Hello Cruel World
Saturday, September 30, 2006

A poem
Nothing has changed.
The body shudders as it shuddered
before the founding of Rome and after,
in the twentieth century before and after Christ.
Tortures are just as they were, only the earth has grown smaller,
and what happens sounds as if it's happening in the next room.
      — Wislawa Szymborska



Wednesday, September 27, 2006
A Darker, Smaller, World

God damn.
"Fair? You're in the wrong universe for fair."

John M. Ford, 1957-2006

     Mike Ford: Occasional Works (Pt. One)
     Mike Ford: Occasional Works (Pt. Two)
     Mike Ford: Occasional Works (Pt. Three)
     Mike Ford: Occasional Works (Pt. Four)
     Mike Ford: Occasional Works (Pt. Five)
     Mike Ford: Occasional Works (Pt. Six)
     Mike Ford: Occasional Works (Pt. Seven)
     Mike Ford: Occasional Works (Pt. Eight)

   And Sign your organ donor card (or non-USA equivalent).
See also the entry for September 11th, below.

UPDATE: Against Entropy (The Society for the Preservation of Mike) — the John M. Ford Book Endowment fund; and: Websnark's appreciation

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Sunday, September 17, 2006
Next Hurdle: Radiotherapy
Having 'stayed the course' (well, six courses) of chemotherapy with highly poisonous cytotoxic chemicals, I now start five weeks of radiotherapy with doses of X-rays planned to wipe out any blossoming remnant cancer cells which survived. Went in to 'planning appointment' to set up series and determine where & what will be zapped. The previous lot of radiotherapy in 2002 only needed three pinpoint tattoos, I suppose because they were just aiming to triangulate onto the tumour itself. To mark out the field this time, they've put on five — making a total of eight tattoos! (Is this still cool? Or are they pretty passe now?)

Photo shows the text markings from the preliminary set-up.
(Earlier post-op photo at April 27 - Pathology)

This therapy wil involve irradiating my left chest from just above the base of my throat down to below where my breast used to be, and around under my left arm. It usually causes a effect rather like sunburn, and fairly severe fatigue. Depending on how my oesophagus &/or trachea get hit by it, I may also get a very sore throat.

Stocked up on some canned soup, congee, and other food & meals that don't need much preparation and won't hurt the throat. I also found a cheap hand-mixer that will help make puree of vegetables & so forth. Today I used it to make a cinnamon tea-cake in my new proper sized cake-tin (um, if you can call a soft silicon mould that) and it worked out really well. My friend & I ate half of it this morning. <burp>, but made healthier sandwiches for lunch, as well as going for a nice long walk. Have to strengthen the body to get ready for the new assault.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Five Years On

110 Stories
by John M. Ford
This is not real. We've seen it all before.
Slow down, you're screaming. What exploded? When?
I guess this means we've got ourselves a war.
And look at -- Lord have mercy, not again ...

Once more, we'll all remember where we were ...

You live, is how you learn that you can cope ...
Remembering: a news flash during the late-night Channel 9 slot of West Wing. Changing channels through the many hours that followed, watching CNN, BBC, whatever feeds were available. A quick call to friend A, who now had a TV, as the news about Washington was confusedly coming through: "This looks serious." The black blossom of smokey dust that burst out as the first tower collapsed, with me caught, frozen in horror, holding to the kitchen door jamb as I'd gone to get a hot drink when the chill, deeper than the simple temperature of a spring night, crept over my nightdressed body. My mind bouncing between sheer pity & terror, speculating the purpose & proponents, worrying what use was going to be made of this, what this distraction would be used to shield. So very sad, now, that so many of my worries and speculations have come to pass. So fearful that more will.

You live, is how you learn that you can cope.

I'm not altogether sure this living counts as coping. It comes and goes.

