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If the system is so gridlocked that nothing can ever get done, why *not* take silly extremist positions online?— Noah Smith 🐇 (@Noahpinion) November 21, 2019
The thing about having a day job is that it takes up the whole fucking day.— chica marx (@mckenziewark) November 20, 2019
A building in Norilsk sits abandoned after a damaged pipe filled it with water. Despite its prosperity, Norilsk faces a huge maintenance problem. The majority of buildings were constructed on pilings, which are now shifting due to melting permafrost. ph Elena Chernyshova
Development of high speed rail in China - 2008 vs 2018 pic.twitter.com/r1uDSLwG3G— Michael Parenti’s Stache 🚩☭ (@Karl_Was_Right) November 20, 2019
To paraphrase Mark Fisher, those who can’t remember the past are condemned to have it resold to them forever by recent design graduates.— Scott Smith (@changeist) November 19, 2019
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McKenzie Wark (2015) on the ecopolitical factions of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy: On the new planet the Greens are the terraformers, for whom “nature is synonymous with life.” Whereas for the Reds “nature is prior to life, greater than life:” the alien planet itself. pic.twitter.com/p4eLa4np7D— Gregory Marks (@thewastedworld) November 18, 2019
‘The Way is a void,— Dr Peter Sjöstedt-H (@PeterSjostedtH) November 17, 2019
Used but never filled:
An abyss it is,
Like an Ancestor
From which all things come …
It is like a preface to God …
The student learns by daily increment.
The Way is gained by daily loss.’
(image: Blum) pic.twitter.com/9JYzpLoRBO
Protesters in Chile employing Lasers en masse to disorient, neutralize Riot Police pic.twitter.com/MsBJLCSZuD— ᏔმƦ𝔢ჳ💤 (@mooncult) November 15, 2019
Tarot cards by Italian comics artist, Sergio Toppi.
Marble quarriers are visible in Carrara, Italy. The blue-grey marble that is extracted here is widely used in sculpture like Michelangelo’s David and in building decor like that of The Pantheon. With more than 650 active or abandoned quarry sites, more marble has been extracted here than any other place on earth.
See more here: https://bit.ly/32UOt9M
Source imagery: Maxar Technologies
Climate is a disaster response issue.— Dr. Samantha Montano (@SamLMontano) November 16, 2019
Climate is a disaster recovery issue.
Climate is a disaster mitigation issue.
Climate is a disaster preparedness issue. https://t.co/god7Q8CWwc
“Lifeforms are lagoons, repressed pockets of forgetting, temporarily protecting themselves against the outside that created them and will destroy them” (Mackay 2012, 28). pic.twitter.com/kTg0vRQcI9— Gregory Marks (@thewastedworld) November 15, 2019
test-driving a take that the “tv or cinema” debate is a misunderstanding of the only truly significant distinction between different branches of the arts, which is Going Out vs Staying In— Mark Asch (@therealmarkasch) November 15, 2019
Our glorious algorithmic future. When “garbage in, garbage out” was just the world of programming it was one thing, now it’s bleeding into the real world like the stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.— Karl Burke (@burkekarl) November 14, 2019
…our nervous systems, our realities, and the evolving forms of media that inevitably insert themselves between the two. A series of seemingly random topics are slowly woven together: shootings, bees, the right’s rules for radicals, climate control, dogs pretending to be children, the oil we eat, and the right of every American to believe whatever they want to believe — your brain’s ear lets nothing remain entirely random. It’s not the content, it’s the edit that shows us what we all know to be true, and it’s the things that one is most tempted to enjoy as harmless entertainment that often turn out to be living animals. Splicing together Occupy mic checks with US militia rallies, FOX news hosts with ecoterrorists, and your own sanity with the home viewing habits of Negativland’s lead vocalist, the Weatherman, when you put the word True next to the word False, a broader reality reveals itself.
“One day, someone showed me a glass of water that was half full. And he said, “Is it half full or half empty?” So I drank the water. No more problem.”
