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wednesday :: june 23, 2004
oil peak: the most pivotal challenge facing modern civilization

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil&Gas (ASPO) is a network of scientists, affiliated with European institutions and universities, having an interest in determining the date and impact of the peak and decline of the world's production of oil and gas, due to resource constraints.

The declared missions of ASPO are as follows:
1. To evaluate the world's endowment and definition of oil and gas;
2. To study depletion, taking due account of economics, demand, technology and politics;
3. To raise awareness of the serious consequences for Mankind.

>from *The Association for the Study of Peak Oil&Gas site*.

"We, the members of the educational and scientific communities involved in the study of the worldwide peak of oil production, offer the following statement on the problem and its implications for our future:

Oil is a finite resource.
...more than 95 percent of all recoverable oil has now been found... As of this statement, we have consumed approximately half of the recoverable oil... Since 1981 we have consumed oil faster than we have found it, and the gap between our growing consumption and shrinking discovery continues to widen. Oil is now being consumed four times faster than it is being discovered, and the situation is becoming critical.

Oil is our most important energy source.
Oil is the fuel that enabled the growth of modern civilization, and all industrialized countries now rely on it to an extraordinary extent. Oil provides 40 percent of all primary energy, and 90 percent of our transportation energy... In short, oil is the lifeblood of the industrial world.

Worldwide oil production is peaking.
After more than fifty years of research and analysis on the subject, it is now clear that the rate at which world oil producers can extract oil has reached, or is extremely close to reaching, the maximum level possible. This is what is meant by 'oil peak.' With great effort and expenditure, the current level of oil production can possibly be maintained for a few more years, but beyond that oil production must begin an irrevocable decline...

Oil peak is a powerful force of global destabilization.
The foreshocks of the impending oil production peak are already impacting our economies, our environment, and our geopolitics...

Solutions must be grounded in science.
The laws of thermodynamics and physics, as opposed to business and economics, must guide us through this crisis. Open markets are not equipped to cope with depletion of a critical resource, as they cannot foresee the serious technical limitations of various replacement technologies. Natural gas, for example, is itself a finite resource, and is already in decline in North America. Hydrogen is a commonly cited panacea, but rather than being a primary energy source, hydrogen is only an energy carrier – much like a battery. As such, hydrogen is strictly an energy loser. Replacing oil with a sevenfold increase in nuclear energy, would pose a serious and expensive waste problem. Renewable energies including solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass must be encouraged, and their potential for large-scale deployment must be assessed. Other technologies still in the laboratory, either proven or as yet unproven, may be extremely difficult to deploy in the timeframe and scale dictated by this problem.

We call on all governments of the world to address this issue very seriously. Oil peak is an inevitability... We now ask that the call be heard. A first response must include decisive cuts in consumption, and a thorough reassessment of the size of the world’s oilfields. Communities everywhere must be apprised of this issue so that they may take part in creating a sustainable future.

Oil peak is the most pivotal challenge facing modern civilization. It is time to come together and acknowledge our collective vulnerability, and begin working to change the structure of our culture and civilization in ways we've never attempted before. We do not underestimate the magnitude of the task, nor the consequences of a failure to act. Please join us in adopting this statement, and become part of a growing community working to respond at every level.
>from *A Statement On Global Oil Peak*. Citizens Committee on Oil Peak And Decline (COPAD). March 22, 2003

related context
microbial fuel cell. march 9, 2004
> climate change may come as a shock. january 30, 2004
> electrokinetic cells: new source of energy. november 17, 2003
> full spectrum solar cell: unexpected discovery. november 25, 2002
> energy for greenhouse planet: towards a global energy system. november 13, 2002
> earth 'will expire by 2050': living planet report. july 12, 2002
> microbes to produce power: electricity from organic matter. january 22, 2002

rest rooms for oil pumps

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friday :: june 18, 2004
fadaiat: a new kind of public space

fadaiat means in arab satellite, space shuttle, and parabolic dish!

Transacciones / Fadaiat :: a two day event taking place on the 22 and 23 June 2004 simultaneously in a historic castle in Tarifa (Andalusia, Spain), located on the Gibraltar Strait, and Tangiers (Morrocco). Supported by collectives and individuales that work in the areas of art, multimedia, independent media, communication and grass-roots social movements, the project aims to promote creativity, thought and action based on the ideas of freedom of knowledge and freedom of movement in the context of the recent geopolitical history of the zone. The project is also supported by diverse universities and local government bodies. In create a virtual bridge over the Strait and document the events taking place between the two locations, We will be making a series of live audo and video streams available, produced from Tarifa, Tangiers and around the globe. >from *fadaiat site*

"Our goal is to explore new alliances among immaterial-cognitive workers and migrants, and develop common projects, in particular in the geopolitical territory of the Straits of Gibraltar, one of the high voltage borders of today _ uniting & separating the European Union and Africa. Of course we think it is importante to build bridges - in this case virtual - rather than militarized borders between western and islamic countries, and this is part of our modest contribution to this goal. We also have been working already for a year in one - if not the first transcontinental - indymedia projects, in this same territory: indymedia estrecho / madiaq.

