Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Short Version of The Long Emergency

James Howard Kunstler is the author of The Long Emergency, a single-issue scare tome about the apocalypse that is just around the corner when oil runs out.

If you're curious about it, Kunstler offers his own bullet-pointed summary of his own book on his blog. I don't find much of his scenario plausible, particularly his prediction that an energy shortage will be the death of the entertainment/media industry. Producing movies, music and tv is really a labor intensive, not an energy intensive, enterprise. With today's technology, a great deal of entertainment content can be produced with high standards of quality using small amount of capital, physical resources and energy. Video cameras and similar equipment don't require much electrical energy to operate.

I think what's apparent about Kunstler is that he isn't very well grounded in science and engineering. He's a misanthrope who hates modern culture and not so secretly hopes his peak oil apocalypse will be a kind of secular Noah's flood, punishing us for our decadence and forcing some kind of return to moral rectitude.

"The used car lot of the book world"

Following my recent posts about print-on-demand technology, here's an article about the fate of castoff books. To me, this is a very good demonstration that publishers and bookstores overestimate the public's appetite for books. I will grant that it can also be used by the POD crowd to support their case.

Camille Paglia - Entertainingly Fatuous

Camille Paglia is a true media age celebrity, known more for her personality and packaged reputation that precedes her than for her intellectual content. Nobody could seem to finish reading her big, serious book (yeah, I forgot the title). Her shorter form writing seems to land between casual criticism and gossip. She has returned to to resume her column there, and I found two of her observations typically ludicrous.

But Edwards is a ferocious, knife-sharp debater with foxy, seat-of-the-pants smarts, and I hope he creams his opponents.

John Edwards kept his knife firmly sheathed during his 2004 debate with Dick Cheney, who trounced Edwards. Edwards supposedly brilliant debating skills and trial lawyering forensic acumen had been touted for months by political pundits, so his pathetic shortfall in the debate was jaw dropping to me. When Cheney accused him of never being in the Senate chambers, Edwards had no answer. When Cheney attacked Edwards for using a dummy coporation for his law firm to reduce Medicare payments, a story that Salon ran at least a month before the debate, Edwards had no prepared answer.

[Anna Nicole] Smith had genuine talent but no place to put it.

Houston to Camille, please execute your reentry burn and return to Earth.

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