Morphizm Main

Present Tense
David Gedge and The Wedding Present are coming straight outta L.A. on El Rey: MORE

Spaced Out
Jason Pierce has a thing for fire. So together we poured gasoline on Spiritualized: MORE

Meowwww!!
From slicing up cat dicks to signing up Fonzi, Big Tobacco has pulled some weird science: MORE On the Beach
Dream pop standouts Beach House are catching heat. But can they catch fire live? MORE

Stipe On Speed
R.E.M.'s thrash attack has gone into hyperdrive on the brilliant Accelerate. Stipe tells us the targets: MORE

Slugs 4 Obama!
Atmosphere's When Life Gives You Lemons... is all about the hope. And so is Obama: MORE

I Say God Damn!
What's left unspoken in the Obama flap is this: Has God blessed America recently? MORE Ass Out!
Assy McGee is one hell of a cop from hell. So where are his arms? Our interview explains: MORE

Miss Fortune
China's Olympic intrigue has reached critical mass. Who says politics and sports don't mix? MORE

Nirvana's Son
Kurt Cobain: About a Son is out on DVD. Its peek into bipolar stardom is still hard to watch: MORE

Betrayed?
Boxing legend Joe Louis gave body and soul to God and country. Did they repay the favor? MORE

Taxi!
Those in need of war films are scoping the wrong Oscar bait. Try the Dark Side: MORE

Pro Choice
Clinton or Obama? Good question. Now, all you have to do is answer it, and wisely: MORE

In Cold Blood
Rick Geary creates comics that paraphrase history without passion. Our interview explains: MORE

RIP, Prof
Kashmere pioneer Conrad Johnson has passed. But his upstart funk still lives on: MORE

Past Proust
Adapting one of canon lit's most knotted yarns into a comic just might work. Wait, it did: MORE

Disowned!
The housing collapse is a failure of white-collar proportions. Klein saw it coming: MORE

Trash It!
Is your home worth less than your mortgage? Then walk away, baby. Just walk away: MORE

Dystopia Drift
Unembedded journo Dahr Jamail has seen Beyond the Green Zone. And it's looking ugly: MORE

Best of 2007
El-P's I'll Sleep When You're Dead was the most brutally honest music of the year: MORE

Fed Up
Bernanke's rate cuts won't stop the bleeding. It will just cover up the tracks. Thanks, Greenspan! MORE

Beat This!
Ike Turner has passed on. But Morphizm's last interface with the funk maestro never will: MORE

Hyperrealist
Karl Rove now says Congress rushed Bush into war with Saddam. Revise your textbooks! MORE

Shop or Die
The Kubler-Ross Model works for death, but it also works for the mall. Even around the Bratz: MORE

The Fixer
Gordon Brown is a go-to guy if you're a lobbyist. Or a fan of Rupert Murdoch: MORE

Guns, Green?
The market has spoken, says Naomi Klein. And it wants bullets rather than renweables: MORE

Pak Attack!
Musharraf may be Bush's nightmare, but he started out as Clinton's daydream: MORE

TomorrowSci!
From pain rays and flying cars to innovations to save our sorry hides from climate change, tomorrow science is here today: MORE

Not a Moralist
The Serbian photographer Boogie has seen his fair share of the global underworld. Good thing he took pictures: MORE

Party's Over
Serj Tankian's debut solo effort Elect the Dead says civilization is over. So why is he smiling? Our interview explains: MORE

The Perv
Pakistan dictator Pervez Musharraf has declared martial law and suspended the constitution. Who's surprised? MORE

God is Bond
Barry Bonds isn't the only sports superstar who points to the Man Upstairs when he scores. Piety has gone viral: MORE

Hypermarket
From plunging dollars to skyrocketing oil, the hyperreal American economy is due for a real-time ass-kicking: MORE

Pin is Back
It's been a long time since the stunning Summer in Abaddon. Good thing Autumn of the Seraphs is on the way: MORE

Ignore Nothing
Indie-hop titan El-P's newest epic I'll Sleep When You're Dead is filled with biohazardous truth. So is he: MORE

Sicko 'Em!
Whatever. Michael Moore's new movie on the corrupt American healthcare system is good for you: MORE

Water For War
If you think the clusterfuck for oil is scary, just wait until we're more worried about H2O than CO2: MORE

Altered States
Don't know much about global warming? Keep it that way. Trust us, you don't wanna know more than that: MORE

Pelican Echoes
If you think wordless metal can bring noise but not brains, we talked to a band that wants to talk to you: MORE

Steampunker
Rasputina has finally embraced the War on Terror in Oh Perilous World. What took so long? We asked: MORE

Osama's Diary
It's a stone cold Morphizm classic. And it will still make you cry. Almost as if it was real. Really: MORE

Slice and Dice
Cake blew up with a cover song, but they're even better at blasting "War Pigs." Our interview explains: MORE

Gaza Lab
Israel. Hamas. Fatah. What the? Gaza is looking less like a prison and more like a petri dish every day: MORE

