Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bicycleman Sakhile and the Cell Tower to be Published

Please note that I have taken down the short story Bicycleman Sakhile and the Cell Tower, pending its imminent publication in the anthology After Oil: SF Visions Of A Post-Petroleum World.

The contract only gives the publisher three year's exclusive license to the work, so I expect that after that time, I will put it back online under a Creative Commons license, to be freely available to all.

Meanwhile, I'll update once the anthology becomes available to buy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Iran Sanctions: Buying Time on Peak Oil and Climate Change

I was reading about all of the upcoming oil shortages that will result from the sanctions against Iran, and a very interesting explanation suddenly hit me.

What if you're the left wing president of the United States, and you're very concerned about both climate change and peak oil. Your military, intelligence and scientific advisers are all telling you these are big problems, and are making their own plans to deal with them. But your political opponents (and even some of your own supporters) deny one or both problems, and have made it political suicide to acknowledge them. So despite your concerns, you've been really quiet during your time in office. But you'd really like to do something.

So you think a little about the last time there was a surge in energy conservation and more environmentally conscientious living in your country -- the 70s. And what sparked that, apart from the Youth Movement and cultural changes, was the Arabian Oil Crisis. Sure, Reaganomics put an end to the movement, and set back preparations for peak oil and climate change such that it's probably too late to do too much, but you're tired of being the driver of a car headed for a cliff, full of passengers who keep yelling for you to put the pedal to the metal or else.

And what if there was a country, that happened to produce about 5% of the world's oil, which your predecessor in office did plenty of sabre-rattling towards, which you've continued. And sabre-rattling at that country gets bipartisan support -- the right wing loves it because the country supposedly supported terrorists in their next door neighbour your troops happened to be occupying, while the left wing loves it because the country is ruled by an oppressive and undemocratic government. Oh and Israel loves it too, because they believe the country could eventually produce nuclear weapons to threaten them with. And appeasing Israel is a crucial element to political success in the US.

So maybe you get to thinking that it would be politically expedient to institute sanctions against that country. Not only does it generate enormous political support for your upcoming election, but it also generates an oil crisis. So maybe, when you get re-elected, you can actually start talking tough about energy conservation. And the public, hit hard by rising gas prices, will start to listen. And even if they don't listen, they will cut back on their greenhouse gas emissions, because they will have to. In fact, the rising cost of energy may even cause automation to become less profitable, and generate a few jobs in the process.

Now I'm not saying this is necessarily the reasoning behind the sanctions against Iran, but it makes for an interesting possible explanation. And if true, represents some very astute politicking. I'd like to believe it.