THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR LOVELOCK

OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE CO2   James Lovelock is the much honoured British scientist famous for a beautiful and irresistible idea known as the Gaia hypothesis. Lovelock is a self-made man in the best tradition of scientists of a previous age. His parents were too poor to send him to […]

THE CARBON EPIPHANY

Whirl up, sea — whirl your pointed pines, splash your great pines on our rocks, hurl your green over us, cover us with your pools of fir. (Oread, by H. D.) Carbon is the element of life, common to all known life-forms. Its unique and astonishing properties make life possible. With four electrons available for covalent […]

THE FABULOUS PANTHER

OF CATS AND CONSPIRACIES    The Orpheus Pavement (detail)   “The idea of leopards still living in Europe is very powerful. Every year a new and ferocious creature turns up in England, one that exists only in newspaper columns, vividly imprecise eyewitness reports, blurry photographs of black pussy cats and our eternal appetite for monsters: […]

McLUHAN IN MANHATTAN

“The tactic of the terrorist model is to provoke a surplus of reality and to make the whole system collapse under it.” — Jean Baudrillard, The Spirit of Terrorism (2002).   ∆   Baudrillard’s work is coolly psychedelic, giving us the same sense of dizzying replication that we love in doppelgänger stories and much science fiction. […]

SACRAMENT, MALEFICE, SORCERY

DOUBLETHINK AS AN ART FORM ∆ “Abstraction today is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer […]

THE REALITY-BASED COMMUNITY

‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.’ These words are from a brief but memorable conversation the journalist Ron Suskind had with Karl Rove, who was the chief political adviser and Machiavellian ‘teacher of tricks’ to the Bush dynasty. He had a way with words, and these particular ones […]

ENTER THE PSEUDO-GANG

Dissimulation has been at the heart of the terrorist tactic from the beginning. If you terrorise people, you will only solidify the political resistance against your aims — making it impossible for elected officials to entertain your demands. Terrorism, therefore, is not an effective tool, and terrorists rarely realise their aims. It is only effective […]