Thursday, September 17, 2009

She's Lost Control

I noticed this short story in the Dominion Post yesterday, regarding the legendary Ian Curtis wall.

And it got me thinking about the original. No not the last original - this was the last one, which has it's merits - or should I say had, thanks to Wellington City Councils anti-tagging unit.

But the original original, circa 1980. I remember going to Welly Polytech and seeing it everyday. I remember having a vinyl copy of Love Will Tear Us Apart - and remembering how amazing it was as a song.

I thought to myself Ian Curtis would be about 53 yrs old. That's not that old. He could be still making music. But then so could have Kurt Cobain.

The Ian Curtis wiki page reports the wall has been repainted - last night, 17th 2009. I was hoping to make a short documentary of the subsequent repainting, too late, I guess I played my part. ;-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

General Motors seeks US$30b to avoid failure.

Have the Governments of the world forgotten how economics works?

If you can't sell enough product to survive then you have no right to be here. What the Governments of the world are doing is allowing business to believe they have rights outside of operating in a market. OK, there is an economic downturn. But ask yourself why? I'm not going to answer that but what I will say is this.

The post-war project of endless economic growth and the resultant suburban dream is over. We won't be resuming revolving credit anytime soon. The growth cycle is over. And I'm not talking about the supposed 7 year residential property cycle. I'm talking the industrial/information age in its current disguise, is over.

Ok, lets assume the US Govt prop up General Motors with a $30b bail out. Then what? Who's buying cars?

Remember how much oil was per barrel before this fiasco all started? I'll ask again, what do you think caused this "economic collapse" in the first place.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

IEA admits Peak Oil

Traditionally the (International Energy Agency) IEA, has shyed away from the question of peak oil, the idea that we have, or are about to hit the maximum level of global oil production, after which we will begin an irrecoverable decline. However George Monbiot, award winning journalist from the Guardian discusses the question with Fatih Birol, the IEAs chief economist. The results are interesting.

On Peak Oil and the Current Economic "Situation"
Interestingly, or perhaps amazingly almost no one has been willing to admit (or perhaps even understands) the reasons for the current global economic financial crisis. I have always been of the vie
w that the rapid surge in energy (oil) prices created the financial conditions whereby continued "economic growth" would grind to a halt. Incidently I've been saying this for years, take a stroll through this blog site to see that. Once oil hit a certain price I predicted that global growth would slow and eventually halt. In my opinion $150 a barrel oil is what triggered the credit crisis, basically the downturn hit the most vulnerable part of the financial sector - what is now called "toxic assets".

Finally I have a reference - Reggie Abaca of Market Rap is saying the same thing.

And in case you are shocked that I'm writing ab
out peak oil again, well, just so you know, I spent the day editing a publication on Information Ethics for inclusion in a selection of papers from the 2008 ITPNZ Research Forum. The PhD is still in the forefront of my mind. Finally, Mike Moreu's cartoon today sums a lot up. Kiwi's still seem to be in denial regarding this economic situation.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

mala tempora currunt

PhD update (now there's an excuse for not blogging)

Is there a rule that every blog entry should begin with a (Smiths) song lyric, or a latin phrase?

I've omitted the song lyric and I couldn't figure out the latin for "told ya so". And anyway that sounds petty and immature, and as readers, you will no doubt be aware, that I'm trying to not do petty and immature anymore. Call it a New Years resolution if you like.

Well, when I s
ay every blog entry, I guess I mean... um, just my blog entries. I wouldn't expect that rabble of kiwi political bloggers - the boring lot that seem obsessed with blogging about current affairs and what John Key is doing and etc. That incestuous crowd that all quote each others blogs and use such tiresome bloggese like, "hat tip", or "blog roll". oops there's me going all petty again. (yes, that was meant to be so unfunny as to be funny - weird how circular humour can be)

Mala tempora currunt means something like bad times are upon us.

