Are there any honest-to-god climate change deniers for real, or are there just a handful boastful of contrarians with authority-figure issues and a few paid-in-full so-called scientists massaging big oil’s balls ‘cos they ain’t getting grant money any other way? Just asking.
A new study published in Nature goes into the warm details.
By 2047, Coldest Years May Be Warmer Than Hottest in Past
“Go back in your life to think about the hottest, most traumatic event you have experienced,” Dr. Mora said in an interview. “What we’re saying is that very soon, that event is going to become the norm.”
Read the rest over at yesterday’s New York Times.
Over at NBC.com, they go into greater detail on the study.
“The warming in the tropics is not as much but we are rather more quickly going to go outside that recent experience of temperature and that is going to be devastating to species and it is probably going to be devastating to people,” Stuart Pimm, a conservation biologist at Duke University, who was not involved with the new study but is familiar with its contents, told NBC News.
Take a look here.
32 Selfies From Tahrir Square, via Buzzfeed
So many reasons to be cautious about Egypt’s immediate future, and little chance of an economically strong and politically stable country, but I can’t help love these images from Tahrir Square. They show something essential about the moment, and the spirit which was the moving force behind much of the Arab Spring. Real revolutions take years. Think of the all the turmoil that was the American Revolution and its aftermath. I can’t imagine that the current situation in the Middle East is any less complicated. It may be years before the region sees stability, but that’s no reason to consider these revolutions failures, or fail to celebrate these parenthetical moments of hope and optimism.
Late afternoon in October 2012, a walk home along one of Berlin’s many canals. I’d walked this route many times, at day and well into the night, but this was one of the few times I took photographs.
I don’t think of Berlin as being a true walker’s city. The street lights are designed for cars, to make sure they don’t idle too long. The result is that walkers often have to wait an inordinate amount of time to cross a street, and if there’s an island, the only way not to get stuck there and wait for a second light change is to run. For the elderly, this means almost always waiting, sometimes several minutes to cross a single intersection. It’s one of those silly Euro-eco ideas which means it’s much easier to drive around than walk. But that doesn’t take away from the rough-hewn beauty of the city. And it remains one of the most livable cities I’ve ever visited.
At night, the junkies take over the square. They are almost vaporously thin, like the dead even before they shoot up. They have ruined most of their veins and bend forward to stick the needle in the backs of their knees or other parts of their legs. The happy ones are curled up fetally, oblivious to everything. A tall South Asian man with a tense, fierce face asks me several nights in a row if I want anything. “Hash? Junk? Anything?”
Read the whole story here.
Over and again, when I asked about the precarious future of Greece, people gave me this response: “Greece has been here for thousands of years. It does not die, and it will not this time.” Walking the streets of Athens, I find myself marveling at the beauty and humor and energy of the graffiti I see everywhere, and also feeling dismayed, because it does mar the city, it does make it ugly, and it does make the lives of Athenians who have to encounter it every day that little bit worse. But I also think of that quote, and I know that cities, like people, go through periods of creative destruction. Who knows what will emerge out of the Athens of today, what city will stand on these shopworn foundations? But one thing is certain. The city will be here, and so will its people, and I suspect that much of the energy released onto its walls will also help to feed its rebirth. For in seeing the city so brought down, one can begin to imagine the city reborn.
Click on the images to view larger versions.
For additional photos, see the earlier post, “The City Painted, part one.”
All images copyright 2012 Ranbir Sidhu.
Past midnight in a poorly lit alley near Metaxourgeio, a man approaches me pushing an overloaded cart. I’m taking photographs. No one else is around. What time is it? he asks. I say I think it’s a quarter past, and he nods and points to his cart. I sell all this, and now I pack up and go home, he says, I do this every day. Where are you from? I ask. I’m a Kurd, he says, I’m from Iraq. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a green sprig. Smell it, he says, pushing it into my face. Take it and smell it. It sounds like an order, and I do as he asks. The plant is basil, and in that dark alley, it smells wonderfully fragrant. He smiles when I recognize the plant, then nods. This is what I sell, he says. And saying nothing else, he walks away, leaving me with the fragrant sprig of basil. I keep it as a good luck charm, because this night I’m still not sure what parts of the city I’ll walk through, and what protection I will need.
