December 2011 Archives

Keystone Pipeline: NIMBY

December 31, 2011

Lately I've been wondering if the Keystone Pipeline isn't more of a NIMBY than anything else. NIMBY stands for Not In My Backyard, and is typically a reference to well-off individuals and communities decrying the building of some unwanted facility "in their backyards" – that is, just down the street or in the general vicinity. For example, in St. Paul, MN there has been an outcry over plans for an electricity-generating incinerator on the edge of the neighborhood in which I used to live. Now, that is a blue collar neighborhood, not particularly well-off. A classic NIMBY situation is where the well-funded are able to fend-off development, pushing it to some location where the project's opposition are not so well funded. Thus, the NIMBY-effect becomes a matter of eco-justice: the poor end up saddled with the polluting plant, though the rich derive at least as much benefit from the project.

Cory Doctorow's Overclocked

December 4, 2011

Overclocked, Stories of the Future Present, is worth buying. But you don't have to, thanks to the fact that Doctorow made it available under a Creative Commons license, and you can download it for free. These are incredible short stories, standing up with the best of Bradbury and Gaiman (my favorite short story authors). When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth was gut-wrenching, at least for this former sysadmin. I, Row Boat manages to beguile and frighten you at the same time. What's more frightening than an angry, conscious, coral reef? Pared up with a row boat working through existentialism? Print Crime is a beautiful call to the indomitability of the human spirit, and Anda's Game is all kinds of biting and insightful commentary wrapped up in the thrill of virtual victory. I, Robot and After the Seige round out the brilliant set of stories.

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