BagCalgary
Fronts in the War on Terror are shifting. Which means Canada's oil sands are up next for a global warming: MORE

Crow's Nuts
The indie Tony Millionaire strip Maakies is at last making the legit jump to Adult Swim. Bottoms up, sailor: MORE

Vulture Funds
You've got to get in on this one. You buy $5 million in Third World debt relief, then sue for $50 million. Suckers buy it every time: MORE

DIY or Die
Art-punk corn dogs The Minutemen were brazen heroes. It's about fucking time someone gave them a biopic: MORE

Not a Slave
300 director Zack Snyder may be a friend to CGI, but he knows when to leave it alone. Our interview explains: MORE

Physics of Iraq
What goes up must come down and what gets jacked must come back. Ask the British. While you're at it, go ask Icarus: MORE

A Bit Awkward
The Pixies' doc loudQUIETloud captured the band selling out stadiums and ignoring each other. Our interview explains: MORE

Total Chaos
According to our interview with journo and author Jeff Chang, the hip-hop arts movement is far from dead: MORE

Get Truthy!
Stephen Colbert's vivisection of the stoopid Republican machine is an example of linguistics at its ballsiest. Suck on it: MORE

Cry Wolfie
Let's not drink the Kool-Aid. The World Bank was fucked up long before fuckup Paul Wolfowitz took over: MORE

Object: War
Our hyperreal narrative in Iraq is in search of an ending. Will the American people write one before it's too late? MORE

Good Machines
In these liner notes excerpts from his compilation Fuzzy Warbles, XTC architect Andy Partridge's love of tech goes haywire: MORE

Torture Works
Is it just us? Or is the tight-lipped Bush administration's call to torture for information more than ironic? Hey, wait: MORE

Go Fuck Yourselves
President Bush's speech on the war's escalation revealed much. Including how little he cares about...well, everyone: MORE

"How My Brain Works"
From sci-fi to hip-hop, Michel Gondry has a gift for visual invention. And we have a lot of questions for him: MORE

When PNAC Attacks!
Get to know your well-heeled presidential family and other comb-lickers in this excerpt from Fanta's comic Bush Junta: MORE

I'm the Distorter
Sure, the Democrats may have taken over Congress, but the Bush administration hasn't blinked on Iraq. And it never will: MORE

Trial of Trials
Jose Padilla was once a terrorist. Now he's putting U.S. torture policy on trial. Only in America: MORE

Garrison State
Muslims rioting. Americans killing. Too bad no one's made a film called Why We Fight. Wait, Eugene Jarecki has! MORE

Guilin
"The smell of damp earth that hangs over Guilin will surrender, and join the cosmopolis cropping up along the Li:" MORE

Game/Theory
"In the cinematic fashion of the dying antihero, I expired while reading the stars. Coordinates on a grid of contested terrain": MORE

Fanta Goes Beastly
A comics powerhouse compiles a massive tome on our collective nightmares. Vampire and Harpy haters beware: MORE

Shit Happens. Real Fast.
In our continuing exegesis on exponology, China explodes and Antarctica's demise accelerates: MORE

Exponology
The planet is heating at an exponential rate. But what is the exponent, and who are the people spinning it? Enter Morphizm's formative science, awaiting your learned modification: MORE

Panther Power
Fuck Hoover's race paranoia. The Black Panthers have survived, from Marvel comics to hip-hop to a loud ass protest near you: MORE

Surfing With Rosa
In honor of the Pixies doc, Morphizm pays homage to their Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim split, an enduring classic: MORE

Friday, July 18, 2008

 

Lightning Strikes? Get Used to Them.

The Friday is withering away, and Saturday is another work day. That rhymes, but I don't have enough time to put it into song. And even if I did have enough time, I'd rather jam out a farewell to California, my favorite state on Earth. I spiel onward on the conflagration for my pals at AlterNet:

Lightning Strikes: Get Used to Catastrophic Wildfires and Worse
"This is a specter against which grand inquisitors and wars against terrorism are powerless to protect us," Mike Davis wrote in a 2003 essay titled "The Perfect Fire," which was composed against the backdrop of a massive firestorm that callously rampaged across Southern California, burning thousands of homes and billions of dollars in its wake. "It is, of course," he added, "the right time of the year for the end of the world."

It still is. In late June, an ahead-of-schedule dry lightning event sparked more than 8,000 strikes across California, setting off over 800 fires, many of which are still burning as I write. And if you're the praying type, you might want to start praying they can be put out before the conventional time window for such events arrives in late July and August.

"This doesn't bode well for the fire season," AccuWeather.com meteorologist Ken Clark told the Associated Press in June, shortly after the lightning hit. "We're not even into the meat of the fire season at this point, and the brush is extremely dry. It's not going to get any better," he added. "It's going to get worse."

How much worse? How much time have you got? You might want to spend it packing... MORE @ ALTERNET

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

 

The Real Nigerian Nightmare


[Back on you, Morphizm pals. I get deep on oil, Nigeria and geopolitical clusterfuckage for AlterNet.]

