Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2010

The WELL: Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2010

A sample:
On the subject of geo-engineering, I think it's a crock. We'll never
get there. They're all techie fantasies, far-out sci-fi notions, Star
Wars physics-style. The cheapest and most effective method of
geo-engineering is to cut the world's population in half.

Just a tremendous massacre. That's the genuinely effective
geo-engineering: it's fast, it commonly works, it's been proven
effective for centuries by lebensraum exponents everywhere, and if you
chose the right tactics and weaponry it might even look like a big

You don't have to put on a fascist armband and start ranting for the
public's blood; an effort like that could be quite subtle and covert,
the very opposite of showboat geo-engineering. "Mysterious deadly flu
in the Congo? We'd better keep all our health workers right here,
they're badly needed in New York!"

Nobody's gonna sit around watching Copenhagen delegates debating giant
phony orbital solar mirrors if the windmills in Copenhagen harbor are
blowing over When and if it becomes obvious that we truly need
massive, ultra-costly geo-engineering interventions, that we have no
other choice, then somebody -- likely some traumatized veterans of
weather havoc who are full of Al Qaeda self-righteousness -- they're
gonna cut emissions in half by cutting people in half. Mankind
wouldn't lack for means, motive, opportunity and eager volunteers.

Genocide has much more proven shelf-appeal than any of these hokum
Rube Goldberg geo-schemes. It's by no means easy to kill off half of
everybody, but we've already invented a wide variety of ingenious ways
to attempt that, and almost all of 'em are much simpler, more rugged
and more plausible than putting the North Pole under a tinfoil hat.

You don't see these Gothic issues raised in public discourse much, but
you go hang out with some Beltway thinktank asymmetric-warfare types,
and man, they talk this kinda stuff all the time. Kind of a Herman
Kahn think-the-unthinkable industry. "Should the Center for Disease
Control be scanning flu-strains for signs of designed interventions?"
"Gee uh, maybe not, could cause panic... but if we had some
off-the-books funding for that, that capacity could be pretty handy."

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