Growth Table Designers: Tim Durfee & Iris Anna Regn
During the Cold War, the United States nuked the Marshall Islands 67 times. After it finished nuking the islands, the Pentagon dropped biological weapons on the islands. Once the U.S. was finished, it scooped the irradiated and ruined soil from the islands, poured it into a crater left behind from a nuclear detonation, mixed it all with concrete, and covered the whole thing in a concrete dome. They called it “The Tomb.” According to a report from The Los Angeles Times, climate change is breaking that dome open. Rising sea levels and temperatures are cracking open The Tomb, threatening to spill nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean.
T. Lux Feininger, Members of the Stage Workshop on the Roof of the Bauhaus, Dessau, c. 1926-1927
Interesting exercise:— Noah Smith 🐇 (@Noahpinion) November 11, 2019
1. Write down the question “Whose side are you on?”
2. Write down one answer only.
3. Don’t tell anyone your answer, but think about it.
The memory of a memory of a memory is what we see inside the fractal kaleidoscope of our minds as “observed reality”.— ((( 1/f ))) (@fadesingh) November 11, 2019
& this is an excellent accompanying article debunking Pinker & co claims to rationality:https://t.co/bYvknkPAd0— monika bielskyte (@monikabielskyte) November 9, 2019
Cuneiform in Iraqi street art. These are the Sumerian logograms ama-gi4 𒂼 𒄄— Dr. Moudhy Al-Rashid (@Moudhy) November 7, 2019
In cuneiform texts, the term refers to a reversion to a previous state, like in the manumission or release of slaves. In modern contexts, it has come to mean freedom #IraqProtests pic.twitter.com/WfJTaobK0J
“Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan” - Eliel Saarinen— Leisa Reichelt (@leisa) November 7, 2019
Which means you need to research the next larger context and not just ‘your’ thing.
Banquet in the Thames Tunnel, George Jones (attrib?), 1827. pic.twitter.com/lSTnrLnh3E— Justin Pickard (@justinpickard) November 8, 2019
A good hack to find interesting ideas to work on is to start with a word that seems to pick out an important concept, but has been rendered annoyingly vacuous by abusive overextension. Examples: strategy, meaning, irony. Other examples?— Venkatesh Rao (@vgr) November 7, 2019
the intersection of art and technology is closed until further notice— 胡子哥 (@SanNuvola) November 6, 2019
The S-curve of the Great Weirding is entering its terminal plateau level. We’re entering the permaweird.— Venkatesh Rao (@vgr) November 6, 2019
If it weighs you down it’s a taxonomy, if it frees you up, it’s an ontology https://t.co/NxMWucezE2— Venkatesh Rao (@vgr) November 5, 2019
“And so while it may seem strange and even naïve to look to mythology for tools to understand the earth’s six mass extinctions, we think that in an era dominated by technocratic solutionism (which leaves little room for paradox, ambiguity, and non-modern ways of relating to the world) it is naïve to think that we could rely on the styles of thought and reasoning that brought about the problem in the first place. In this way our project, as well as our work as a collective, calls upon humans to harness the powers of mythical fabulation in order to address our relation to an earth future that we will bring into being (it is a product of human design), but which completely escapes our human capacities for understanding.”
7.1 Extraterrestrial life is rare or non-existent 7.2 No other intelligent species have arisen 7.3 Intelligent alien species lack advanced technology 7.4 Water world hypothesis<br/> 7.5 It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself 7.6 It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy others 7.7 Periodic extinction by natural events 7.8 Intelligent civilizations are too far apart in space or time 7.9 Lack of resources to spread physically throughout the galaxy 7.10 Lack of desire to live on planets 7.11 It is cheaper to transfer information for exploration 7.12 Human beings have not existed long enough 7.13 We are not listening properly 7.14 Civilizations broadcast detectable radio signals only for a brief period of time 7.15 They tend to isolate themselves 7.16 Colonization is not the norm 7.17 Outcomes between all and nothing 7.18 They are too alien 7.19 Everyone is listening but no one is transmitting 7.20 Earth is deliberately not contacted 7.21 Earth is purposely isolated (planetarium hypothesis) 7.22 It is dangerous to communicate 7.23 They are here unacknowledged
( Found poetry via Fermi’s Paradox and WIkipedia)
“We think of our future as anticipated memories.”— ((( 1/f ))) (@fadesingh) November 4, 2019
- Daniel Kahneman https://t.co/y4Bxw4k7ea
Scientists: there is a zombie outbreak— Kate Marvel (@DrKateMarvel) November 4, 2019
Think tanks: The zombies are a natural cycle
Politicians: I’m not a zombie expert
Business: click here to calculate your personal footprint #walkingless
Media: Let’s listen to this zombie denier! (undisclosed: he eats brains)
A hall of horrors: spare heads at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum.
