Global Warming about to cool Down?

With release of a news report stating that the earth is entering a cooling phase it seems to this radish that the confusion about global warming will only continue. Global warming is of course an immensely complex debate filled with internal inconsistencies, conflicting data and competing ideologies. To the average observer it is very hard to determine whether one is experiencing the normal fluctuations in the weather cycle or long term changes. For example it is quite easy to confuse Australia’s current drought with the issue of global warming. Whereas the drought is more likely to be consistent with the EL Nino and La Nina cycles. Are we experiencing rising temperatures or the coolest decade on record? Of course its not for this radish to say, but what I dislike is the conflation of the global warming debate with environmental issues in general. As a vegetable I have a pretty invested interest in caring for the earth and I’m not just referring to carbon credits. All the debate surrounding this issue has served to distract us from other important issues, including but not limited to pollution of our air, waterways and earth, the build up of toxins in the air, water and soil, acid rain, decimation of our forests, over fishing, species extinction, land clearing and depressingly the list goes on.

The radical radish wants to see an environmental discussion that considers the issues holistically and is not side lined by the carbon/energy/fuel crisis, which while an important component for ecological consideration is far from being the whole story.

While searching for informative links FYI I come across this gem of an article describing a bet between a British scientist and two Russian scientists who are ‘climate change skeptics’. It is ideas like this that keep this radish cynical:

He also suggests setting up a financial-style futures market to allow those with critical stakes in the outcome of climate change to gamble on predictions and hedge against future risk.

There’s a solution, turn it into a financial futures market just to guarantee that no matter what happens somebody will benefit. Bet that the world is going to warm up and now you have a vested interest in ensuring that it does, now there’s a way to motivate the world to change its environmentally destructive ways. But nobody asks me I’m just a wee radish living near a compost heap.


What do Corey Worthington and Miley Cyrus have in common?

Not being a big TV watcher here in the vege patch I was going to leave the whole Corey Worthington thing well alone. I don’t watch Big Brother so I was of course not going to bother with BB08 and made my opinion clear here. But the comments of others who like to engage with pop culture more than this radish made me rethink my stance. Perhaps this radical radish was being more hypocritical than critical in its thinking. So one blog led to another and now I feel confident enough to discuss Corey with more empathy and less vitriol then I otherwise would have.

Miley Cyrus posed for Vanity Fair wearing nothing but sheets and was made to apologise to the public for her foolishness. The 15 year old Hannah Montana star was made to apologise by Disney in order to minimise any PR damage to their brand. Of course neither Vanity Fair nor any of Miley’s minders who let this happen were made to apologise. So a young girl is manipulated into a compromising position and she is the one that has to say sorry. This story got me all riled up. It is very easy to view this story with a feminist lens and rage against the sexualisation of the young, the PR maneuvering by Disney who are attempting to keep her image ‘clean’, the way in which the photo shot plays up to societal expectations of young girls as readily available sex objects (alright I haven’t seen the pics, and they may be ‘artsy’ as claimed, but theres a pretty unambiguous symbolism in a picture of a teenage girl naked between sheets), but interestingly enough I have realised that the Corey story is actually quite similar. Maybe minus the sex.

So Corey throws a party that gets out of control. Then the media gets hold of the story and things get further out of control. Corey, the unrepentant party boy, is loved by some and loathed by others. Promoter Max Markson sees potential in the media exposure Corey received and Corey was taught to DJ and perform at parties set up by Max. Then, the big score, Max does a deal with channel Ten that sees Corey do a stint in the Big Brother house timed to coincide with the releases of his single, a cover of (what else could it be), The Beastie Boys ‘You gotta fight for your right to party’.

Well upon hearing that Corey was going on BB didn’t this radish get indignant, just like half of Australia it seems. (Here is an example of some of the opprobrium directed at Corey). But now I realise that Corey’s image is no more real than Miley’s image. Disney spins a clean cut image presentable for family viewing, and protects this image from the taint of a sexy photo shot. Vanity Fair wants to present a different type of image entirely, one designed to sell magazines. And A Current Affair, the Telegraph, and Big Brother are marketing a one dimensional image of the out of control youth, designed to manipulate our fears or play to our expectations about ‘the youth of today’ so that we will buy newspapers and CD singles, and keep our eyes glued to the tele. I have realised love him or loathe him, it is two sides to the same coin. We are reacting to a media image designed to sell a product. I don’t know Corey, and I hope that he, like Miley has someone to look after him and and help him deal with the fall out from all this media exposure and exploitation. Because that’s what these two teenagers have in common, exploitation by an uncaring media intent on selling copy.

Techutopian quote of the day

BBC reports this story about the origins of the Internet and the vision for the future. According to one of the Web’s developers, its only the begining.

Sir Tim predicted that the web’s ability to engender collaboration could one day see the web being used to help manage the planet.

“What’s exciting is that people are building new social systems, new systems of review, new systems of governance.

“My hope is that those will produce… new ways of working together effectively and fairly which we can use globally to manage ourselves as a planet.”

Ahh the technological utopian dream. There is nothing wrong with the beautiful dream of a better life through technology, but this humble radish thinks that technology has helped to create a few of the problems on the great big blue marble we share (global warming anyone?) and technology is not going to be the panacea for all our stuff ups.

Update:  Of course I’m not saying that the internet is all bad, I luv the ‘net (hence this blog), but you know it has its problems

The Austrian ‘haus’ of horror

If only it were too bizarre to be true, but its being talked about everywhere. An Austrian man had his daughter locked in a dungeon for over twenty years and fathered seven children to her. A BBC news report examines the issues.

Politicians by the dozen now issue appeals to the public not to look the other way in the future.

Similar appeals have been made in all the other three cases since 1996 where girls have been found in confinement, in a coffin, in a closet and – in the case of Natascha Kampusch – in a dungeon for eight years.

The public seems to be confused at the moment about where to draw the line between undue interference in somebody else’s affairs and heightened sensibility to possible abuse and crime in the neighbourhood.

The Radical Radish agrees, yes, this horrific case raises important questions about the public / private debate, how much attention do we need to pay to what’s going on behind closed doors, but perhaps there are also larger issues at play here. Are our communities so disconnected and fragmented that these type of crimes can be committed within their midst? In Austria this is the fourth case of this nature in twelve years.

The Radical Radish feels that this case is a vivid illustration of the type of abuse that feminism aims to eradicate. This case is not merely one twisted father behaving in a despicable manner, this case, it could be argued, is a reflection of the belief that women are to be valued as nothing more than readily available sex objects. Radical Radish understands that there are violent women out there also, but there is something about this case that reflects the patriarchal presumptions of power and value that continue to shape our cultural worldview. Men, in general and as a gender, do not have to worry about this sort of thing happening to them. But the sad reality is that the fear of rape is a harsh reality for many women. It has been argued elsewhere that the war on women never ends. It is for this reason that the Radical Radish is an avowed feminist and believes that feminism is both necessary and relevant today.