AlterNet: Africa, Victim in Our Quest for Cheap Oil
Whether or not we have fully arrived at peak oil can be left to the nitpickers and bean counters to decide. What we know for sure is that the cost of black gold has exponentially risen in just a few short years, and the global economy it is built upon is currently straddling a razor waiting for the inevitable slice. That final cut may come from Nigeria, where all the major oil companies have done business, dirty and otherwise, for the last five decades, degrading the environment and depressing the general population along the way.

That disturbing feedback loop is the subject of the new book Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta, which juxtaposes the arresting graphics of award-winning photojournalist Ed Kashi with the geopolitical insights of UC Berkeley professor Michael Watts to present Africa's most populous nation as a possible epicenter for the full-blown resource wars to come... MORE @ ALTERNET

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

 

Is Google Evil For The Environment?

Doubtful. But I asked them and Treehugger anyway, for AlterNet:

Google: Good or Evil For The Environment?
Now that it has unseated Microsoft as Earth's most recognizable and influential technology behemoth, Google has gone from a crowd-favorite upstart to an octopus multinational beneath the bull's-eye. As such, its innovations in search, advertising, video, open sourcing, communications, computing and beyond have taken a backseat to legitimate concerns over everything from its impossible motto, "Don't Be Evil," to its carbon footprint. And while the former is a terminological chimera, the latter is an increasing problem for a planet that is practically warming by the day, due to a lethal combination of explosive global growth, rampant carbon dioxide emissions and lackluster world policy.

To mangle the cliche, the evil is in the details... MORE @ ALTERNET

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Friday, June 06, 2008

 

Is Famine Inevitable?



Greetings, Morphizm diehards. I apologize for the state of disrepair. Things have been progressing too quickly for me to catch up. Kind of like food prices. Speaking of, I spiel for AlterNet on that very issue. What a strange coincidence:

Is Famine Inevitable?
Paul Krugman's "Grains Gone Wild" column may have boasted one of the most hilarious titles ever in the annals of agrichemical economic analysis, but the situation is far from funny: Our food situation is on the precipice of failure. And all it's going to take to get past the tipping point is the slightest of mistakes -- or manipulations.

Much of our current recessionary intrigue has been aided and abetted by market speculation, from the oil and food sector all the way to the White House itself. For the last seven years, the Bush administration has placed climate crisis on the back burner in existential pursuit of resource wars and an "American way of life" that has turned from a dream of Hummers, housing and bling into a nightmare of price hikes, foreclosures and layoffs.

Mission accomplished... MORE @ ALTERNET

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

 

What Is An Envirogee?

Back from a long, strange trip to NorCal. Wind events, heatwaves, the usual. LA was a trip while I was gone. Tornadoes, mud floods, crazy shit. Hey, I just thought of a word (for AlterNet)!

What Is An Envirogee?
Chew on this word, jargon lovers. Envirogee.

It carries more 21st century buzz than its semi-official designation climate refugee, which is a displaced individual who has been forced to migrate because of environmental devastation. Maybe the buzzword will catch on faster and shed some much-needed light on what will become a serious problem, probably by the end of this or the next decade. That light is crucial, because so far envirogees haven't been fully recognized by those who certify the civil liberties of Earth's various populations, whether that is the United Nations or local and national governments whose people are increasingly on the move for a whole new set of devastating reasons.

In short, immigration is about to enter a new phase, which resembles an old one with a 21st century twist. For thousands of years, humanity has fled across Earth's surface fearing instability and in search of sustainability. But that resource war has kicked into overdrive thanks to our current climate crisis -- a manufactured war with its own clock.

And the clock is ticking... MORE @ ALTERNET

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

 

It's Happening: Global Warming Kills Australia's Rice



It's been awhile since I've been down that dystopian road, but evidently my Hyperhighway to Hell is getting crowded with data. Global warming has taken hold of Earth, and tipping points have been reached. Ask Australia, who can no longer grow rice thanks to a drought that will probably never end:
Drought has already spurred significant changes in Australia’s agricultural heartland. Some farmers are abandoning rice, which requires large amounts of water, to plant less water-intensive crops like wheat or, especially here in southeastern Australia, wine grapes. Other rice farmers have sold fields or water rights, usually to grape growers.

Scientists and economists worry that the reallocation of scarce water resources — away from rice and other grains and toward more lucrative crops and livestock — threatens poor countries that import rice as a dietary staple.

The global agricultural crisis is threatening to become political, pitting the United States and other developed countries against the developing world over the need for affordable food versus the need for renewable energy. Many poorer nations worry that subsidies from rich countries to support biofuels, which turn food, like corn, into fuel, are pushing up the price of staples. The World Bank and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization called on major agricultural nations to overhaul policies to avoid a social explosion from rising food prices.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

 

R.E.M.'s Accelerate Brings the Noise

Sorry for the extended radio silence, Morphizm pals. Many new developments to discuss. Later. It's been a blur.

