Squid profit from global warming

We may not like it, us poor folk in the Netherlands especially, but squid apparantely thrive on global warming, overtaking humans in biomass. Not only are there more squid, according to Dr George Jackson from the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean they are also getting bigger:

“Many of the species have exponential growth, particularly during the juvenile stage so if you increase the water temperature by even a degree it has a tremendous snowballing effect of rapidly increasing their growth rate and their ultimate body size.

“They get much bigger and they can mature earlier and it just accelerates everything.”

The squid not only thrive on global warming, but also due to more direct interference by us. Since we seem intent on hunting their predators like tuna, to extinction, as well as their direct competitors, various finfish, squid can expand enormously. A good thing perhaps for them, not so good for the oceans’ ecology.

Also not good, the reports about Humboldt squid moving north into the waters around Alaska, when normally the furthest north they come is San Francisco. these squid are normally warm water animals, not suitable for living in colder waters (and indeed dying off in large numbers). The worry is, that this is happening because the warm water currents in the Pacific Ocean are shifting. And squid aren’t the only sea animals being found far north of their usual habitat: both thresher and great white sharks, as well as a hard-shell turtle and a jack mackarel have been sighted in Alaska recently…

Dead Men Left on The Guardian

James over at Dead Men Left has the perfect description of The Guardian’s attitude towards the US:

I think they see Americans as something like the rest of us see spiders: fine when behaving themselves and sitting quietly in the corner, but bloody terrifying when zooming around unpredictably at high speed, with no easy option but to stand on a chair and scream. It’s not an unreasonable fear if either beast should arrive with guns, I suppose, but the best thing to do with the particular breed of Republican spider the Guardian has run foul of is to follow the traditional rememdy: trap them in a box with a piece of paper and throw them outside the front door; or, failing that, end the occupation of Iraq.

Power of Nightmares BitTorrent

A little bird told me someone has put up a torrent of the first episode of The power of Nightmares. You need to get a BitTorrent client first to be able to download it. If you haven’t seen it yet and especially if you are in the USA, download it, watch it and let your friends watch it.

Another political download available via BitTorrent: Eminem’s MOSH video

(BitTorrent is yet another kind of Peer to Peer client, which works without central servers of any kind. Every time you start a bittorrent download, you immediately start sharing this with others, which also means you do not have to depend on any given user to have the file you want, as long as some users have it. A better explenation is available at the BitTorrent site.)

The power of nightmares, part 2

Vaara says what I’ve been noticing as well about the simularities between the neocons and the Al Quaida tendency as shown in the power of nightmare documentary:

What really struck me about this show is the extent to which both ideologies — the Muslims and “Team B” — share certain characteristics. For example, the belief in fear as a way of motivating populations to behave a certain way. And a certain devotion to violence. But most profoundly, the Straussians and the Islamists are both wedded to the idea that individualism and liberal democracy are evil. And that what is required for the construction of a safe, stable society is the complete elimination of the Other.

Meanwhile, Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber has responded to a ridiculous column by David “cruisemissile liberal” Aaronovitch which asserts that this documentary claims that Al Quaida is a myth:

It is hard to know exactly where Curtis will go next, but I expect him to argue that whilst Islamic terrorist groups certainly exist (who could deny that!) they don’t constitute a co-ordinated international network (AQ+ Hamas + Hezbollah, etc etc) of the kind that is often suggested. He’ll probably suggest that such “links” as are claimed are largely an artefact of similar propaganda to that behind the last “international terror network”. Anyone who has followed the pathetic attempts by figures like the Daily Telegraph’s Con Coughlin to demonstrate a Saddam-AQ link will probably suspect he has a point.

Chris is skeptical about what is going to be the subject of the second episode in the series, about the Muhajedin war in Afghanistan against the USSR and the neocon’s supposed influence on this:

For example, next week’s episode is supposed to be about the neocons and the Islamic fundamentalists joining forces to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, as if this was a project dreamed up in the neocons’ heads. But the idea of drawing them into a war in Afghanistan was conceived not by the neocons but by Zbigniew Brzezinski under the Carter administration.

I’m skeptical about this as well, having read George Crile’s excellent if somewhat naive book My Enemy’s Enemy, which demonstrated that in fact the funding for the Afghan resistance movement came from Congress and from Democratic members of Congress in fact rather than from the Reagan government or the neocons. The latter Crile showed were more enamoured of the Contras in Nicaragua. (In fact, the fuckup there seems to be much more a neocon hallmark than the relative succesful campaign in Afghanistan, even if the followup there after the soviets left was non-existent.)

The power of nightmares

The BBC today broadcasted the first episode in a series of three about
The Power of Nightmares
, which is intended as an explenation of how the current climate of fear came about and how this is largely an illusion:

This series shows dramatically how the idea that we are threatened by a hidden and organised terrorist network is an illusion. It is a myth that has spread unquestioned through politics, the security services and the international media. At the heart of the story are two groups: the American neoconservatives and the radical Islamists. Both were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. These two groups have changed the world but not in the way either intended. Together they created today’s nightmare vision of an organised terror network. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. Those with the darkest fears became the most powerful.

At first, this sounded like too little, too late, but having watched the first episode now, it was actually quite good. A clear concise look at how those two very different groups, the US neocons and radical conservative Islamists of the Bin Laden type came to be and came into power. It was …interesting to see how Michael Ledeen, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and all the other neocon bitplayers were up to the same shit in the seventies, the same hyping of an apocalyptic confrontation between good and evil, pursuing the same stupidities we now see displayed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What this documentary confirmed for me were two things. First, as the blurb above says, that the neocons were and are not motivated just by polical and material gain, but are idealists, followers of a warped and moral bankrupt ideology true, but still idealists. The second, how much they assume the world revolves around themselves. Not just in their monumental arrogance, but in the way they imagine everything that happens in the world is aimed at them, is about them. It cannot be that people have legitamite grievances, or are fighting their own conflicts; it all has to be part of either a massive Soviet conspiracy (then) or a massive Islamic Jihad (now).

The other interesting thing this documentary made clear is how similar the underlying impulse is behind the neocon and Islamist movements. Both are afraid of freedom, to put it simplistic. Both are created by people who want rigid structures in their life, who cannot deal with the freedom even a late capitalist society offers. Its an impulse that is at the fundament of every authoritarian movement, whether it calls itself conservative, Islamistic, Christian, fascist or even communist. It can even be found in libertarianism.

It is an attitude that should be anathema to real socialists, as it goes right against one of socialism’s central concepts: that people are capable of governing themselves and do not need structure or guidance from above, do need to be lied to. Which is why I’m surprised that some who still call themselves socialists can actually support the neocon adventures.