!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Rolla Peace Newsletter, August 18, 2015

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Rolla Peace News

August 18, 2015

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Dear Friends:

          In this newsletter is:

1. NOON VIGIL FOR PEACE: THIS WEEK, THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2015
2. DOES EXTINCTION MATTER?
3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) From Our Readers: Peter Wadhams on Climate Change
          b) Where Were You?
          c) Burn, Baby, Burn!
          d) Islamic Declaration on Climate Change
          e) Our Court of Last Resort
          f) Living With Toxic Waste
          g) Nature Bats Last

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1. NOON VIGIL FOR PEACE: THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2015

We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office THIS THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2015, (and all subsequent Thursdays until peace is established) from Noon to 1:00 PM. Please try to join us. The temperature is predicted to be in the high 70s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.

2. DOES EXTINCTION MATTER?

Here's an interesting question to ponder: If artificial intelligences take over the world, will human beings even be missed? Most of us have read, or at least heard about, the numerous science fiction novels about robots or computers taking over the planet, with varying results. But what if it's not imaginary, but a real possibility? Amid all the controversy about climate change and what to do about it, this subject has gotten little attention. Both the military and industry are putting a lot of research time and dollars into developing weapons and manufacturing techniques that could make soldiers and workers obsolete.

Stephen Hawking, who is no dummy, says “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate.” Climate change in that scenario would probably be dealt with in the most logical way, as AI computers and robots would not be influenced by propaganda or politics, and the climate would be tailored to the requirements of the intelligent machines, which might not be a climate that would support human life, or any life as we know it. Which brings up another interesting question: If the only intelligence left on the planet was the AI computers and robots, would the Universe consider them “Life.?”

Here's Ralph Nader's article on the subject.

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) From Our Readers: Peter Wadhams on Climate Change
          b) Where Were You?
          c) Burn, Baby, Burn!
          d) Islamic Declaration on Climate Change
          e) Our Court of Last Resort
          f) Living With Toxic Waste
          g) Nature Bats Last

FROM OUR READERS: PETER WADHAMS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

A reader recommends this 30 minute video of Peter Wadhams discussing the demise of arctic sea ice which may totally disappear next month, possibly for the first time since humanity walked the face of the Earth, and will almost certainly disappear in the summer within the next few years. Wadhams points out that the arctic has a tremendous effect on the climate of the northern hemisphere; and that we should expect runaway climate disruption to follow.

When asked what he would do if he were in a position to call the shots, he responded that he would take all our scientists who are working on military research and all the funds given to military research, some 90% of all research funds, and put these resources to work finding ways to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. He then adds that this is the only way that our children will have any future (23:20).

Unlike Guy McPherson, whom I have discussed in previous posts, Wadhams sees a way out of our predicament, as unlikely as it may seem that governments, particularly our own, will give up military research in order to combat climate change.

In his ongoing essay, Climate-Change Summary and Update, McPherson never once mentions war as a cause of climate change and his only mention of the military is to point out that the military is aware of climate change and is planning to deal with citizen unrest caused by catastrophic climate change.

I have asked McPherson and other extinctionists, “Why is it not possible that as catastrophic climate change kicks in, humanity will be able to soldier on as a few small bands of hunter-gatherers as it has done for all of its half million or so years of existence on the planet Earth, except the last few thousand?” I first posed this question years ago. I am still awaiting an answer.

WHERE WERE YOU?

Jeffrey Sterling, who blew the whistle on the CIAs dangerous plan to pass along false information on nuclear weapons to Iran, and is now serving 42 months for espionage, asks the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus and others:
“Where were you when the United States put me the only person and only black face investigated over a 10-year period of time on trial in federal court on Espionage Act charges, claiming that I am a traitor to national security? When the prosecution used against me the same issues from my discrimination case that I had not been allowed to pursue in civil court? When a jury without a single black member found me guilty, even when the FBI itself said there was no evidence?”
Sterling's letter highlights the cowardice of many civil rights organizations in their refusal to take on the CIA, the Pentagon and the “National Defense” power structure. Incidentally, I could say the same about many environmental organizations and other organizations that espouse important social and political causes. I could also say the same about some high-profile activists who espouse these causes.

We all owe Jeffrey Sterling a great debt (perhaps even greater than the debt we owe to high-profile whistleblowers like Ed Snowden and Chelsea Manning). What if Iran acting on the CIA's bogus information had caused a nuclear accident which, like Chernobyl and Fukushima had released large quantities of harmful radiation which then traveled in the wind knowing no national boundaries? Fortunately, the Iranians appear to be far more intelligent and to care far more about the overall health of the Earth than their Western counterparts.

BURN, BABY, BURN!

Here's a frightening resource — an interactive map showing wildfires burning throughout the United States — particularly Alaska and the western part of the lower 48. 2015 is on track to be the worst year ever for wild fires in the United States. So far over 7 million acres have burned.

ISLAMIC DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

In the wake of Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change and similar statements by other religious leaders, 60 Islamic scholars have signed the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change calling on the people of all nations and their leaders to “phase out greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible in order to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere; [and] Commit themselves to 100% renewable energy and/or a zero emissions strategy as early as possible, to mitigate the environmental impact of their activities;”

Sadly, this declaration, like so many other similar statements, does not call on nations to demilitarize and stop fighting wars — without which there can be no real progress toward stabilizing our environment.

OUR COURT OF LAST RESORT

21 youngsters have filed suit in federal court alleging that the continued development and burning of fossil fuels violates their constitutional rights. These young plaintiffs, age 8 through 19 allege that federal support for the development and use of fossil fuels is a violation of the Fifth and Ninth Amendments, as well as the public trust doctrine.

This action comes on the heals of court victories in similar suits in the State of Washington and the Netherlands.

LIVING WITH TOXIC WASTE

It seems that nary a month goes by without news of a major new toxic waste spill. Last week, it was the spill on the Animas River in Colorado that has turned the Animas and San Juan rivers orange with heavy-metal pollution from the Gold King mine that has been closed for decades.

Last month it was the five million liter tar sands oil spill from a ruptured Alberta pipeline.

Then of course there is Lac Megantic, Deepwater Horizon, Hurricane Katrina and Fukushima just to mention a few of our more famous recent toxic events.

Basically there is little left in the way of pristine real estate and what there is is going fast.

I kind of snicker when people tell me about their dream of moving to unspoiled land, raising their kids and growing organic vegetables in bucolic bliss. Some people I know are actually trying to live that dream.

There isn't enough good land to go around and what happens when our cities flood or bake in a heatwave and people exit en masse for the good-ol' countryside? This is why I've said that your family is probably better off in the long run living next to a toxic-waste dump than growing tomatoes on an organic farm. We're all going to have to live with our toxic waste and of course many will die from cancers and other nasty diseases. But those who have lived with toxic waste for several generations will have an evolutionary advantage, having already taken the first tentative steps in adaptation. Perhaps that's the true meaning of “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

NATURE BATS LAST

I want to share with you my all-time-favorite “Nature Bats Last" song — Saguaro by the Austin Lounge Lizards — available now on Youtube.

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Rolla Peace News is distributed by email once a week on Tuesday evenings (except on rare occasions) and is posted on the web at http://tomsager.org (click on Grassroots Rolla: top of rightmost column).

If you don't wish to get notices of peace events in the Rolla area, let me know and I'll take you off this list.

If you want to be added to this list, let me know.

Wage peace,

Helen
helenm (at) fidnet.com

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