But at least it's been a noisy one, since I've been hard at work on R.E.M.'s newest effort, the bruising classic called Accelerate, out today in America. I'll kick off the proceedings with the Metromix review, and follow up with a Michael Stipe interview on Morphizm tomorrow. For now, let's bring the noise.

R.E.M.
Accelerate

Put simply, Accelerate is easily one of the band's finest releases, and certainly the loudest. Stipe's growling, urgent vocals are a jarring departure from some of his more recent downtempo deliveries, and socio-politically charged barn-burners like "Living Well Is the Best Revenge" and "Man-Sized Wreath" are rants on war, media and the vacuum otherwise known as American pop culture. Even when he stumbles, on the power balladry of "Hollow Man" for example, his heart is so firmly screwed to the right place that the song flies by. R.E.M. diehards will appreciate the fire, and late adopters will bang for the rawk, especially Peter Buck's axe shredding on the stunning "Sing for the Submarine"... MORE @ METROMIX

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

 

A FARC-ing Fake

It's been a minute since Greg Palast hit Morphizm up. But he's hit us up nicely in the last week, with a couple eye-opening articles and even an interview for an article on Federal Reserve Bank conspiracies that I'm writing for AlterNet. Down below, he tackles the Bush administration's head-fake on FARC and Hugo Chavez, and how the Democrats might play it for fear of looking like pussies on national security:

A FARC-ing Fake
[Greg Palast, Morphizm]
Do you believe this?

This past weekend, Colombia invaded Ecuador, killed a guerrilla chief in the jungle, opened his laptop – and what did the Colombians find? A message to Hugo Chavez that he sent the FARC guerrillas $300 million – which they're using to obtain uranium to make a dirty bomb!

That's what George Bush tells us. And he got that from his buddy, the strange right-wing President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe.

So: After the fact, Colombia justifies its attempt to provoke a border war as a to stop the threat of WMDs! Uh, where have we heard that before? MORE @ MORPHIZM

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Monday, February 25, 2008

 

DJ Shadow + OxFam = OxJam

It's not a secret Morphizm is a fan of DJ Shadow. But it's good to see Shadow is a fan of international service. He hooked up with OxFam for an eye-opening trip to Nairobi, which has been documented below. An OxJam Festival kicks off in April. It takes a digital village, people.

VIDEO, DJ Shadow + OxFam in Kenya

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

 

SoCal Set To Dry Up

I've been following water issues for awhile now, and being a Los Angeles resident, it didn't take a rocket scientist to tell me that the farther global warming advances, the less water L.A. is going to have on tap to help it forget that it is, in fact, a desert. Looks like the LA Times finally caught up to this ironically cold fact. So, where to move?
Human-caused global warming has been shrinking the snowpack across the mountain ranges of the West for five decades, suggesting that the region's long battle for water will only get worse, according to a computer analysis released today.

As temperatures have increased, more winter precipitation has fallen as rain instead of snow, and the snow is melting sooner, reported the study published in the journal Science.

The result is that rivers are flowing faster in the spring, raising the risk of flooding, and slower in the summer, raising the risk of drought.

"These trends will only intensify over the next few decades," said Richard Seager, a research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

 

Terraformation: China's Cloudhacking


I've been working this type of budding terraformation into Hyperhighway to Hell, although I'm far from a finished product. But the mind reels. From the LA Times:
The Chinese are among the world's leaders in what is called "weather modification," but they have more experience creating rain than preventing it. In fact, the techniques are virtually the same.

Cloud-seeding is a relatively well-known practice that involves shooting various substances into clouds, such as silver iodide, salts and dry ice, that bring on the formation of larger raindrops, triggering a downpour. But Chinese scientists believe they have perfected a technique that reduces the size of the raindrops, delaying the rain until the clouds move on.

The weather modification would be used only on a small area, opening what would be in effect a meteorological umbrella over the 91,000-seat Olympic stadium. The $400-million stadium, nicknamed the "bird's nest" for its interlacing steel beams, has no roof.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

 

Holy Freakin' Hell!

So, I'm feeling good after selling off one of my cars yesterday, ahead of what I predicted, along with every other economist or person blessed with common sense, would be a sick recession in 2008. A couple thousand in my pocket, a money pit filled in and replaced. But then I awoke to this hideous picture:



That is Apple's five-day stock graph. It had reached a high of $200 around Christmas, but has tanked, in step with the overall economy, ever since. $40 billion in shareholder value has been disappeared, Abu Ghraib-style, over the last two weeks. And that, my friends, is our economy in microcosm.

Apple had been what gold and oil are for rich assholes: A safe haven for investment during a contracting economy. But if you didn't want to feel like a jerk, investing in destruction and hoarding, you put your money in innovation. Today, that is no longer the case. Everyone is running from innovation, and banking on fear.

And whether you like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, it doesn't matter. A dollar put into Apple and Microsoft's coffers was one taken away from the fossil fuel industry, the disaster capitalism complex, the dystopia coming our way. But the bear is fully upon us now, and the only safe haven is the one that is driving us to a very uncertain future.