On the following night, I learn a couple of days later, in the same area, around the same time, an Iraqi immigrant is stabbed to death by five unknown attackers.
Click on the images to view larger versions.
For additional photos, see the earlier post, “Athens at night.”
All images copyright 2012 Ranbir Sidhu.
Walking the streets at midnight, the city is almost silent. Seedy, hot, alive in the shadows, it is a different city from the city in the day. All that empty space somehow lets it breathe.
Please click on the images to view them full-size.
All photos copyright Ranbir Sidhu.
At the end of November last year, I gave up taking the subway. A few reasons. I’d just returned from a six-month trip to India and being confronted with the same grim faces on that underground steel coffin brought home to me the fact that I was… well… home. And being back here, how profoundly not at home I felt again in New York City.
Of all the tedious rituals of city life to return to, the subway was the most dispiriting. It starts with the descent into those airless caverns, and only gets worse, at least for me. I hate waiting. In fact, hate is too mild a word. I abhor it, I vilify it, if I met Waiting in a dark alley in the middle of the night, I would do my best to snap its ugly neck. There is something deeply infantilizing about the long (or short) waits we have to endure before the train arrives, for here we become wards at the mercy of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the unloved orphans it consumes daily and who must always bow to its caprices, begging, “Can we please just get on your train, sir?” Maybe the train arrives within thirty seconds, and we find ourselves thankful for the wretched crumb of timeliness thrown at our feet, or maybe we wait a quarter hour, or even longer, staring down at the devastated concrete that floors these torture chambers of the modern world, if only so as not to look at the devastated faces surrounding us, in the mornings ejected unhappily from their beds, in the evenings ejected exhausted from offices.
In and of itself, the wait seems reasonable. The subway is a public good, it provides the infrastructure to move millions of people every day, and keeps a city like New York from grinding to a halt. And it’s good for the environment, and for health, and nominally, there’s a democratic spirit at work. We’re all in it together underground, a bit of London in the Blitz transported westward. But as one wait piles on another, as one line is added to another, those dreary, stifling minutes underground become intolerable. For the modern city, that compacted horizon of lives stratified, one on top of the other, each crushing the one below, finds its condensate on those lonely platforms and inside those deadening train cars. The city, if it is anything, is a dirge of choruses all of them memorializing “the wait.” The wait at the stop light, the wait for the elevator, the wait in the lunch queue, the wait on the phone for customer service, the wait for the delivery man, the super, the cable guy, the wait at the laundromat, the wait for a table for dinner, the wait at a bar for the barkeeps’ eye, the wait for the sorely underpaid cashier to acknowledge your existence, the endless wait for the city to do the same.
And once you’re on the train, it gets no better. For inside, you sit or stand, carried along powerlessly, literally shuttled back and forth underneath the city, not even blood in its arteries, for blood has a vivifying function as it pumps along. Inside the train, you become a null, a being waiting again to arrive, as if you have been murdered and await resurrection as a zombie. We become children once again, ruled by the whims of an unknowable and towering parent, powerless in its presence, and all around is the evidence, the faces of the fellow travelers reduced to ashen replicas, their nearest counterparts the democracy of bodies turned to stone in Pompeii. If this is democracy, it’s democracy of lives lived in hell, it’s democracy of the coming apocalypse, it’s democracy stripped of soul, of breath, of anything that might be imagined as human, a cudgeling, murderous reduction of city dwellers to cave dwellers, and cave dwellers to the newly dead.
Perhaps I’m laying it on a little thick. People do take the subway, sometimes they smile, sometimes they laugh, and most of them arrive on the other side apparently alive. And without it, the lives of the vast majority of people in this city would become intolerably difficult. But with it too, I believe, life becomes intolerable. When millions are forced, on a daily basis, through the meat grinder that is the subway, year in and year out, what else can it do but make ghosts of us, demoralized and hypnotized by an industrial ideal of the efficient city and its proper functioning.
All these incredible images by Travis Ruse.