Thursday 22 November 2007

Columnize my randomness, Part 6

The reasoning behind taking "European Energy Policies"? I know nothing about Energy. I am really, really bad at everything concerning the European Union, which reflects in the grades I get in that area of political science. So I should try to learn, right? To find about things I know nothing about? Turns out, there is a good reason why I have been ignorant so far. Apparantly, I am physically unable to be interested in Energy Policy. I am perfectly able to imagine a climate-catastrophe-related end of Civilizations-scenario in a fictional sense, but everything concerning politics, well, nah. Sometimes, I even get as angry at the energy-discourse as I do when it comes to healthy food: Well, guess who can afford to put solar cells on their roofs? PEOPLE WHO CAN AFFORD TO BUY A HOUSE. Everybody else has to rely on different sources, and the cheapest apartments have the least efficient and most precarious heating systems.

You might still find interesting information about energy here:

The Energy and Environment Data Reference Bank of the IAEO, where you can find out that France relies on 78 % Nuclear Power and Austria has a share of 64 % in renewable energy.

The Energy Page of the European Commission

The EurActiv page on Energy

Anyway, let's just not talk about it. Let's talk about pop culture.

Pitchfork has an interview with Ellen Page ("Hard Candy") on the soundtrack of her new film, Juno, which features Cat Power, Belle & Sebastian, Kimya Dawson and The Kinks. Apart from those things, Michael Cera from Arrested Development plays the male lead. So. My favourite part of the interview:

Pitchfork: What did you use Cat Power for?

EP: I've used Cat Power a few times, I guess. I don't know, now it feels oddly personal. It's funny how almost shy I feel about revealing it.

And, finally, a magazine-tip: Try to get the recent issue of liga, which is published by the "Österreichische Liga für Menschenrechte". The topic is "Überwachung", there is a really interesting report on a Call Center in Dakar where Senegalese workers have to pretend to be French. Try calling the Windows Help Center, or Apple, or something, and ask the person that answers where she or he currently is. Then imagine a huge building in Asia or Africa where each corner is dedicated to one specific language and an entire cultural elite of well-educated people does nothing but answering calls from all over the world. And pretends to be from anywhere else. They might be to the year 2007 what the bike couriers were to the late Nineties. A group of workers on which the paradox of globalisation becomes visible.

Oh, and because it kind of seems to fit: PopMatters has a really interesting article about cyberpunk and what is probably going to become or already is post-cyberpunk.

Science may be great, but it has its limitations as well. More importantly, social structures are designed to adapt. That’s what has made them vital survival mechanisms. For all that the technology of 2007 seems wild by 1980 standards, the foundations of culture and society have used that technology to maintain themselves, instead of being swept away like out of date fashions. Rather than information overload, we seem years from approaching our social storage capacity or processing speed, and any kind of doomsday prophecy might as well be a guy with a sandwich board howling at passers by.
Patrick Schabe, PopMatters
Das stimmt ja: Die Bridge-Trilogie war eigentlich schon weitaus weniger radikal als Neuromancer, und "Pattern Recognition" und "Spook Country" setzen eigentlich an einer Welt an, die bereits existiert, und fokussieren auf kleine Details, die vielleicht in die Zukunft weisen, aber noch kein Entwurf einer vollständig transformierten Gesellschaft sind. Dabei finde ich aber genau dieses Potential an Science-Fiction und Fantasy so spannend: Gleich einen ganz großen Entwurf machen, gleich alle Möglichkeiten, die die Sprache und die Erzählkunst bieten, ausnützen, und dadurch den immer gleichen Alltag, der sich selten radikal, sondern meist nur langsam und kaum merkbar verändert, aufsprengen. Wie "Neverwhere".

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