"We imagine the event, as well, as a geographic prototype of a non capitalist space of flows; it will somehow attempt to be an experimental enactment of the global polis.

"The mix, local-global, physical-digital, of outgoing and incoming streams will produce a new kind of public space, which we have been experimenting with for some years." Reflections by osfa from hackitectura.net.

related context
me++ the cyborg self and the networked city by william j. mitchell. 'the "trial separation" of bits (the elementary unit of information) and atoms (the elementary unit of matter) is over. with increasing frequency, events in physical space reflect events in cyberspace, and vice versa... a dramatic new urban condition --that of ubiquitous, inescapable network interconnectivity.'
> monitor public space: eyes in the skies, democracy in the streets. 'human-rights groups have decided equip themselves with the latest to locate and track the adversaries (our public-service administrations) even as they are locating and tracking you. the result is the system-77 civilian counter reconnaissance initiative.' june 4, 2004
> open source city. 'the open source concept, applied in contemporary practice of architecture, locative art and streaming media.' may 7, 2004
> hackitecture and other data flow' architectures. 'times have changed and we need new words for the new realities, and new tools to operate within them. presentation on some proposals for new concepts related to architecture and urbanism.' march 28, 2003
> another world is happening: network-based movements. 'the power of the loose, non-hierarchial, evolutionary movements that have been enabled by the development of the internet.' march 3, 2003
> smart mobs: new uses of mobile media. 'the combination of mobile communication and the internet makes it possible for people to cooperate in ways never before possible. smart mobs: the next social revolution.' october 3, 2002

cuántos muertos más en el estrecho?
transit non stop for all

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friday :: june 11, 2004
quantum universe: the revolution in 21st-century physics

What is the nature of the universe and what is it made of? What are matter, energy, space and time? How did we get here and where are we going?

Throughout human history, scientific theories and experiments of increasing power and sophistication have addressed these basic questions about the universe. The resulting knowledge has led to revolutionary insights into the nature of the world around us.

In the last 30 years, physicists have achieved a profound understanding of the fundamental particles and the physical laws that govern matter, energy, space and time. Researchers have subjected this 'Standard Model' to countless experimental tests; and, again and again, its predictions have held true. The series of experimental and theoretical breakthroughs that combined to produce the Standard Model can truly be celebrated as one of the great scientific triumphs of the 20th century.

Now, in a development that some have compared to Copernicus's recognition that the earth is not the center of the solar system, startling new data have revealed that only five percent of the universe is made of normal, visible matter described by the Standard Model. Ninety-five percent of the universe consists of dark matter and dark energy whose fundamental nature is a mystery. The Standard Model's orderly and elegant view of the universe must be incorporated into a deeper theory that can explain the new phenomena. The result will be a revolution in particle physics as dramatic as any that have come before.

Nine interrelated questions define the path ahead.
1. Are there undiscovered principles of nature: new symmetries, new physical laws?
2. How can we solve the mystery of dark energy?
3. Are there extra dimensions of space?
4. Do all forces become one?
5. Why are there so many kinds of particles?
6. What is dark matter? How can we make it in the laboratory?
7. What are neutrinos telling us?
8. How did the universe come to be?
9. What happened to the antimatter?

>from *Quantum Universe: The Revolution in 21st-Century Physics*. A report by an ad-hoc committee of the HEPAP (High Energy Physics Advisory Panel), charged by the US Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. Published by Interactions.org, a central resource for communicators of particle physics. The Interactions.org web site was developed and is jointly maintained by the InterAction collaboration, whose members represent the world's particle physics laboratories in Europe, North America and Asia, with funding provided by science funding agencies of many nations.