the specification that can be written down is not the true specification— Chaos (@chaosprime) November 4, 2019
If you find yourself getting sucked into an ideological rabbit hole, run some stress tests by reading the smartest critiques from the other side.— Jason Snyder (@cognazor) November 4, 2019
I dont agree with what Richard Spencer has to say but I’ll defend to the death his right to get punched in the face— saeen (@saeen90_) November 4, 2019
Blade Runner’s 2019 is prisoner firefighters battling a burning California while the internet rages with bots passing as humans.— dan hon (@hondanhon) November 2, 2019
People always forget reality will always win at being weirder and sideways to what we’re capable of imagining.
“global computing infrastructure has become so concentrated around just 10 or 15 major hubs ..that the internet itself has become brittle and bottlenecked…This fragility has made it vulnerable to sabotage and natural disasters” #infinitedetail https://t.co/UniEmwnYfr— Tim Maughan (@timmaughan) November 2, 2019
I finally realized why I generally dislike consuming audio and video: I’m not able to use any of my strengths in reading speed/comprehension, info processing, note taking, deeper reflection, & skipping/scanning. It’s like being stuck in the slow lane with steering wheel locked— Tiago Forte (@fortelabs) November 1, 2019
That feeling that all your peers have figured out something important you haven’t and moved on in some way, leaving you behind? It’s universal.— Venkatesh Rao (@vgr) November 1, 2019
It’s the human galactic red shift. Everybody has figured out something unique and is receding from everybody else.
Happy Halloween 💀
People criticize tech companies for putting money above principle, but Github is holding on to a $100K ICE contract despite employee anger, and Facebook says it will continue to sell toxic political ads that are 0.5% of revenue. These are clear examples of putting principle first— Pinboard (@Pinboard) October 31, 2019
SUBVERT YOUR COMPUTER— ALGORAVE ADVICE (@ALGORAVE_ADVICE) October 30, 2019
To celebrate halloween we trained a net that creates endless vignettes about murdering humans, torture, necrophilia—kinda funny and campy like Evil Dead—using one of the greatest datasets ever— cannibal corpse lyrics
Neural network generating death metal, via livestream 24/7.
Audio / lyrics / visuals are all generative.
Powered by DADABOTS http://dadabots.com
🤖Audio generated with modified SampleRNN trained on Cannibal Corpse
🤖Lyrics generated with pretrained 117M GPT2 fine-tuned on Cannibal Corpse
🤖Meat images generated with BigGAN interpolations in the #butchershop latent space
🤖You can generate all kinds of gross stuff on artbreeder https://artbreeder.com/i?k=ff84821d51…
🤖Vocals separated using Wave-U-Net (yup it separates death growls)
🤖Read more about our scientific research into eliminating humans from music https://arxiv.org/abs/1811.06633
Excerpt from this story from Mother Nature Network:
It’s been seven years since Hurricane Sandy ransacked the East Coast. And, while bigger storms — with even more devastating impacts — have certainly come along, Sandy was unique because it helped start a movement toward resilience and nature-based solutions.
What does this mean?
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Department of the Interior did something unusual; it provided more than $300 million in funding for resilience projects. Not just recovery — the building-back of damaged areas or the clean-up of debris — but the strengthening and restoration of vital natural systems like marshes, wetlands and rivers that can actually help protect people and wildlife from storm impacts.