Don't enjoy the ride.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

 

George of Arabia

It's good to have Greg Palast back. He's always a breath of fresh air, especially when it comes to gas, money and graft. A journo' journo. He's popped off on Morphizm about Bush's trip to the Saudis, international revenue streams and how the subprime meltdown is the tip of the proverbial assberg:

George of Arabia
[Greg Palast, Morphizm]
Bend over, pull out your wallet and kiss your Abe ‘goodbye.' The Lincolns have got to go - and so do the Hamiltons and Jacksons.

Those bills in your billfold aren't yours anymore. The landlords of our currency - Citibank, the national treasury of China and the House of Saud - are foreclosing and evicting all Americans from the US economy.

It's mornings like this, when I wake up hung-over to photos of the King of Saudi Arabia festooning our President with gold necklaces, that I reluctantly remember that I am an economist; and one with some responsibility to explain what the hell Bush is doing kissing Abdullah's camel.

Let's begin by stating why Bush is not in Saudi Arabia. Bush ain't there to promote ‘Democracy' nor peace in Palestine, nor even war in Iran. And, despite what some pinhead from CNN stated, he sure as hell didn't go to Riyadh to tell the Saudis to cut the price of oil.

What's really behind Bush's hajj to Riyadh is that America is in hock up to our knickers. The sub-prime mortgage market implosion, hitting a dozen banks with over $100 billion in losses, is just the tip of the debt-berg.

Since taking office, Bush has doubled the federal debt to more than $5 trillion. And, according to US Treasury figures, on net, foreign investors have purchased close to 100% of that debt. That's $3 trillion borrowed from the Saudis, the Chinese, the Japanese and others.

Now, Bush, our Debt Junkie-in-Chief, needs another fix. The US Treasury, Citibank, Merrill-Lynch and other financial desperados need another hand-out from Abdullah's stash. Abdullah, in turn, gets this financial juice by pumping it out of our pockets at nearly $100 a barrel for his crude... MORE @ MORPHIZM

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

 

DJ Spooky in Antarctica? Cool.

I've been talking back and forth with DJ Spooky and his crew about the brain-hop pioneer's latest project Terra Nova: The Antarctic Suite, which sounds highly promising. He recently checked in after traveling to the frozen but nevertheless warming tundra in hopes of logging hours of film footage and sound samples:
It was an incredible and awe inspiring exploration of nature. I'm still feeling the wind and waves... Anyway, I edited the material there, and created a soundtrack based on the environmental material at hand: wind, the tides rhythm (it made good hip hop material!), oceanic currents, and yes, penguins.
Next up, he's heading to Sundance to premiere the work-in-progress, before honing it into playing shape for a worldwide tour. Definitely stop by and check it out if you're in the region. I bet it would make sick snowboarding soundtracking. Details:

New Frontiers - Sundance Film Festival Presents
Terra Nova: The Antarctic Suite
A Film by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid
Official Selection Premier:
Tuesday Jan 22nd at 9pm
New Frontiers (Sundance Digital Cinema)
333 Main Street (lower level)

You have to be on Spooky's list to get in, but as cool as guy as he is, I bet showing up and caring about the collision of sound and climate ought to be enough to score a pass. If not, tell them Scott at Morphizm sent you.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

 

US and Iran: Schoolyard Bitches

Oh, here we go again. I'm not the only one who's been trying to get people to think outside the Bush box, and get with the idea that this war with Iran is going to happen, regardless of what the people of both countries actually want. And the stratagem is playing out exactly the way someone who won't take no for an answer would want it to.

In other words, this year's Bush/Cheney geostrategical contest for Iran's oil began in earnest today, as the U.S. navy and Iranian Revolutionary Guard navy had a stare-down in the Strait of Hormuz:
U.S. military officials told CNN the boats were "attack craft" that they believed were operated by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard.

The Iranian boats made threatening maneuvers against the U.S. warships and threatening radio transmissions, the officials told CNN.

The captain of one U.S. vessel was in the process of giving the order to shoot when the Iranian ships began turning away, CNN said.

A radio transmission from one of the Iranian ships said, "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes," CNN reported, citing a U.S. official.

After the threatening radio communication, U.S. sailors manned their ships’ guns and were very close to opening fire, it said.
"Attack craft?" Junkers, you mean. The world's most powerful military isn't worried about Iranian jalopies. And for those who don't remember their history, look up the Gulf of Tonkin incident if you want to find out the history of those who are now making your Nikes.

