Creating irresistible demand
for a global atmosphere upgrade

Bruce Sterling's Viridian Design Movement

Viridian Note 00450: Rude Calamity
by Bruce Sterling
Key concepts:
parody, science fiction
Attention Conservation Notice:
May briefly deprive attention from the awesome fate of New Orleans.

(((My science fiction novel DISTRACTION describes a future Louisiana thoroughly ravaged by the Greenhouse Effect. I thought I might see that happen someday; I didn't figure I'd see it happen while I was watching from Singapore.)))

(((How the ironies multiply. We've got historically high oil prices at the moment that America's most storm-vulnerable large city takes a direct hit from a Category 5. Katrina's core is the equivalent of a thirty-mile wide F2 tornado. It's heading with devilish precision for a large, fragile, moldering city that's mostly situated below sea level. I'm sitting here watching Singaporian hotel TV, which includes CNN, BBC, a Portuguese channel, a Spanish channel, a French channel, a German channel, a whole crowd of wacky, nondenominational Chinese channels, Bollywood dance videos, Channel News Asia, Discovery channel, and a lot of sports. Austria flooded this season. Portugal is on fire. The fires that were ravaging Indonesia and choking Malaysia are in abeyance for the moment, which allows me to breathe relatively freely here in Singapore. My hotel TV just showed me a flood-drenched building, unfit for habitation, collapsing onto its inhabitants in Bombay. And now Katrina. Wow, eh? Welcome to life on the Greenhouse Planet. Someday, this is gonna be all that people talk about.)))

(((In the meantime, however, humanity's incapacity to recognize and deal with its own peril is becoming eerie. And hilarious. Granted, this situation is not going to feel all chucklesome if you're shivering in the New Orleans Superdome while its parking lots sink underwater, but that awesome mayhem is just the Southern Gothic version of our planet's rapidly increasing woes. Here comes America's worst storm ever, yet nobody on this plethora of satellites whispers the obvious: "śclimate change."? It's catastrophic. It's also surreal. A perfect placement for science fiction as political satire.)))

Source: The Onion

"Bush Vows to Eliminate U.S. Dependence On Oil by 4920

"WASHINGTON, DC. President Bush unveiled an aggressive initiative Monday that would make the U.S. free of petroleum dependence by the year 4920, less than three millennia from now.

"Our mission is clear," Bush said in a speech delivered at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. "We must free ourselves from dependence on fossil fuels within 85 generations. A cleaner, safer America is my vision. And it is our great, great"”great-times-80 grandchildren who will realize that vision.'

"Bush promised a legislative package that would mandate severe cuts in oil-production subsidies and provide new funding for alternative-energy research and development. According to the timetable he presented, these bills could be introduced as early as 3219, and U.S. energy consumers could start to see radical changes by the early 42nd century.

"If we don't end our dependence on oil by 4920, when will we end it? 5580? By then, it may be too late,' Bush said.

"Bush called on both Democrats and Republicans living 1,200 years from now to work together to pass the program.

"It would be a shame if, by the 33rd century, these bills were still tied up in committee. I urge the 712th Congress to pass this legislation with minimal partisan gridlock,' Bush said.

"The president's science advisor, John Marburger, provided more details of the energy plan in a press release issued late Monday.

"It is the president's hope that hydrogen fuel cells, nanotechnology, or the recycling of human beings into fuel will hold the key, Marburger wrote. 'Whatever the people of the 50th century feel is appropriate.'

"In a detailed policy statement, Bush elaborated on the plan, expressing the hope that a third party, perhaps one comprising robots or super-intelligent, genetically engineered man-beasts, will help reduce America's dependence on fossil fuels.

"I am calling on the popularly elected cyborgs of tomorrow to support this sensible measure to ensure the security of the nation,' Bush said.

"Some industrialists, particularly major auto manufacturers, expressed reservation over Bush's initiative.

"As admirable as Mr. Bush's visionary pronouncement is, I worry that the timetable he proposes is far too ambitious,' General Motors CEO Richard Wagoner Jr. said. "It is simply not realistic. The automotive industry would require an additional three or four thousand years to develop engines that can run effectively on renewable or cleaner-burning fuels.'

"Exxon Mobil CEO Lee Raymond said the petroleum-producing company shares Bush's hopes for a cleaner environment "well before the sun turns into a red giant and dies.'

"Mobil Oil has already made great strides in protecting the precious air and water within the television-commercial environment. And we plan to golf closely with the U.S. Department of Energy and oil-industry lobbyists to ensure that President Bush's initiative comes to pass in the unimaginably distant future.'

"Responding to reporters' questions, Bush admitted that our progeny could face challenges in pursuit of the goal, such as the earth's degrading orbit and eventual destruction of the moon by tidal force, or the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

"Our distant relations will have some hard work to do,' Bush said. "But hard work is what built this nation, and I have every faith that they will succeed.'

"The proclamation comes on the heels of Bush's plans to pay off the national debt by the early 6300s, and win the war on terror by 7450."

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