petej + paris   178

The Best of a Bad Situation | Issue 33 | n+1
The immediate switch to sustainable energy on a global scale also addresses one of the intellectual stumbling blocks that has bedeviled even well-intentioned climate-change policy makers: what to do about so-called developing societies. Unlike the ascetic cap-and-trade system, we aren’t required by this switch to turn to Indian or Chinese middle classes and say, “we deny you the quality of life that we enjoyed.” We should have never enjoyed it in the way we did — that was well understood, then as now, if for different reasons. The extraction-based political economy that buoys a specific stratum of India, Brazil, Iran, the Arabian Peninsula states, and China is objectionable on nearly every level; there’s no “global justice” legitimacy to the idea that past resource exploitation by Western powers entitles the elites of postcolonial developing countries to squander the future of their own citizens and the rest of the planet. Wholesale disaster under the banner of postcolonial nationalism will not feel better than under the banner of revanchist white nationalism.

Does this sound madly utopian? If so, it’s because the fossil-fuel industry — and that term, industry, must now include governments like Russia’s and our own — has been successful at obscuring how close we are to being able to switch over to renewable energy. The relevant technologies of solar, wind, hydro, and even nuclear power all exist. Architects and green industrial designers know how to make structures that aren’t just energy efficient but even net-energy positive. Under political conditions other than our current ones, we’d have great reason for optimism.

But unlike with other utopian programs, no one seems to see the promise. “Decouple now” and “Renewable or bust” don’t seem likely to harness the diverse interest groups currently opposed to Trump and the Republican Party. Most of us prefer to remain in the dark when it comes to energy. It’s still far easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of carbon-based capitalism. But what other choice do we have, America? Let’s get right down to the job — nearsighted, psychopathic, queer, angelic, diabolical, whatever we are, harness that most renewable of resources, human will, and put our shoulders to the wheel.
climateChange  politics  globalWarming  inequality  refugees  migration  USA  ObamaBarack  TrumpDonald  coal  Paris  COP21  emissions  fossilFuels  socialDarwinism  authoritarianism  racism  fear  catastrophe  KolbertElizabeth  writing  energy  renewables  sustainability 
6 weeks ago by petej
The Limits of The Panopticon - Lawfare
"It would be a mistake to allow proponents of increased surveillance authority to use a failure of the prospective panopticon to argue for more power relevant to the retrospective panopticon. The limits of the prospective panopticon cannot be wished away by cryptographic backdoors and the like. These are inherent limitations of the system. Therefore, rather than using Paris as an argument for increasing surveillance authority, security services should look to where they can overcome the panopticon’s failings. For example, authorities should redouble their focus on human intelligence. Here, the relatively large cell size (perhaps 20 or more based on the number of arrests) made the conspiracy more vulnerable to infiltration, and the security services have all the necessary legal authorities to carry out this mission.

The electronic panopticon is attractive because it is often effective and inexpensive by design. But Paris presents an opportunity to acknowledge its limitations and recognize that making it “stronger” will not actually make it more effective."
Paris  attack  terrorism  surveillance  policing  mobilePhones  warOnTerror  legal 
december 2015 by petej
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