This work was not limited to national wildlife refuges and parks — more than 160 projects, funded primarily through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), were implemented in collaboration with hundreds of local NGOs and state partners up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
“This really was an investment in the future,” explains Rick Bennett, who coordinated the Hurricane Sandy resilience effort for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “It wasn’t just about fixing what was damaged by Sandy, but figuring out how we can improve environmental conditions so that fish, wildlife and people can be more resilient to flooding and storm impacts.”
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In preparation of MoneyLab #7 in Amsterdam on November 14-15 I made the following link list. Many of the topics will be discussed there. No coincidence much of it is related to the Libra developments.
Best, Geert Lovink
MakerDAO decentralized stablecoin, collateral loans, and community governance
“The desire to travel far away and start a new currency will become a powerful driver of human expansion into space” (via Inte)
Olaf Scholz vs. Facebook’s Libra
Zuckerberg at Washington hearing on Libra
Solution for Deepfake Problems…?
American conservaties, Libra and Europe
Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation by Grace Blakely
Ethereum: Scam or Iteration?
A gallery selling work of cryptoartists
A London-based crypto artist
Libra coalition is falling apart as eBay, Visa, Mastercard and Stripe jump ship
More on OneCoin crypto pyramid scheme court case
The Radical’s Survival Guide to Adventures in Cryptoland: Can Cryptocurrencies Save Us All? (via Inte)
Tank Magazine’s Libra link list
“Degrowth is about redistribution by design, not by collapse”
Bitcoin will be how we transact with aliens
A different look at the history of money, apparently more grounded what actually has happened (via Eduard)
EU-Funded Projects in Blockchain Technology
Rhythm in Economic Space by Stamatia Portanova
Proposal for voluntary degrowth by redesigning money for sustainability, justice, and resilience (via Patrice)
France to block Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency in Europe
Fund to launch alternative business models for online content
Money is the Oxygen (via Patricia)
Laura Lotti: Blockchain Affordances (via Luca Recano)
Gavin Mueller: Digital Proudhonism (via Luca Recano)
Coinbase: The 2019 Leaders in Crypto Education
Proposal making in DAOs: the limitations of “Anyone Proposes Anything”
ECB’s Mersch Warns Over ‘Treacherous Promises’ of Facebook Libra
French pry-trance festival that promotes local currencies
Bitcoin Rap Battle Debate: Hamilton vs. Satoshi (via Maisa)
RIP Decentralization–Sorry, Bitcoin, it’s Libra’s turn now (via Eduard)
Libra: The social media company’s move into cryptocurrency takes advantage of regulatory oopholes
What’s wrong with Ethereum?
Of Art Tokenization, Blockchain, and Provenance with A Sprinkling of Non-Fungible Tokens
MEMRI (connected to Israeli intelligence): The Coming Storm – Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency (via Donatella)
Libra, a Cyberpunk Nightmare in the Midst of Crypto Spring
Facebook admits Libra cryptocurrency may not happen after all
https://mur.at/ is hosting a one week worklab “block that chain” in October. Here is the open call:
Conner Brown: Bitcoin Has No Intrinsic Value — and That’s Great
Libra untangled: what lies behind facebook’s digital currency project - PART I by Andrea Bianconi
Ten reasons why Facebook’s Libra is a bad idea – and we should stop it now
ETHBerlinZwei is a hackathon, a culture festival, an educational event, a platform for hacktivism, and a community initiative to push the decentralized ecosystem forward
Remember, blockchain replacing everything…
From Jaya Klara Brekke’s newsletter:
Breaking the ZuckBuck overview of claims by the good crew at Alphaville
The need for global payment system as a public good by Rohan Grey
Tank Magazine’s shortlist
Good New Models podcast discussion of ZuckBuck
Facebook’s plan for a cryptocurrency is right to set alarm bells ringing
Strengthening Hyperledger Indy and Self-Sovereign Identity
Alt-C is an installation by Michal Sedbon that uses electricity produced by plants to power a single board computer mining a cryptocurrency (via Tatjana Seitz)
Massimo Ragnedda and Giuseppe Destefanis (eds) *Blockchain and Web 3.0. Social, Economic, and Technological Challenges*. Routledge, 2019
Facebook Libra: on the 4 steps road for World Presidency
Offshore Finance: How Capital Rules the World by Reijer Hendrikse and Rodrigo Fernandez
http://longreads.tni.org/state-of-power-2019/offshore-finance/ (via Francesca Bria)
Jack Ma’s $290 billion loan machine is changing Chinese banking (via Patricia de Vries)
The Invention of Money (via Eduard de Jong)
Pragues Crypto-Anarchists are Spreading the Gospel
Duniter, a fully decentralized libre currency based on the relative theory of money (via Michel Bauwens)
Radix: a fast, scalable, easy-to-use ledger, ready-made for 7 billion people
I was wrong about spreadsheets
YAIR | Your Art is Reality: Unleash Digital Art
Glen Brook: In Zuck We Trust?