That said, everyone involved in today's schoolyard bitch-fest, except our war-mongering asses, agreed that it was much ado about nothing. Which is great if you ignore the fact that the fake intrigue felt like an attempt to push oil back to its record high of $100 a barrel:
U.S crude hit a session high of $98.40 a barrel following news of the tensions between the United States and Iran -- already at odds over a range of issues from Iran's nuclear program to U.S. allegations of Iranian support for terrorism -- at the weekend. The Pentagon said the incident was serious and described the Iranian actions as "careless, reckless and potentially hostile" and said Tehran should provide an explanation. The Iranian foreign ministry described the incident as ordinary.
Someone is making mad cash from these non-stories, believe that. Too bad it isn't us.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

 

DaimlerChrysler, Wake Up and Smell the Carbon

Another reason why I can't stand rich people. They could give a shit. The next time you see one of them driving a Benz, throw something at them. I hear baloney slices leave ill stains on the paint job. From CNN Money:
DaimlerChrysler, which split into two companies last year when its Chrysler division was purchased by a private equity firm, has been hit with the largest fine ever assessed against any company for violating fuel economy standards set by the Federal Government.

The fine of $30,257,920 was assessed for 2006 model year imported passenger cars. That means the fine was assessed almost entirely against the company's Mercedes-Benz luxury cars.
We're knee-deep in global warming's ass-whipping and the Benz dealers don't care, because they rake in enough cash to pay $30 million a year to ignore common sense and the common good. Forget the baloney slices; try the tire iron.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

 

Exponology: Con-cen-tra-tion!

The irony is intense. The hotter it gets, the more our distractions mount. Baseball. Steroids. Dude, tell me something I don't know.

What some might not know is that climate change will be the only game in town soon. As a follow-up to our previous Exponology entry, Morphizm has this bit of news from Bali:
2007 data confirms warming trend [BBC]
The UK's Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia conclude that globally, this year ranks as the seventh warmest. The 11 warmest years in this set have all occurred within the last 13 years. For the northern hemisphere alone, 2007 was the second warmest recorded.
That's some concentration. Imagine what happens when those holdout percentages cave in. Now imagine it snowballing. And it might. England might enter another ice age. Cali will enter permanent drought. I can hear the borderlines shifting as I write.

They smell like the future.

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Arctic Summers Ice Free Starting...Tomorrow?

Here's another entry for the exponology files, which I'm compiling for my first book Hyperhighway to Hell. Exponology is basically an invented study dedicated to exponents, mathematical and otherwise. What otherwise, you ask? Well, the exponents of trends, culture or politics, which is to say people who foreground particular data, or party lines, over the exponentially accumulating evidence that contradicts them.

In this case, as in pretty much every case going forward into our dystopian climate crisis, the argument that we've still got time to stop the ravages of global warming.

Previous estimations had the Arctic ocean ice-free sometime in the middle to late 21st century, but for those who know their exponents well, that was mostly optimism and propaganda. Sure, the idea of a total melt felt better pushed decades into the future, to say 2050 or even 2100. But the science already stated otherwise, and those who hew to the carbon party line had no interest in divulging it. And so it gathered force, Newtonian style, until the evidence proliferated so extensively that it could not be ignored.

And now it can't.
Arctic summers ice-free 'by 2013'
[Jonathan Amos, BBC]
Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice. Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years. Professor Wieslaw Maslowski told an American Geophysical Union meeting that previous projections had underestimated the processes now driving ice loss.
A revelation, to be sure, if you were drinking the IPCC Kool-Aid. But here's a deeper epiphany, especially as it applies to exponential ice loss: Maslowski and his crew haven't even taken into account the most recent years, some of the hottest ever. You'd think that those years would have some numbers worth crunching. But that's if you want the record to accurately reflect reality. Which is about to knock very hard on Earth's door...right about now.
"Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007," the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to the BBC. "So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative."
In other words, what we've been hearing from Al Gore, the IPCC, that disaster flick Day After Tomorrow, is coming right for us and it's coming fast. Which is not to say that things will shake out the way the official wisdom believes they will. They might shake out worse. Seriously.

I'm not sure what it's going to take to hip everyone to this, but if you were on the fence about climate change, I'd jump right about now. And yes, these things are coming even if you stop driving your car right now. But you should start figuring out ways to do that anyway. Same goes for factory farming, tar sands extraction, whatever. The bottom line is that we have reached the bottom line as a planet, when it comes to climate change. We're all in this together, whether we like it or not.

Stephen Hawking, no idiot, is worried the planet is going to turn into Venus. Ever been there? It blows. No seriously, blows hard. Clouds of sulfuric acid, an atmosphere of dense carbon dioxide. Its oceans, utterly evaporated. Not a nice place to live. Not even a nice place to visit. That's what the Venus T-shirt reads.

But the point of this revelation is not to panic over global warming, although that would help. It's to note that, whatever the science or the politics, there is always data being ignored or spun within an inch of its life that is not counted in anything approximating a final analysis. Which doesn't mean it's not there. It's just lying in wait, accruing for a spectacular comeback, one operating on full exponential power which will overwhelm even the best of preparations.

Why? Because those preparations are based on incomplete findings. By accident, or on purpose.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

 

Tomorrow Science Today

Trudging down the Hyperhighway. Hard to post. Must. Finish. Book.

Must. Finish. Book.

Speaking of, Hyperhighway to Hell has an optmistic third act. It's about the possibility ready to explode in our new millennium. It's called From Terror to Terra. She blinded me with science.