related context
illuminating the darkness. interview with persis drell, research director at stanford linear accelerator center, one of the physicists who wrote the report. june 1, 2004
> space/time atoms?: quantum gravity-based universe. 'the tiny scale at which the microscopic structure of space and time becomes observable is the planck scale.' february 26, 2003
> space, time and beyond: symposium of science, technics and aesthetics. with the comment 'does time really exist as a fourth dimension of space-time? by amrit sorli. january 20, 2003
> mirror matter in the solar system? a dark matter candidate. 'mirror matter is an entirely new form of matter predicted to exist if mirror symmetry is a fundamental symmetry of nature.' november 18, 2002
> in search of extra dimensions: beyond the standard model. 'somewhere within the planck scale, or at extreme energy levels, an incredibly small extra dimension may finally combine gravity and electromagnetism.' february 20, 2002
> center for cosmological physics: probing phenomena beyond standard model. 'in the area of astrophysical cosmology we do have clear signs of new phenomena, new physics beyond the standard model.' september 13, 2001
> working neutrino telescope: a novel way of seeing universe. 'neutrino telescopes are designed to look not up, but down, through the earth to the sky to detect high-energy neutrinos. a critical step toward establishing a new field of astronomy, neutrino astronomy, has been done.' may 22, 2001
> signatures of the invisible: an art exhibition inspired by particle physics. 'this exhibition is made by artists inspired by their experiences of a particle physics laboratory. a collaboration between artists and physicists which has the potential to help redefine the relationship between science and art.' may 8, 2001
> first direct evidence for tau neutrino. 'this completes the picture of the elementary constituents of matter, in accordance with current scientific theory: the standard model, that explains the fundamental particles -what the world is made- and the fundamental forces -what holds the world together-.' july 21, 2000
> prize for pioneers of neutrino astronomy. 'for pioneering observations of astronomical phenomena by detection of neutrinos, which created the emerging field of neutrino astronomy.' may 21, 2000
> first "map" of dark matter. 'while dark matter makes up at least 90% of the mass of the universe, both its composition and its distribution are unknown.' march 7, 2000

quantum univers book

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friday :: june 4, 2004
monitor public space: eyes in the skies, democracy in the streets

Faced with the electromagnetic specter of the unknown, human-rights groups have decided to seize extraordinary market opportunities, and equip themselves with the latest in airborne imaging devices, radio communications vectors and geographic information systems (GIS), to locate and track the adversaries (our public-service administrations) even as they are locating and tracking you. The result is the System-77 Civilian Counter Reconnaissance initiative: Eyes in the skies, for democracy in the streets.

With one or several UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) controlled by real-time synthetic vision, feeding video captures and GIS map-readouts to a portable, radio-linked computer, civil society at last obtains the information advantage enjoyed by the secret services, the army or the police. The peer-to-peer surveillance concept, top-down surveillance for grassroots initiatives! S-77CCR is a tactical urban counter-surveillance systems for ground controlled UAV's and airborne drones to monitor public space.

The violence of classical theatres of battle is overshadowed by the rise of low intensity conflicts in highly developed societies of capitalist democracies. The increasing privatization of security in this all-pervading omni directional new style of confrontation asks for solutions towards transparency and a balance of power. To allow for equilibrium of skills in surveillance and a broad education of the public in control technologies, access to a technology for the people seems necessary. In respect to abuse of civil and human rights defensive public intelligence is well advised to use advanced techniques of crime mapping and spatial representation of conflict. Coordinated alternative electronic intelligence efforts can create a fluid gaze for top view assessment of structural social conflicts. Self-protective tools of risk assessment in the hands of independent citizens are a prerequisite for confronting challenges of global risk environments and civil conflicts.

Semiautomatic geographic information applications can analyze street deployment of hostile elements or containment units for civil society conflict analysis. Biometric surveillance methods for the security of the cultural and political active citizen allow the tagging of government representatives and business agents. The observation of police forces or riot control units can give a tactical advantage in mass demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience.

Recent public conflicts have made it clear that technology for independent monitoring of operations is necessary for staying on top of developments and news but also for issues of legal procedures and court cases. >from *System-77 / Civil Counter Reconnaissance site*. via pablo

On May 13, 2004, the Vienna-based Net culture platform Public Netbase presented the System-77 installation, accompanied Projekt Atol Pact's Signal Server! opening performance. Project Atol Pact, headed by Marko Peljhan, is known for its conversion of military information technology for civilian purposes and has received several awards. S-77CCR represents a globally active consortium whose goal is to promote the use of surveillance technology by civil society, in contrast to the intransparent and anti-democratic employment of such technologies by public and private security agencies.

According to Konrad Becker, director of Public Netbase, "the project is an attempt to foster an understanding of art as socio political intervention in the public realm”. The Karlsplatz square, a point of convergence of urban conflict, offers an ideal environment for the installation, allowing it to address real points of reference. "The installation is under permanent police observation. According to a TV report, it has generated a feeling of insecurity among the security forces." Ever since the projects beginnings, the S-77CCR principle "Eyes in the skies, democracy in the streets" has proved to be highly effective. "Vienna will be the focus of attention until 28 May. Instead of further curtailing fundamental rights, technologies will be used to strengthen democracy in the streets", Becker concluded. >from *Feeling Counter Reconnaissanced* by lmare. may 20, 2004

related context
public netbase t0 media~space!. institute for new culture technologies
> iRank: blog epidemic analyzer. see comments about smart-mob demonstrations on the eve of the spanish elections. march 12, 2004
> another world is happening: network-based movements. 'the power of the loose, non-hierarchial, evolutionary movements that have been enabled by the development of the internet.' march 3, 2003
> smart mobs: new uses of mobile media. 'the combination of mobile communication and the internet makes it possible for people to cooperate in ways never before possible. smart mobs: the next social revolution.' october 3, 2002

monitoring parccentralpark

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wednesday :: june 2, 2004
urgent information about steve kurtz

Steve Kurtz, member of the internationally-acclaimed Critical Art Ensemble (CAE), was already suffering from one tragedy when he called 911 early in the morning to tell them his wife had suffered a cardiac arrest and died in her sleep. The police arrived and, cranked up on the rhetoric of the 'War on Terror,' decided Kurtz's art supplies were actually bioterrorism weapons.