Upon me I mean, no I'm not talking about the "credit crunch" or the "global downturn", "banking crisis" (whatever), we "talked ourselves into this recession" don't you know. And we're now busily talking ourselves into a depression (apparently) - yippee. I love natural disasters, I remember racing off to view the Hutt River in full flood as a kid wondering what it would look like if it actually broke it's banks. I remember in my mid 20s being fascinated by
an approaching "dangerous" cyclone whilst living on the Gold Coast.

Perhaps a Samuel Butler quote would work. I discovered this by reading Norbert Wiener's, Some Moral and Technical Consequences of Automation. Wiener is generally credited for bringing to our attention, in the 1950s, computer ethics - he contended that "machines can and do transcend some of the limitations of their designers (and today we'd probably have to add, their users) and that in doing so they may be both effective and dangerous".

However, Butler's predictions were far more extreme - in 1863 he wrote an essay which was published in the Christchurch Press, he said

Day by day, however, the machines are gaining ground upon us; day by day we are becoming more subservient to them; more men are daily bound down as slaves to tend them, more men are daily devoting the energies of their whole lives to the development of mechanical life.

I think it was, to some extent, Butler who inspired Wiener. A few years ago I walked past Butlers Forest Stream hut. Forest Stream is a tributary of the Rangitata, it runs up into the Two Thumb range, for a summer expedition i traversed the range solo - a far more satisfactory pursuit than blogging under any conditions. Which reminds me, I need some mountain time. I didn't go up to Butlers hut, it was on the other side of the river and I didn't feel like crossing it - not that it was overly dangerous, just the previous year I'd had a minor scare in a swollen MaCauley river (on the Lake Tekapo side of the two thumb range) and crossing swiftly flowing streams unecessarily (a kind of natural disaster) wasn't on my wish list.

Anyway, back to the writing. (progress report - literature review of Information Ethics)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life, love and in vino veritas

Every day is like sunday,
Every day is silent and grey.

Happiness part 1.

There is some chimerical line that is crossed, somewhere between 35 and 45. It's the point of no *romantic* return. Mortgages, kids and flat screen TVs take precedence over "well up for it" tottie. Maybe I should be saying "real love", or maybe what idealists might call "true happiness", takes over.

But hold on a minute, "happiness", jesus what the hell is that, happiness is truely dumb. Movies and weddings end in happiness. Happiness is an afternoon nap, on a blissfully languid sunday afternoon. Happiness is something, but it's not life, certainly not a life lived. When you look back, on your one and only life, what more a tragic thought could one ponder than, i never really lived.

I'm happy with not being happy, this fact confuses people. I'm often accused of being "a little bit of a lost soul", perhaps I'd be happier if I saw a spiritual advisor, or meditated or something. Please don't make the logical mistake (no apologies however for the 98% of you that do) I'm not saying I am unhappy (denying the antecedent for the geeks). What I am saying is that "happiness" is overated.

Personally I think excitement rates higher than happiness. Forget contentment, lifes too short for that, you can be content when you are dead. The problem with excitement is that it comes barbed, particularly in your suburban nuclear family setting. Excitement is as inherently risky as happiness precedes brain-dead mediocrity. Given the choice of excitement vs happiness, You can guess what I'd choose. It's a boy thing, no fuck it, it's a man thing - nothing wrong with that is there - we love adventure. Why do I skate, climb mountains on my own etc (at 45) because the alternative sucks - I see the 30-something risk-averse-daddys with 50-something guts supervising their scooter riding kids at Waitangi Park tragically dressed by their pursed-lipped wives - that's happiness!??

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with "relationships", or kids, I have both, in fact I recommend them both - but you die one day, get that, one day you are going to die. In reality, love and death are the only things that really matter.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A historic moment.

As many of you know, I have been talking about oil and our global economy, for a few years now. Many of the events now unfolding in the face of complete disbelief to many people are right here in this blog. In the last few days we have seen the highest single day spike of oil since it was first pumped out of the ground.

