Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Joe & James Bum You Out"

Give to the Red Cross. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to automatically be billed for ten dollars that will go straight to the tsunami victims. None of us have any reason not to give.

So, lucky episode 13, "Joe and James Bum You Out." Let's get on with it then.

And to answer my own rhetorical question: Haiti is still super fucked up.

Upon a little bit of research, I found out that Mt. Fuji isn't actually dormant-- it's active and it's last eruption was in 1707-1708. Who knew?

I wouldn't take this as a rationalization that allows us to make crass jokes, but the BBC wrote a little something on why we make jokes during awful things. I know a lot of people can't even dream of that sort of a thing and I usually did kind of look down on that sort of thing until I went to a funeral for a beloved family member and I realized that joking around and remembering the good times we had was the best way to remember him. It was just in keeping with the whole rest of his existence.

We mentioned Chernobyl (and that it is used in both the videogame STALKER-- not to be confused with Tarkovskiy's Stalker (which pre-dates Chernobyl)-- and in a level of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare) and how, as fucked as it is, it wasn't the world-ending mess many believed it would be at the time. Here's a bunch of photos of it. Photos of Chernobyl and Pripyat aren't that hard to find, either, so if you're interested, give it a Google search (I'd start with English Russia. That site is pretty wonderful).

Vice Broadcasting System had a pretty fun travel documentary about the Zone of Exclusion, so. . . here it is.

I like Vice because they balance pretty well between wonder, chagrin, and fear, pretty often. They even make North Korea look like a bit of a good time.

Here's an article on the sarcophagus and its replacement. Pretty crazy, yeah? And here's another one from one of my favorite futurist/architecture/anthropology/whatever blog BLDGBLOG.

That BLDBBLOG article is fucking amazing. It really it. I won't spoil it, but it goes on to talk about the concept of an atomic priesthood trained to take care of Chernobyl. This makes an incredible amount of sense when you stop and considering that if we lived to be 100 years old, Chernobyl would still be radioactive for another 9,900 years. That's profound.

To quote Sergei A. Krasikov:
The death of a nuclear reactor has a beginning... But it doesn’t have an end," and that "one had to look at [Chernobyl] to understand the sheer tedium and exhaustion of dealing with the aftermath of a meltdown. It is a problem that does not exist on a human time frame.

ACTUALLY-- One last bit on Chernobyl and I swear I'm done. Warren Ellis found some interesting ideas about Chernobyl (and how it relates back to Stalker, which pre-dates the whole disaster and the idea of "The Zone"). He also quotes the phrase "Radiation Communism." Intruiged? Read the rest of it here.

The casualties we mentioned were 4,000 or so confirmed and 12,000 or so missing currently. I couldn't find anything more recent than this, which I guess might be a good sign.

Here's some photos from The Big Picture if you haven't seen them already. Numbers and speeches are one thing, but it's a whole other thing to actually see what Nature can do to a place.

If you want to read something a little bit heartwarming and an encouraging testament of the human spirit read about this badass dude. His name is Hideaki Akaiwa and he's the man we all wish we were, but pray that we never have to be.

I could link some 9/11 emergency phonecalls here, but I really don't want to. My heart isn't in it at the moment.

You can find those on your own.

I don't know. This whole section speaks for itself, right? It's horrible.

Here's the photo I was thinking of--

It's actually Passchendaele, which is apparently adjacent to Ypres.

Obviously we recorded this before the No-Fly Zone was introduced over Libya. That's been going on for about a day now, with no signs of any real progress (other than the number of bombs, I think).

Here's a brief thing on Libya's human rights record. Here's a bit more (not a wiki). It's not encouraging, to say the least. Qaddafi is an SOB, if nothing else. His fashion choices are also completely insane, but that's another story for another day (plus I've linked multiple stories about his sartorial. . . flare, shall we say?).

Oh, hey, here's a list of all of Libya's airports. Who knew that existed? Ain't the internet grand?

Speaking of the rebels I read this brief snippit "The Rebels Love Us Right?" Well, there's a decent chance that they do not. Benghazi sent more insurgents to kill Iraqis and Americans than any other city in the Arab world. Maybe that's Qaddafi's encouragement at work, but the fact remains, there's a sentiment behind all of this that doesn't just go away with a No-Fly Zone.

Here's another run-down of should we/shouldn't we intervene in Libya.

One last coup de grace about human dignity and struggle. I wouldn't dare use "heartwarming" or anything like that on this one, but if we're going to be in a war again-- and we are in another war no matter how it gets spun-- we should remember what it looks like.

And now, the light at the end of the tunnel: How to improve your ramen.

Play us out, X--

(Bonus: The RZA created a single for Japan. Give it a listen. Or donate. Couldn't hurt.)

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