Thus began an Orwellian stream of events in which FBI agents abducted Kurtz without charges, sealed off his entire block, and confiscated his computers, manuscripts, art supplies... and even his wife's body.

Like the case of Brandon Mayfield, the Muslim lawyer from Portland imprisoned for two weeks on the flimsiest of false evidence, Kurtz's case amply demonstrates the dangers posed by the USA PATRIOT Act coupled with government-nurtured terrorism hysteria.

Kurtz's case is ongoing, and, on top of everything else, Kurtz is facing a mountain of legal fees. Donations to his legal defense can be made at http://www.rtmark.com/CAEdefense/

Steve Kurtz is Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the State University of New York's University at Buffalo, and a member of the internationally-acclaimed Critical Art Ensemble.

Kurtz's wife, Hope Kurtz, died in her sleep of cardiac arrest in the early morning hours of May 11. Police arrived, became suspicious of Kurtz's art supplies and called the FBI.

Within hours, FBI agents had "detained" Kurtz as a suspected bioterrorist and cordoned off the entire block around his house. (Kurtz walked away the next day on the advice of a lawyer, his "detention" having proved to be illegal.) Over the next few days, dozens of agents in hazmat suits, from a number of law enforcement agencies, sifted through Kurtz's work, analyzing it on-site and impounding computers, manuscripts, books, equipment, and even his wife's body for further analysis. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Health Department condemned his house as a health risk.

Kurtz, a member of the Critical Art Ensemble, makes art which addresses the politics of biotechnology. "Free Range Grains," CAE's latest project, included a mobile DNA extraction laboratory for testing food products for possible transgenic contamination. It was this equipment which triggered the Kafkaesque chain of events.

FBI field and laboratory tests have shown that Kurtz's equipment was not used for any illegal purpose. In fact, it is not even possible to use this equipment for the production or weaponization of dangerous germs. Furthermore, any person in the US may legally obtain and possess such equipment.

"Today, there is no legal way to stop huge corporations from putting genetically altered material in our food," said Defense Fund spokeswoman Carla Mendes. "Yet owning the equipment required to test for the presence of 'Frankenfood' will get you accused of 'terrorism.' You can be illegally detained by shadowy government agents, lose access to your home, work, and belongings, and find that your recently deceased spouse's body has been taken away for 'analysis.'"

Though Kurtz has finally been able to return to his home and recover his wife's body, the FBI has still not returned any of his equipment, computers or manuscripts, nor given any indication of when they will. The case remains open. >from *FBI ABDUCTS ARTIST, SEIZES ART*. Feds Unable to Distinguish Art from Bioterrorism. Grieving Artist Denied Access to Deceased Wife's Body. RT Mark Press Release. via sergi.

related context
critical art ensemble. a collective of artists dedicated to exploring the intersections between art, technology, radical politics, and critical theory.
> fbi, art, and electronic civil disobedience. 'in seeking charges against these artists, the fbi is seeking charges against an influential group of social activists and theorists. to put things in perspective: i regularly teach courses on civil disobedience, where students study CAE alongside thoreau, gandhi, king, and ACT-UP. the significance of CAE: digitizing and globalizing civil disobedience.' may 31, 2004
> working with wetware: ethics of artist-created and manipulated lifeforms. 'are dna and living systems legitimate art materials? artists have been persuading scientists to let them into their labs to develop contemporary art practices using living biological systems, by altering genetic structures or even creating their own unique life forms.' june 27, 2003
> CleanRooms: art and biotechnology exhibition. 'art works that challenge responses to a science often perceived as secretive and sinister: biotechnology.' october 9, 2002
> open_source_art_hack: new museum exploration. ' in mainstream culture, hacking has many-mostly negative-connotations. especially after september 11, 2001, the usual official response to any kind of hacking has been to indiscriminately codify it as 'cyber-terrorism,' diverting attention from its significant social implications.' april 30, 2002
> child as audience by critical art ensemble, the carbon defense league, and creation is crucifixion. nintendo gameboy reverse-engineering. march, 2001

do you need masks to understand human artworks?
respect for steve kurtz

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