Tomorrow Science Today
[Scott Thill, Wiretap]
From wireless power to nanosuits that can turn anyone into Spidey and perhaps even to mobile solar, we're on the cusp of massive scientific breakthroughs all over the place. If we can only get past peak oil and a Bush administration hell-bent on war with Iran, we may find solutions to the harrowing future climate change is bringing to our doorstep. Here are ten of them, from most needed to least believable...
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Saturday, October 27, 2007

 

The California Celebrity Fires

[Investigative muckraker and Armed Madhouse author chimes in with a reality check on disaster and capitalism. There's no business like the show of business. -- ST]

Burn Baby Burn: The California Celebrity Fires
[Greg Palast, Morphizm]
What color is your disaster? It makes a difference. A life and death difference.

Dig:

Population of San Diego fire evacuation zone: 500,000
Population of the New Orleans flood evacuation zone: 500,000

White folk as a % of evacuees, San Diego: 66%
Black folk as % of evacuees, New Orleans: 67%

Size counts, too. Size of your wallet, that is:

Evacuees in San Diego, in poverty: 9%
Evacuees in New Orleans, in poverty: 27%

The numbers would be even uglier, though more revealing, if I included evacuees of the celebrity fire in Malibu.

The President didn’t do a photo-strafing of the scene from 1700 feet this time. Instead, we have the photo op of George, feet on the ground, hanging with Arnold the Action Man. (However, I’m informed that the President was a bit disappointed that he didn’t get to wear one of those neat fireman hats like Rudi G got at Ground Zero.)

In 2005, while the bodies were still being fished out of flooded homes in New Orleans, Republican Congressman Richard Baker praised The Lord for his mercy. “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did,” he said about the removal of the poor from the project near the French Quarter much coveted by speculators.

But as this week’s flames spread, no Republican Congressman cried, “Burn baby burn!” to praise the Lord for cleaning up the ‘Boo, the sin-and-surf playground of Hollywood luvvies.

In New Orleans, God’s covenant with real estate developers has been very profitable. Over 70,000 families remain, two years after the waters receded, in mobile home concentration centers far away from the N.O. re-building boom. Let’s see how long it takes to get Tom Hanks back on his beach towel.

Standing next to Governor Schwarzenegger, a smug little Bush said, “It makes a big difference when you have someone in the statehouse willing to take the lead” – a snide attack on the former Democratic Governor of Louisiana on whom the White House successfully dumped the blame for the horror show in New Orleans.

Mr. Bush never mentioned – and the media would never give away his secret – that 15 hours before the levees broke, the White House and FEMA knew the flood barriers were cracking, yet failed to inform the Governor and state police. Nor did Mr. Bush mention that his Department of Homeland Security’s FEMA trolls took away evacuation planning from the state and gave it to a crew of crony contractors who, for a million bucks, came up with a plan that came down to, “If a hurricane comes, get in your car and drive like hell.”

In California, plans were in place, money poured down with the flame retardant, and no one is suggesting that Mel Gibson move his swastika collection to a FEMA trailer.

Not comparable, the ‘Boo and the N.O.? You can say that again. But as a kid who grew up in the ass end of Los Angeles, I can tell you that disaster apartheid applies on the local scale as well. Look at the tarry filth of Compton and Long Beach shores versus the panicked reaction when a bit of garbage or oil sheen hits Malibu sands. (I remember, standing on the crude-covered shore of an Alaska Native village in March, 1991, the day Exxon announced it would end the clean-up from the Exxon Valdez spill. That same day, the papers showed the careful scouring that week of every pebble on Malibu beaches hit by dinky spill incident.)

Please don’t get the idea I’m slap-happy about the California inferno. My parents live in San Diego - and one of my favorite Air America hosts had to evacuate from her Del Mar hot tub, poor dear. (I’ve heard, however, that billionaires well done taste just like chicken.)

What I’m saying is: Besides the flames, there’s a class war raging in America. Or, should I say, Class Massacre. Because only one side is taking all the bullets. Malibu, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica are “incorporated communities” – islands of privilege politically fenced off from the riff-raff sea of Los Angeles. These self-incorporated Bantustans of the wealthy have their own fire departments and schools. The money islands are relieved of having to pay for the schools and hospitals of the city where their gardeners live. (I can’t tell which is the worst disaster that can befall an Angelino – a fire, an earthquake or the LA public school system.)

Now, it’s easy to say it’s just George Bush who’s the class clown of the class war. But it’s an old story. When a flood took out the tony homes at Westhampton Dunes, the Clinton Administration picked up the full tab for rebuilding these summer hideaways of investment bankers. While today, death-by-poison stalks the environment of Black townships of Louisiana (the FEMA ‘guests’ are parked in a zone called Cancer Ally), Al Gore can’t be found. But when speaking of rising sea levels that can take out the homes of his buddies in ‘Boo or the Hamptons, Gore goes ga-ga.

The one thing I’ll say in favor of that vile little Louisiana Republican cheering the drowning of public housing residents, at least he's honest about how the system works. He’s not afraid to remind us of the gods’-honest truth: disaster response is class war by other means.

