Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

windycon41

 
Coming to Windycon this weekend? Join Elizabeth Anne Hull, Dick Smith and Leah A. Zeldes for a discussion of discussion of Fred’s many contributions to science fiction:

“As a magazine editor, a multiple-award-winning author, and fan writer, SFWA Grandmaster and member of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Fred’s contributions make him a major figure of 20th and 21st-century speculative fiction.”

The panel takes place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Betty will also be signing autographs from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, and giving a reading at 4 p.m.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, Betty will appear with security expert Bruce Schneier and others on a panel, “Magic Mirrors: Surveillance in Modern Society.”

If that’s not not your thing, you can catch Dick at 1 p.m. Sunday on a panel about “How Social Media is Shaping and Changing Fandom.”

—the blog team

fred bw head shot

Frederik Pohl Memorial Celebration
11 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturday, August 2, 2014
Wojcik Conference Center
William Rainey Harper College
1200 W. Algonquin Road, Bldg. W, Palatine, IL 60067

Please join his family, friends and fans to celebrate the life and career of Science Fiction Grand Master Frederik Pohl (1919–2013), award-winning author, editor and fan writer; influential literary agent; futurist; lecturer, and member of First Fandom, whose career began in the Pulp Era and continued until his death last year.

The free event will include a program of speakers with a reception to follow.

Hotel rooms for Aug. 1–3 are available at Country Inn & Suites, 1401 N. Roselle Road, Palatine, for $94 per night (includes breakfast), for August 1-3. Reserve by July 18 at (847) 839-1010 or (800) 456-4000 with code “Pohl Memorial” to get this rate.

For further details, email the blog team at blog@thewaythefutureblogs.com.

Windmill farm.

Wind farm.

There’s plenty of wind energy in the Midwest, but to get it to the East where it could cheaply replace fossil fuel electricity would take some 20,000 miles of new transmission lines.

The Republican Supreme Court, however, has ruled that states, and not the federal government, control permission for building lines in their own territory.

What this basically means is that no such lines are ever going to be built. Which means that clean Midwestern wind electricity is not going to replace stinky East Coast coal-powered plants.

 

Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen, first woman to head the Fed.

Man Bites Dog?

By Elizabeth Anne Hull

Elizabeth Anne Hull. Photo by Barb Knoff.

Elizabeth
Anne Hull

As you probably know, the “glass ceiling” has suffered yet another crack, as Janet Yellen has started work as the first woman to head the Federal Reserve Bank. That means that the two most significant leadership positions in global money are both occupied (word chosen carefully) by women. (The other is the International Monetary Fund, helmed by Christine Lagarde.)

As the grandmother of a female commercial pilot (the first of either gender that I know of in our family), I follow “firsts” for women with special interest. So I noticed another news item that may not have hit everyone’s radar: Yellen’s husband, George Akerlof, himself a Nobel prize winner in economics, stepped down as a member of the advisory board of the UBS International Center of Economics in Society at the University of Zurich.

Even though he wasn’t paid for being on the advisory board and there was no conflict of interest, he wanted to “avoid even the appearance of conflict,” Akerlof said. UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, operates an investment-banking business in the U.S. and is therefore regulated by the Fed.

Remember the constraints put on Caesar’s wife? This goes beyond a husband helping his wife with the housework and child care, so she can Lean In.

Hunger games

 

By Elizabeth Anne Hull

Elizabeth Anne Hull. Photo by Barb Knoff.


Elizabeth
Anne Hull

By Elizabeth Anne Hull

Let’s you and him fight! One of the most effective strategies in battle is to pit factions of opposition against each other. Politicians do it so that opponents stop bothering the people in power, or the people who want power. They view government — whether local, state, national or international — as “playing the game” of politics.

When I saw the first of the Hunger Games films, I was surprised that I actually enjoyed watching such a violent idea come to life through the wizardry of Hollywood. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on neo-Freudian transactional analysis to understand drama (“A Transactional Analysis of the Plays of Edward Albee,” Loyola University of Chicago, 1975), and I think games can sometimes be dangerous even if they aren’t immediately lethal.

Regarding a sporting event as a game can make fans blind to the suffering of others. I have been watching the debate over football players and their higher risk of dementia at a young age, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Playing games in personal relationships can prevent you from enjoying the tension release of intimacy and trust.

I’m not sure whether I feel less comfortable with those who view human life as gamesmanship in a zero-sum game (if one wins, another must lose), or with those who view the abstract qualities of life as battles, declaring war on poverty, drugs, or terrorism.

Ordinarily, games can be fun, but they can get to be tedious when they are unrelieved by work. And sometimes wars must be fought, especially if others pick the fight.

Geese oiled by Enbridge spill.

These Canada geese and some 200 other migratory birds, along with countless fish, mussels, turtles and mammals, were coated in oil when a pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy ruptured near Marshall, Mich., on July 26, 2010. The break spilled at least 843,444 gallons of crude oil into a wetland and nearby Talmadge Creek, and flowed into the Kalamazoo River and downriver for 38 miles to Morrow Lake.

When 840,000 gallons of unclearable, ultrasticky Canadian crude comes to take up residence in your little town — while you yourself can’t live there anymore — is that what you want?

Kzoo River sign

Thirty-five miles of the Kalamazoo River were closed to public use after the oil spill. Some portions remain closed.

Three years ago, the Enbridge Energy pipeline carrying heavy Canadian crude ruptured and spilled almost a million gallons of ultra-polluting tar-sands crude into the Kalamazoo River in western Michigan. In spite of tens of millions spent on recovery and cleanup efforts — similar to the practices that will be employed when a similar rupture occurs in the proposed Keystone XL pipeline — most of that is still there.

This stuff is not normal crude. It doesn’t float to the surface to be sucked away. It dives to the bottom, where removal equipment can’t pull it out — with as much as 180,000 gallons lingering there.

Is this what we want? Vast programs of permanently despoiling America’s pristine lakes, rivers and woodlands? And all for the sake of mining vast quantities of tar sands for fossil fuels that we dare not go on burning, anyway, for fear of what its released carbon compounds will do to our country’s rapidly worsening climate?

 

Fred wrote this in August of last year, shortly before his death. We present it now, with fresh links, because little has changed since then. Supporters continue to press for the stalled expansion of the Keystone pipeline owned by TransCanada, which saw 12 breaks in 2011, spilling more than 21,000 gallons of oil. Enbridge, meanwhile, failed to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for government-ordered cleanup of the mess its pipeline made in the Kalamazoo River in 2010.

The blog team