https://pv.glenbrook.com/in-zuck-we-trust/ (via Eduard de Jong)
New Models podcast on Libre
A massive facility that opened last spring located near Buffalo (via Stephanie Rothenberg)
With cryptocurrency launch, Facebook sets its path toward becoming an independent nation
Nate Tkacz on Facebook’s Libra, Or, The End of Silicon Valley Innovation
Is Libra the West’s response to China’s payments empire?
Libra geen open cryptomunt, maar databank van Facebook (in Dutch)
Introducing the Decentralized Autonomous Kunstverein (DAK)
Even Joseph Stieglitz is against Libra (via Patrice Riemens)
Kaspersky reports that only 1 in 10 people ‘get’ crypto
Blockchain: Technology alone cannot protect freedom of expression
NYT: Libra is a bad move for Facebook (via Eduard)
Jameson Lob on Libra
Stating the obvious: Bitcoin is not ready for the world
Andrew Keen on Libra
Evgeny Morozov on Libra
Final nail in the coffin for physical money (via Inte)
Facebook, Libra, and the Long Game
Libra, a Cyberpunk Nightmare in the Midst of Crypto Spring, by Daniel Jeffries (via Patrice)
Why ICOs were doomed from the start
Review “DARK HAVENS: Confronting Hidden Money and Power” Disruption Network Lab Berlin/April 5-6 2019
GNUcash, a personal and small-business financial-accounting software
Stablecoins are booming
WeChat is Watching
Recap (Part I): Blockchain, Open Education & Digital Identity Conference in Lille, France
Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future
Facebook announces cryptocurrency with the release of Libra Whitepaper
Flash Boys 2.0:Frontrunning, Transaction Reordering, andConsensus Instability in Decentralized Exchanges https://arxiv.org/pdf/1904.05234.pdf
Things got weird for stablecoin Tether
George Gilder’s Life after Google—The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy is disappointing American (fin.) conservatives
Erik Bordeleau talks fabulation, finance and cryptophilosophy at
Economic Space Agency – Transit Lounge Radio
Interview with Max Haiven on Art after Money, Money after Art (for Romanian Bienale catalogue)
Social Good & Blockchain
Banning stores that do not accept cash (via Patrice)
Just in case you did not notice: the unsuable bitcoin
Is Fake Bitcoin Volume a Roadblock For Full-Fledged Crypto Rally?