So let me not forget to report the war’s body count:

New Orleans flood deaths: 1,577.
California celebrity fire deaths: 5.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

 

Leaving Los Angeles

Sorry for the delayed comunication, pals of Morphizm. I'm a SoCal resident, and the fires were starting to destabilize my everyday life. And not just me. So I hightailed it to a cooler NorCal. Less ash.

But climate change is no joke. Especially when paired with seasonal disasters like the Santa Ana winds, which regularly show up every October to kick some pyro ass. For those of you still believing that the two have nothing to do with each and won't in our quickly warming future, keep it that way. I need a head start northward, where there is more water. Your indecision on current events assures me at least a few thousand miles.

That said, look for more activity from the MorphBlog and less from the Mag going into the early parts of next month. Things should be more chilled by then.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

 

Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

UPDATE: My pals at the Huffington Post have syndicated this entry on their home page and elsewhere. Check in and post a comment. They love that. And tell them Morphizm sent you!

Lost in a haze of hyperreal distractions and the weakening of our body politic, we forget in fact how our planet came into being: Violent eruptions, long periods of stability, sometimes equilibrium. But its eruptions were serious, and nothing to shrug off. I'm talking extinction events like the Permian-Triassic, romantically known as the "Great Dying", a climate change nightmare to end all nightmares. The hangover took millions of years to recover from.

So it would stand to reason -- ah, those were the days -- that were such events heading our way, we'd do something about them faster than Blackwater. We'd fire indiscriminately into the encroaching dangers, run like hell to our Green zones, and wait out the storm. But we're not.

And things are getting worse. Exponentially worse.

According to a recent reports, the InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change was off in its estimates. Way off, as expected if you were a student of exponents, which have a tendency not to accrue in equal chunks but snowball over themselves, growing bigger by the revolution. Speaking of snowballs, the IPCC misread our quickly shrinking sea ice, which has unmoored itself from itself and is now snowballing into the ocean-at-large at increasing rates. It figured the melt would be measurable, which is another way of saying an amount it could lowball to a public too busy with aptly named virtual realities like Survivor, Lost, Second Life and so on. But the IPCC failed to see the replicating threat on the horizon.

In short, the IPCC claimed the melt would tickle global coastlines with 20 to 60 centimetres of water, but it was wrong. The figure has now exponentially grown to two metres and climbing, which is over six feet for those on the inch standard. And if you think that's Chicken Little talking, take a look at these maps illustrating some of America's coolest cities, post-deluge. They might change your mind.

The reality is, fittingly, worthy of disaster cinema. Holes have developed in the sea ice through which water as large as Niagara Falls has plummeted back to the ocean, greasing the wheels, so to speak, for an even faster melt. Which in turn, getting back again to exponents, is pushing the ice across the sea even faster, and so on. Speaking of disaster cinema, how about this blockbuster? The glacier at Ilulissat, rumored grandpa of the iceberg that sank the Titantic, is now hurtling three times faster into the sea than it was a decade ago. Other glaciers and ice shelves are doing the same dance of doom.

And they're coming our way.

Think of them as one giant pain machine made of ice, skating across the planet to smack down some land and its self-important inhabitants. Think of it as Saddam plus Osama plus Kim Jong plus Iran plus every other creep you've been arming yourselves against. Think of it as the Bush administration, extraordinary renditioning you into Egypt for some "coercive interrogation."

But think of it. Because if the IPCC got the depth wrong, they almost certainly got the dates wrong. And they were giving an ETA of around 2100 for the worst of what global warming has to throw at humanity. That deadline has now been upgraded to, well, how does tomorrow work for you?

I'm not kidding. Because it's not just water that's plunging into the ocean and jacking up coastlines and currents, screwing the equilibrium that has allowed Earth to stay cool for thousands of years. It's also sediment, plants, animals and much more, matter of all types torn apart by the earthquakes and other violent eruptions these melts have caused. Call it the "Great Drowning." At least for now.

Because it's about to get hot in here. Real hot. Once those ice shelves melt, they'll no longer be around to reflect the sun. That will be left to the sea, which will heat and blast out the type of CO2 emissions that would make Exxon, Chevron and onward proud. And all of it will happen faster and faster until the new equilibrium comes.

Our time would be better spent on issues other than batshit pop stars or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It would be better spent on things like living, breathing, not dying by our own hands. It would be better spent thinking about how to capitalize on our own misfortune, an irony that still hasn't settled in even though I wrote it moments ago. It would be better spent working this problem than any other cultural, religious or racial hyperrealities built to sucker us into thinking we're different from each other and don't want our spaces invaded.

Because we're not different from each other in the slightest. We're all earthlings, and we're all going to find out what that means before 2100 comes to pass. Likely we will find out that we are different not from each other, but from every other species in the universe. Which means our time would be better spent right now, not tomorrow, not when our kids wake up and ask us, "What the fuck were you thinking?" We want to have a good answer for them. We had them, after all. We should have known better.

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