Friday, June 10, 2011

Shanty Town USA

You have a lot of Americans pressuring to start the same sprawling shanty towns we find in many urban areas. The city sidewalk and public thoroughfare is, not for the first time, the front line in a battle between public and private. The right to camp on public lands, if curtailed, is on some level a blow to sovereignty, especially as more citizens take to the camp grounds.

Stewart Brand was upbeat about all this youthful energy, the vast encampments spreading around great urban concentrations. This might free up a lot more area for pure wilderness, a zoning he favors.

His objections to solar /wind farms are mainly against the plow happy practices of tractor fanatics and their bulldozing cousins. If flowers (sun tracking solar collectors) destroyed property the way those dozers do, we'd have run out of wilderness in no time.

Nature seems to concentrate its stupidest memes in humans for some reason (guinea pigging?). Nature for Dummies is our constant reading, always going over the same lessons, again and again and again. Tsk, I'm sounding not philanthropic again.

Back to those tent city PeopleTowns: here in North America, it might be more senior-boomers, vets, mixed with young families just starting out, already foreclosed upon in our shark infested waters.

America's people are among the least defended against some brands of predator, the military conveniently looking the other way if it's an "intelligence" problem.


The military's ranks and budget actually swell when civilians are driven from their precarious paycheck-to-paycheck perches. Humans get herded into I, Robot prisons and militias, once out of other options.

The schools have yet to catch up, making Food Services struggle without the benefit of much systems analysis or real time control room monitoring.

The Ivory Tower is still hellbent on obliging with killingry science it seems, pandering to an Iron Mountain Economy while neglecting so many critically important student services, providing shelters for example, versus blowing them up.

We can't have strong ethics if we're busy selling out to the Forces of Darkness now can we? Lord of the Rings revisited.

I've wondered if the aerospace sector, with lots of bright people, would be stepping up to the plate the way Bucky planned. Weren't we expecting some experimental prototype community of tomorrow?

Then I realized I still like trains a lot, and maybe the global university extension campus should stretch across rail lines, for PhD programs in history, languages, signals, physics, geology -- you name it.

Not just PhD programs, but future Doctors of Philosophy especially stand to benefit from working on a railroad at some point in their lives. Could be Russian Studies. I'm not saying I'm confidant USAers are capable of self-organizing this creatively -- or they already would have by now, right?

Of course it's not either / or (trains versus planes) and "working on a railroad" easily becomes a metaphor for any dirty job involving a component of physical labor.

Young bodies are especially in need of exercise, aren't designed to just sit around in cube farms, rotting away around water coolers, eating too much meat, depending on air conditioning. School is a travesty if it grooms only Eloi, channeling Morlock tendencies into either pointless athletics or outright predating on other humans (so-called blood sports, "Roman circuses").

You can see some TV stations wanting to move more in that direction, encouraging wars, inflaming both sides to boost ratings, with the producer-militants seeming to encounter little resistance from democracy's last bastions (this gives them encouragement).

Hey, I'm starting to sound like Micheal Sunanda, my hippy co-interviewee in Internet Radioland, on one of those Coast to Coast type twisted alien shows, like those underground comics.

So why is Planet Earth still such a nasty place, why so much misery? The pat answers of the past don't ring so true anymore. The sermons have gone hollow in so many churches (at least Subgenius rants still have some punch).

The poignancy is still there, but its nature has changed, the surrounding storytelling.

It's getting harder to think in terms of pure physical insufficiency anymore (the "too many people" cop out) ever since the Renaissance in Italy, and especially since the 1970s with its Apollo Program and so forth. Humans have the ability to ferry themselves to the moon using small well-insulated capsules. Amazing.

I'm meeting about "EPCOT West" tonight, among other projects (Earthala etc.). You could think of it as a book club for retired science fiction writers if that sounded comforting. Other Tomorrows Network? See you next Esozone maybe?