work required of women; social problems exported into family life as invisible costs

What We Want: declining birth rates, declining birth defects, less work for anyone, lavish support for anyone willing to drop out of industry and consume less

The Trend: more women in prison; fundamentalist and ethnic-separatist ideologies that target women specifically.


Today: large-scale American special-effects spectacle supported by huge casts and multi-million-dollar tie-in enterprises

What We Want: glamour and drama; avant-garde adventurism; a borderless culture industry bent on Green social engineering

The Trend: annihilation of serious culture except in a few non-Anglophone societies

International Justice

Today: dysfunctional but gamely persistent War Crimes tribunals

What We Want: Environmental Crime tribunals

The Trend: justice for sale; intensified drug war


Today: MacJobs, burn-out track, massive structural unemployment in Europe

What We Want: Less work with no stigma; radically expanded leisure; compulsory leisure for workaholics; guaranteed support for people consuming less resources; new forms of survival entirely outside the conventional economy

The Trend: increased class division; massive income disparity; surplus flesh and virtual class


Today: failing public-supported schools

What We Want: intellectual freedom, instant cheap access to information, better taste, a more advanced aesthetic, autonomous research collectives, lifelong education, and dignity and pleasure for the very large segment of the human population who are and will forever be basically illiterate and innumerate

The trend: children are raw blobs of potential revenue-generating machinery; universities exist to supply middle-management

Public Health 

Today: general success; worrying chronic trends in AIDS, tuberculosis, antibiotic resistance; massive mortality in nonindustrial world

What We Want: unprecedently healthy old people; plagues exterminated worldwide; sophisticated treatment of microbes; artificial food

The Trend: Massive dieback in Third World, septic poor quarantined from nervous rich in G-7 countries, return of 19th century sepsis, world's fattest and most substance-dependent populations


Today: basic science sacrificed for immediate commercial gain; malaise in academe; bureaucratic overhead in government support

What We Want: procedural rigor, intellectual honesty, reproducible results; peer review, block grants, massively increased research funding, massively reduced procedural overhead; genius grants; single-author papers; abandonment of passive construction and the third person plural; "Science" reformed so as to lose its Platonic and crypto-Christian elements as the "pure" pursuit of disembodied male minds; armistice in Science wars

The Trend: "Big Science" dwindles into short-term industrial research or military applications; "scientists" as a class forced to share imperilled, marginal condition of English professors and French deconstructionists.

I would like to conclude by suggesting some specific areas for immediate artistic work. I see these as crying public needs that should be met by bravura displays of raw ingenuity.

But there isn't time for that. Not just yet.

Bruce Sterling (bruces@well.com)


Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 632 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1703.28 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.