World For All

Friday, April 22, 2005

End of Suburbia!

Saw this interesting documentary titled 'End of Suburbia' - it was about the Oil crisis that is too close and impact that it will have on way of living in US. It tells about the Suburban living which essentially has prospered because of the cheap availability of oil in the past many decades. As oil production 'peaks', expected to happen between 2005 and 2007, after that the demand of oil will continue to go up with China and India's growing economy, but there will be no way to increase the Oil Production, however much money you invest in exploration.

Documentary describes this peaking theory which was first introduced in around 1960 and was not believed. One of the predictions was that Oil production will peak in US in 1970s and second prediction was that global production will peak in 1990s. While not believed initially in 1960s, reality hit home when US production really peaked in early 1970s. Documentary goes onto say that Global peaking got delayed by a decade or so because of the Energy crisis of 1970s which slowed down the oil consumption!

Amongst the impacts, one of the big impacts can be on the way we consume. To take the example from the Documentary itself, consumers will find it costly to cosnume 'caesar salad' transported across the country currently because of the cheap oil and instead will seek more locally grown/produced goods. Transition may be tough as our markets have been transformed that they have no level of self-sufficiency but costlier oil may be an incentive to go back and build more of those linked and self-sufficient local markets.

On Housing, which you can guess from the Title, it says that smart Urban development may be the way to go in future. There will be shared transportation infrastructure and local markets, etc.

On the alternatives to oil as source of energy, it mentions that none of them are close to becoming real alternative and we have pretty short time before the problem will hit us hard! However, optimism was shared that like all times in the past, human mind is capable of solving the problems in a way that cannot be seen much in advance! So, for all you know, twenty years from now, we may be looking a giant discovery/invention that took us out of the energy crisis!

All in all - interesting to watch, if you have interest in this topic!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Noam Chmosky -- Must listen/read!

I saw a DVD on Noam Chmosky - 'Manufactirung Consent' - and became an instant fan of him! He is MIT Professor of Linguisitics and has done some excellent work there but he is sought after Speaker more for his Political views. He is considered Ultra-Leftist but the better thing is if you listen to him for sufficient time (you need to give him enough time to explain his views as they are so out of the ordinary that you would not have thought like that and will not like/agree when he initially makes the comment - but as he explains, it becomes very clear why he is saying something!)

Some of his views are (I don't necessarily agree with them - but it is amazing how he explains these):

- " If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged. " http://www.chomsky.info/talks/1990----.htm

- His contempt for the two political parties is visible in this " Elections Run by Same Guys Who Sell Toothpaste " http://www.chomsky.info/talks/2005012502.htm

- He is Jewish but is against the Israeli "terrorism" against the Palestinians!

What is evident after a seeing a number of his interviews and programs on him is that lots of people who take position against him do not even understand why he has said something or done something - there are a number of examples that I found but this is the best http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky#The_Faurisson_affair
Faurisson, a French Professor, had said something stupid about Holocaust and all that Noam Chmosky wanted was that 'Right to Freedom of speech' should be given to Faurisson. And, what lots of people blame is that Noam Chomsky "supports the views expressed by Faurisson"! What can be more ridiculous?

Similarly, when Noam Chmosky expresses his views against NAFTA (as the current NAFTA is) - it becomes controversial - without waiting for Chmosky to explain that there were alternate possibilities to create the NAFTA and the one that was chosen was not the right one for people (instead it was good for the investors)!

I spent a lot of time going through audio/video/written material about him and was simply fascinated. If you need more info - www.chomsky.info can be a good starting point. Wikipedia has good information as well on him http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky and if you a BitTorrents user then you will be delighted to see a large number of them available at http://www.chomskytorrents.org/

And something that he emphasizes a lot and I feel that is true - He loves USA a lot and do not get confused when he expresses his contempt for those in power (Government and Media). And he has a number of things that he points very clearly that only US offers ('Right to Freedom of Speech' being at the top).