Oceanic Slime

Really? That’s a tough topic to address, but I do want to point everyone to a remarkable article by the very readable science scribe Elizabeth Kolbert in last week’s New Yorker on the “Darkening Seas”… details how atmospheric CO2 doesn’t just hang around in the air but is steadily mixing into the oceans (of course), leading to a slow acidification of the seas. This will lead to a steady collapse of thousands of species, maybe compromising the entire seaborne food chain, leading to the re-emergence of … oceanic slime!… ick.

Somehow oceans are more on my mind lately. When I buy fish I always have this glimmer that maybe some year soon I won’t be able to find fish anymore. And we live at the edge of the continent, oceans are supposed to rise (they do in my novel!), and we’re going to be feeling that preponderant presence of blind, wrathful oceanic energy more and more in coming years. To say nothing of crazy storms, diminishing water and food supplies, and any other of a long line of catastrophic fantasies that lurk beneath consciousness every day.

I get out as much as I can, riding up and down our lovely hills. The other day I took a hike with a friend up Oak Canyon on San Bruno Mountain, ending up at the summit where the marine layer kept the whole view shrouded in gray. I love the sense of being in the weather I get from these long hill journeys, whether on foot or bike. Here’s a shot of the big view, then a close up of how lush parts of this canyon are.

This is what I was told could be known as the “indian kitchen” just on the creek bed next to an ancient shellmound. It’s one of those resonant spots where history forces itself into the forefront of your mind as thousands of years of pleasant living preceded our visit to this apparently forgotten spot on a much-neglected local ecological treasure. (We’re having a Winter Talk on San Bruno Mountain at CounterPULSE on January 31, as part of our Nature in the City series.)

Anyway, I’ve been up to the top of Twin Peaks a half dozen times in the past couple of weeks too. Some of the sunsets lately have been breathtaking, but here’s a view from the north peak that I have only climbed once in a while after cycling up.

I’m staring into the sun for this shot, but notice the lovely couple sharing wine and cheese overlooking the city just a bit further east… typical but not, too…

Reading around a lot, as usual. I’ve been checking out “Rough Type” lately and thought he hit a particularly good point in this post. If you don’t have time to take in his whole look at someone else’s argument about the conversion of MySpace from a social networking experience into another marketing device, here’s his wrap-up:

“The big story may not be that the Net gives individuals the power of corporations, but that it gives corporations the power of individuals. What is the marketer’s dream but to have a product speak to each of us intimately, as a friend? In being “reduced to packages of information,” are we simply making ourselves easier to parse and to control? Are we the ones who are being flattened?”

er, uh, well, yes! Wasn’t that obvious all along? He looks at the book From Counterculture to Cyberculture, which I haven’t read yet, but apparently it’s another one of those enthusiastic analyses, a la Wired, that embraces digital libertarianism as a logical and proper outcome for all the social experimentation that emerged three decades ago. As usual, most of the radical possibilities that were kickstarted during that time, many of which are still quite alive and in development, get lost in the discussion. I’ll have to check out the book before I go into any serious critiques.

A short piece I read in Counterpunch called “The Immateriality of the Working Class” managed to avoid getting bogged down in the many theoretical arguments surrounding that idea and just points out that our notion of working class is terribly obsolete… a point I welcome since I’m making a similar argument in my forthcoming book.

Bopping around the web, my city, my head… Still always feeling that curious vertigo that accompanies a sense of lonely isolation, but glad for my many friends, plethora of activities and engagements, and that I never get bored with life at this crazy historic moment… as barbaric and unacceptable as much of it is, it’s dang interesting too!

I got a call while riding around a couple of days ago to check out a just altered billboard and grabbed this photo of it at Andover and Cortland in Bernal Heights. Another easy bushbash, but fairly well done…

1 comment to Oceanic Slime

  • (hibiscus)

    i like the idea of this as “the overdeveloped world.” it reminds me of my favorite fairy tale, goldilocks and the three levels of industrialization. “this mechanical assistance dependency is just right.”

    yeah i’ve been trying to advance the notion that we’re slow on our environmental feet because so many caring people are in 20-yr hock and too nervous to budge.

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