Five years. So much has happened — deaths & illnesses & moving house — in my life, but this all seems not so long ago. The years spin so quickly past, even as some long nights & days stretch out almost beyond bearing.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Truth & Consequences
"If you're going to tell a story about something true, then make damn sure you get it right."
LiveJournal: Scribblings by Lizbeth (liz_marcs):I Remember Townsend ...
Monday, September 04, 2006
Further Fulminations (Environment more directly)

www.wired.com/ news/ politics/ 0,70405-0.html
Grappling With Climate Change [Wired News]
by Mark Anderson
02:00 AM Mar, 15, 2006

The scientific evidence is now overwhelming that unchecked growth in fossil fuel use throughout the next half-century will produce a global climate catastrophe.

To get a handle on the crisis -- and our options -- Wired News spoke with the authors of three new, comprehensive books on global climate change
Tim Flannery, director of the South Australian Museum and biologist at the University of Adelaide. His new book, The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth
Lester R. Brown, an environmentalist who in January published the second edition of his acclaimed 2003 planetary prescription, Plan B
Elizabeth Kolbert, a staff writer for The New Yorker and author of Field Notes From a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
Flannery: All the projections suggests that we're hitting it. Again, it just gives the added urgency of dealing with the issue today. Every step we take this year will be like the equivalent of five next year or 50 in five years' time -- because it's so relatively inexpensive right now to make the adjustments we need to make.

Just play a little thought game: We're 10 years out now; it's 2016. Sea levels have started to rise quickly. And governments around the world are spending even more money than they are now in defending their low-lying areas. How much is the U.S. spending right now in New Orleans? Imagine that cost replicated right around the southern and eastern coast of the U.S. And partly on the West Coast, too.

Imagine oil prices twice or three times what they are today. Imagine the increased problems of hurricanes and insurance losses at the same time. And imagine the problems of water availability as well, because we're getting a lot of extreme weather. That all adds up to a society under enormous stress. Is that society going to have the resources to invest in the new energy infrastructure that we need to build in order to eventually diminish those problems? Because changing energy infrastructure won't help sea-level rise for half a century. It won't help defend your city against this immediately rising ocean.

That's why I say acting now while we have the luxury of relatively inexpensive means of making these changes is all-important. In 10 years' time, we may not have the luxury of money and time to think about these things. And to act.

- - - - - - - -
[But then you see comments like this one below.]
resilience.geog.mcgill.ca/ blog/ index.php/ 2005/ 11/ 03/ tipping-points-in-the-earth-system-an-icon-of-climate-change

- - - - - - - -
"Tim Flannery, for instance, has stated that should the ice caps melt, sea levels would rise by 80 metres. This theory can be easily debunked with an experiment in your own bathtub"
Please tell us what bathtub experiment you are thinking of.

The Antarctic ice sheet is 14,425,000 km² average 3 km deep (That's about twice the area of Australia), the Greenland ice sheet is 1,755,637 km² avg 1-2 km deep

I'm not sure of the size of permanent ice areas on the continents of North America and Eurasia -- look for things like Global Snow Cover at visibleearth.nasa.gov. Obviously all of these completely melting would be close to the worst-case scenario, rather than what we hope is more likely. If the 80 metre rise figure is quoted accurately, I assume this is where it's from. But what is your point? Are you saying that Dr Flannery is predicting this is likely to happen? That's obviously not what I heard.

Even without extra water flowing from these into the oceans, the actual bulk of the existing water would be greater if the average overall global temperature rises, because water expands as it heats. Of course as more energy is being retained in the local systems, what tends to happen is the hot gets hotter, the cold gets colder, the dry drier, wet wetter, winds & storms stronger & more frequent, while the areas each of these apply to shift. Remembering Chaos Theory, demanding exact reliable small-scale predictions is disingenuously malevolent; frequently a sign either of the astroturf shill using Standard Operating Procedure, or ideologues defending the ideology that they hope will supply them with enough money to insulate themselves from any disasters, or ... I truly don't understand why.

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 / . Lives in Australia/New South Wales/Sydney, speaks English. Eye color is hazel. I am what my mother calls unique. My interests are photography, reading, natural history/land use, town planning, sustainability.

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Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.