It's timely to compile a few links to my articles/rantings/predictions - from the beginning of this blog.

Suburbias Looming Fire Sale - 2004 (and of course this has now started)
People are deluded if they think the way we live can continue indefinately. More suburban sprawl and housing estates, DVD's, Plasma screen TV's, never ending ships with full of imported Cherokee Jeeps... this is all gonna end - soonish.

During 2004 I invented a "Lobby Group" to get the word out. Here's an early PowerLess NZ press release.
New Zealand politicians are intent on ignoring the problem and continue to build and plan a multibillion-dollar fossil fuel dependant infrastructure.

All the PowerLess NZ Releases I wrote are here.
Here is a quote of mine from 2005.
The credit-card-fed/mortgage orgy will not be sustainable once the hand-brake of late 80s like interest rates bite as oil prices go through the canopy.

I predicted Stagflation back in April 2004. Here is the wikipedia explanation of Stagflation.
Economic growth necessarily depends on a cheap energy subsidy, to grow economically one needs to increase energy consumption. As the price of oil continues to creep upwards the spectre of oil-shock induced stagflation looms.

An essay I wrote for the NZ Futures Trust.
The article was called Peak Oil: An Austere Future - I hate to say "told you so" but unfortunately, it seems to be the case.

Once the peak does occur the price for a commodity for which demand now supplants supply will result inevitably in lower or negative growth.

If you've only just started thinking about this - look around you. Look at what's happening, and look how long I've been talking about it. It's going to get worse. Get to grips with the reality as soon as you can.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Playing Favorites #4

The long awaited 4th track on my playing favorites. I just had a feeling, right now of sadness, because I'm on the other side of peak. I only have one more track after this, so the pressure naturally gets tighter on this side of the five. There could be a significant delay before #5.

Wigan's The Verve are a band that I didn't pay too much attention to in the early 90s when they were at the top of their game. I was busy doing the electronica thing, dance parties, raves, ecstacy etc. Although I always loved rock.

So, a long time after the event, I'm putting on the CD player all those bands that actually started the whole thing, the Madchester sound. I wouldn't blame you if you thought that some of the Verve is sentimental - it is. But in amongst that sentimentality is some pure class, pure rock. This track, has it's namesake in Oasis, but it's a totally different track. Slide Away. The Verves version is glam, dark, slightly goth, probably what today kids would call emo. Fully emo in actual fact. This Is Music. And it's true. You can hear almost everyone in this, everyone from The Cult, thru aussies class late 80s pub act The Screaming Tribesman, Vedder, NZ's Bailterspace - I could go on. If Cobain was alive today you could be sure he'd have this track in his collection - so would Ian Curtis for that matter.

Ironically it wasn't until 97 that the Verve were featured on the cover of NME a few years after their big American outing at Lolapalooza. And a year before that this track topped the UK indie charts. The Verve are arguably the most underated of the brit rock bands - overshadowed at the time by Oasis and the Stone Roses. But, then, there is always something cool about the underdog.

I give you number 4. The Verve's, Slide Away - you can hear it at their myspace page. From their debut album "a storm in heaven" - A true rock classic. If you consider yourself cool in anyway whatsoever - you need this in your collection - get it tomorrow. Put it on at your next party.

Verve - Slide Away
So take your time
I wonder if you're here just to use my mind
Don't take it slow
You know I've got a place to go
You always do that
Something I'm not sure of
But just for today
Let go and slide away

I was thinking maybe we could go outside
Let the night sky cool your foolish pride
Don't you feel alive
These are your times and our highs

So take your time
I wonder which cup you'll drink from
I hope it's mine
Beause you always do that something
Something I'm not sure of
But just for today
Let go and burn away
'Cause I read your mind
I need it because it takes me where I can't find
Because you always do that something
Something I'm not sure of
But just for today
Let go and burn away


Slide Away burn away
Slide Away burn away
I read your mind
I read your mind
'Cause it takes me to where I can't find...