Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Climate Change and How Jodie Foster Met Aliens

This is barely computer related, but it is tech-related, and well I don't have spot for this other than my original Facebook note, so enjoy.

I've only seen part of the movie Contact: because I read the book beforehand, and I didn't want it spoiled by the obvious changes that had to be made post-Cold War. Carl Sagan's "Contact" came out as a book back in 1985, positing a challenge of how a divided world would handle the arrival of alien blueprints for a machine. The world did rise up to build the machine: several in fact; except because of setbacks it collaborated on an American-based project that had mixed results. The Americans wanted something for the trouble: what they got was a scientist blabbing about meeting an alien like her Dad, nothing else substantial; they locked her up in an observatory for life (meanwhile, the Russians were hailed as heroes for meeting aliens).

Okay, what does that have to do with Climate Change/Global Warming? Well, the book mentions that despite the Americans thinking the machine was a joke, the aliens a hoax, they still went on to create new machines and industries based on the alien transmissions. Even now as we make Al Gore our next "Ellie" and say he's doing the eco-stuff for money, we're switching to lower wattage bulbs, efficient computers, less-wasteful buildings, and less waste in general to process. The "solar and wind that will never work" are being slowly integrated into the global economy: in fact I believe Thomas Friedman loves to make a point that the largest producers of this tech hail from China and Germany.

What amazes me even more is people's defense to do more of the same. I read some comments regarding use of limos at Copenhagen: the Danes are expected to calculate and offset those emissions, and people were still commenting on "liberal elitism" and to "drill drill drill." Its not okay for Al Gore to make money on investing in his ideals, yet its entirely permissible for the oil magnates to generate record profits? I remember learning in Economics and Junior Achievement that you take your profits and stockholder investments to MAKE stuff, not to TAKE their money and do whatever you damn well please with it. Where are the business people standing up to invest in new tech, vs drawing out as long as possible to do the same old extraction business, and spend money to fight any change to it? At least that's what we're doing here.

So China's building solar panels, wind farms are popping up overseas, and we're chasing around Obama and Gore with pitchforks about the fraud called Global Warming. (sigh) Maybe Sagan was onto something 24 years ago.

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