Welcome to the RaveEnabler Unlock your Cryptorave #10 entry by donating your CPU. Support your local Cryptorave network mine Monero (XMR) and embody another identity https://0b673cce.xyz/
-Out in June-Finn Brunton: Digital Cash, The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency https://press.princeton.edu/titles/13537.html
Quinn Dupont speaks to Finn Brunton about his book Digital Cash
Bitcoin and Friends | Episode 1 (via Inte)
Interview with Gina Pieters by Quin DuPont on why crypto reamains marginal amongst economists
Dark Crystal: Back up your secrets using the trust in your social fabric
A ‘Blockchain Bandit’ Is Guessing Private Keys and Scoring
Jesse kanda - Polycephaly
how much of “western culture” is just unprocessed PTSD from the Black Plague— Dr Sarah Taber (@SarahTaber_bww) October 28, 2019
interior geometry of the planet, by people you don’t know, in a language you don’t speak.— notaleptic (@notaleptic) October 29, 2019
“Data as oil,” “data as property,” “data as water,” “data as labor,” and “data as nuclear waste,” and the list goes on.— giulio quaggiotto (@gquaggiotto) October 28, 2019
The more I think about it, the more I land on a new metaphor — data as a red herring https://t.co/vvYIgEDI5i
“well, it’s a big question, i’m busy today so I’m not going to discuss it with you”— Tim Etchells (@Tim_Etchells) October 28, 2019
Australian water rats have learned how to kill cane toads, eat their hearts and carve out their organs with “surgical precision”. In only two years, highly intelligent native rakali in the Kimberly region of Western Australia discovered how to safely destroy the deadly toad – by removing its gallbladder and feasting on the heart.The rats even targeted the biggest, most poisonous toads they could find, leaving their bodies strewn by the riverside, according to research published in Australian Mammalogy.
The researchers hypothesise that the rats either learned from scratch – by figuring out which parts of the toad made them sick – or already had previous experience from eating Australian native toxic frogs.
Other animals, like crows and kites, have been observed turning cane toads inside out to avoid the toxic skin and only eat non-poisonous organs, the report said. The rats face threats from pollution of waterways, can be caught in fishing line and discarded balloons, and hunted by stray cats, foxes and dogs.
I think the secret to being a productive programmer is to relentlessly accumulate tricks for getting interesting things done with the least amount of effort— Simon Willison (@simonw) October 27, 2019
Then keep an eye out for opportunities to apply those tricks for the most possible leverage
‘I see no reason to suppose that the air about us and the heavenly spaces over us may not be peopled by intelligences, or entities, or forms of life, as unintelligible to us as we are to the insects. … [We] are part of an infinite series…’— Dr Peter Sjöstedt-H (@PeterSjostedtH) October 26, 2019
1943—image: Lewandowski pic.twitter.com/TA6IZInI5x
I like how Silicon Valley has rebranded “skipping breakfast” as “intermittent fasting”— Olivia Solon (@oliviasolon) October 26, 2019
“What matters isn’t what a person has or doesn’t have; it is what he or she is afraid of losing.” - @nntaleb— Nassim Nicholas Taleb Bot (@nntalebbot) October 24, 2019
Just Taking You Apart And Arranging You Into A Circle I Try To Put You Back Together But Carelessly I’ve Lost Too Many Pieces Whoops Now You’re The Milky Way— Keiji Haino (@HardyGuideyMan) October 25, 2019
Live shows this winter:— ON (@omeednorouzi) October 21, 2019
10.27 ~ ‘Sunwarped’ at the lunchbox in Phoenix
11.02 ~ ‘Perpetual Dune’ at the palms in Joshua tree pic.twitter.com/ogGyCiBPmI
tell me more about the slime-being amalgamation event— Spectral Slime (@EnsendadaSlime) October 24, 2019
Melting Owl in direct sunlight pic.twitter.com/wlHOfyUd3U— 41 Strange (@41Strange) October 24, 2019
Our emotional reaction to climate collapse will shape our response at least as much as our intellectual understanding. Rage. Fear. Grief. #TYF2019— Jamais Cascio (@cascio) October 24, 2019
“Certainly there had been trouble coming. Anyone who had had any experience of wars would have seen it coming long before the afternoon that Mack ran down Morris the Florist."— ⚫Your roots are in the infinite (@thejaymo) October 24, 2019
Chapter 4, The Summer Before the War, The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill
“The battle for freedom is not fought alone on the great fronts. It is fought in every home, in every community, in every state in the world. it is fought in the mind and heart of every man.”— ⚫Your roots are in the infinite (@thejaymo) October 24, 2019
Jack Whiteside Parsons - Freedom is a Two-edged Sword
Anyone to a designer: “looks weird”— Jess Eddy (Earth) 💜 (@jesseddy) October 24, 2019
Designer: “can you be more specific?”
