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Re: <nettime> A Progressive Response to Katrina [4x]
nettime's progressive weathermen on Sat, 10 Sep 2005 12:18:22 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> A Progressive Response to Katrina [4x]

Table of Contents:

   Re: <nettime> A Progressive Response to Katrina                                 
     "tobias c. van Veen" <tobias {AT} techno.ca>                                         

   Re: <nettime> A Progressive Response to Katrina                                 
     John Hopkins <jhopkins {AT} commspeed.net>                                           

   Re: <nettime> A Progressive Response to Katrina                                 
     richard {AT} imaginaryfutures.net                                                    

   Re: <nettime> A Progressive Response to Katrina                                 
     "E. Miller" <subscriptionbox {AT} squishymedia.com>                                  


Date: Thu, 08 Sep 2005 18:47:34 -0400
From: "tobias c. van Veen" <tobias {AT} techno.ca>
Subject: Re: <nettime> A Progressive Response to Katrina

> Give
> us the vision of JFK, not the muddle of Foucault.  We need it now.

1. Send a man to the moon.

2. Attack the Bay of Pigs.



Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2005 16:05:38 -0700
From: John Hopkins <jhopkins {AT} commspeed.net>
Subject: Re: <nettime> A Progressive Response to Katrina

Hallo Michael et al...

Just a brief reflection on two of your points:

>* The levees must be restored much stronger, adequate for a much more intense


>* The Mississippi must be ecologically restored in a more sustainable manner;

I would suggest that these two demands are mutually exclusive, if one 
proceeds in a similar way as is the case in most (all?) previous 
Corps of Engineer manipulation of the natural landscape.

The entire Mississippi River basin stretching north 2000 Km to 
Minneapolis has already been completely modified with levee systems 
that, instead of mitigating the flooding in times of 
higher-than-average precipitation has often made the ensuing damage 
greater.  Of course, the narrow view where levee and water management 
systems protect the short-term interests of developers and other 
powerful interest groups is the most common view.

The fact remains, VERY often, when humans engineer the landscape, 
there are long-term consequences.

A simple example would  be the damming of the Colorado River above 
the Grand Canyon.  30 years after the completion of the massive 
upstream Glen Canyon Dam, people began to notice that the river in 
the Grand Canyon had lost most of the sand bars which formed an 
integral part of the entire ecosystem (because the dam stopped all 
sedimentation and allowed only water to flow).  In the last decade 
there have been  managed attempts to restore those sand bars via 
controlled flooding but these are not really working (as a simulation 
of the natural system).  Another effect of damming is the creation of 
a 130-meter-deep lake, the water that is allowed to pass through is 
about 5-10 degrees C COLDER than the normal water temperature.  This 
has either killed off native species of fish or at least put them 
into extreme endangerment.  Basically, the entire ecosystem of the 
Canyon has been disrupted.

An interesting side note -- The Colorado River carries a tremendous 
sediment load (thus the name of the river) -- it is estimated that 
the Glen Canyon Dam and other dams on the river will actually become 
redundant as they will completely fill with that sediment within a 
few decades.  In addition, the planting of non-native tamarisk (a 
Eurasian plant) for the "benign" purpose of erosion control has lead 
to its spread up every single riparian river environment in the West. 
It displaces all native plants!  http://www.tamariskcoalition.org/

Again, when humans intervene in the environment, there is always a 
powerful and compelling short-term argument that claims enormous 
benefits.  Long term effects are seldom considered or even imagined. 
The short-term benefits of damming the Colorado were/are to provide 
electricity to cities in the west -- but the question is, is it 
better to make hydro power and destroy the river or to build tens of 
massive coal-fired generating stations (that have reduced the air 
clarity in the west from 120 miles to under 50 miles in 30 years 
time).  Or maybe we have to stop wasting energy as a culture (oh 
please don't bring that option up!!)

There is an excellent and well-researched book "Cadillac Desert: The 
American West and Its Disappearing Water" by Marc Reisner which 
traces the development of water resources (rivers, aquifers, even 
rain clouds!) in the West of the US.  There are plenty of examples of 
COMPLETE environmental disasters which have already happened or are 
continuing to develop right now.  Although it does not cover the 
Mississippi Basin, it does illustrate the mindset of the Corps of 
Engineers and the US govt.

One might conclude that this argument makes the permanent existence 
of New Orleans a lost cause.  And maybe that is the simple truth, 
that people are in a place that they shouldn't be -- or, dependent on 
a federal infrastructure, that they have to accept the consequences 
when it fails.  Build larger levees, and when they break in the 
soon-to-be-unleashed Cat 6! storm, and the destruction will be just 
that much more intense.  "The bigger they come, the harder they 
fall," to borrow from Jimmy Cliff.  The harder that humans resist or 
distort natural energy systems, the greater the intensity of the 
failure of that resistance.  I think that the natural system is such 
that it will always overcome any human resistance in the long run...

Problem is that the folks making the decisions on these manipulations 
of natural systems often never feel the consequences when they fail; 
it is usually the poor and marginal people who get shafted.

And, if you think New Orleans was a disaster -- just wait until the 
next major earthquake in either northern or southern California.  All 
water is piped in, and all water pipes cross major fault zones.  13 
million people start gunning very quickly with they are thirsty!


John Hopkins
- -- 
- -~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
tech-no-mad::hypnostatic:: with a shattered spine on a slow mend
domain: http://neoscenes.net
travelog: http://neoscenes.net/travelog/weblog.php
- -~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Date: Fri,  9 Sep 2005 18:34:30 +0100
From: richard {AT} imaginaryfutures.net
Subject: Re: <nettime> A Progressive Response to Katrina


> Give
> us the vision of JFK, not the muddle of Foucault.

JFK?! He was the geezer who almost blew up the planet rather than let Cuba
become independent of America - and he also prepared the way for the US
invasion of Vietnam. Foucault was undoubtedly a lousy philospher, but, as far
as I know, he didn't kill large numbers of lefties like JFK did...




Date: Fri, 09 Sep 2005 12:30:25 -0700
From: "E. Miller" <subscriptionbox {AT} squishymedia.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> A Progressive Response to Katrina

Sure, JFK wasn't a progressive by modern standards; it was almost 50 years
ago, after all, and they were fighting the cold war.  My point was that he
helped move American society from the pervasive conservatism of the
Eisenhower 50s to the massive cultural shifts of the 60s, and he did it in
part by inspiring people with progressive ideals.  "Ask not what your
country can do for you..." and so on.

By contrast, our "Bush is yucky, the world is awful, tax cuts are bad, now
eat your spinach" approach isn't exactly going over well with the


On 9/9/05 10:34 AM, "richard {AT} imaginaryfutures.net"
<richard {AT} imaginaryfutures.net> wrote:

> Hiya,


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