Designer to designer: “looks weird”
Other designer: “yeah, it does”
The idea of Multiscale Localism:— Joe Norman (@normonics) October 23, 2019
The smaller the scope of the system, the more tightly bound together the agents comprising the system are and ought to be
As we expand scope, coupling among agents becomes weaker and weaker, towards independence
Timeless design principle.
This story makes me think of the mentality of destruction. Put a human and shovel together, and the human digs. Put a human on a bulldozer, and the two together destroy. The digging may have nefarious purposes and it might be destructive, but even if it is, the damage is relatively insignificant. We can’t say that about the bulldozer. What does an engineer think when he plans where the bulldozer scrapes? What does the politician think when she/he approves the plan, or sees images of its outcome? What does the driver of the bulldozer think as she or she watches the blade of the bulldozer destroy everything in the way? I have a hard time imagining how a moral person can allow any of that to happen.
Excerpt from this story from the Sierra Club:
As shocking as the Trump administration’s most recent demolition of the desert wilderness has been, scientists and Interior Department officials say that it is just a continuation of the destruction that has been unfolding for years as US-Mexico border militarization has intensified.
Archaeologists Rick and Sandy Martynec are among those who have witnessed the erosion of environmental protections firsthand. For the past 25 years, the Martynecs, independent researchers, have been conducting archaeological surveys in Arizona along the US-Mexico border. In a roughly 20-by-20-mile stretch of desert, the husband and wife team has documented more than 600 distinct archeological sites, ranging from 10,000-year-old Paleo-Indian campsites to O’odham farming villages inhabited as recently as the 18th century.
As they’ve documented the rich historical and cultural records, the couple has seen a fragile desert ecosystem become a casualty of US border policy. About two decades ago, when the Martynecs were doing survey work in Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge at Las Playas—a series of dry lakebeds that once filled during the summer monsoon season—they frequently encountered wildlife, including coyotes, mountain lions, and more than a dozen bird species such as hummingbirds and owls. The pooling of the water in the lakebeds, which lie on both sides of the border, has sustained this unique desert environment.
But they have also observed something else: As the number of migrants coming across the border increased in the early 2000s, so too did the roads within the refuge, 90 percent of which is designated wilderness. Small, rarely used dirt tracks were becoming well-traveled multilane roads used primarily by Border Patrol agents. In the post-9/11 period, Border Patrol was granted expansive new powers and funding to police the border. In one instance, Rick Martynec measured a frequently used Border Patrol “corridor” that was at least 200 yards wide. “Until you actually see it, walk it, it just can’t be imagined,” Martynec said.
The new roads have begun to change the way water moves in this part of the Sonoran Desert. Now when seasonal rains occur, the water no longer flows into the playas but often runs in torrents along the roadways. “Almost every conceivable water source has been choked off by roads and by dams,” Martynec said.
This has had a devastating impact on the region’s ecology. Entire groves of mesquite trees and vegetation surrounding the playas have withered. The birds and mammals have largely disappeared. Martynec said that they haven’t seen a coyote out there in five or six years. The biologically complex desert soil—which was once home to ephemeral grasses and small trees and which can take decades to recover once disturbed—looks like a cracked moonscape. Around 2010, after completing their archaeological research in the region, some of it carried out on behalf of the Cabeza Prieta refuge, the Martynecs wrote a separate seven-page paper titled “The Death of Las Playas?”
The end of the story has an interesting perspective:
Due north of Las Playas is the Growler Valley, one of the most remote and deadly routes for migrants traveling through the desert. For the past several years, the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths has enlisted volunteers to leave water and food at various locations within the refuge.
But the Trump administration, with assistance from the Fish and Wildlife Service and other land-management agencies, has begun to crack down on their activities. At one trial, a federal judge said that the activists had undermined “the national decision to maintain the refuge in its pristine nature.” Earlier this year, four members of the group were convicted and several more currently face trial for, among other things, violating the Wilderness Act.