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428: Futures Near and Far

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The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata

The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata

KMO speaks with hard SF novelist and publisher, Linda Nagata.  A listener sent KMO a copy of Linda’s first novel, The Bohr Maker, and in preparing for the interview he immersed himself in some of her more recent work including the short stories Nightside on Callisto and Through Your Eyes as well as the related novel, The Red: First Light. The soldiers in her novel wear powered exoskeletons which are more advanced versions of systems actually in development by Lockheed Martin (video). Linda describes the inspiration for her excursion into military science fiction which includes concern for eroding civil liberties and the growing power of defense contractors. The conversation also touches on the diminishing expectations for molecular nanotechnology.

CRV106

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Vault_Cover106Olga hasn’t been on the mic much in recent months, but she’s front and center in this conversation with Michael G. They talk about the principles of Burning Man and the ways in which reality and those principles sometimes diverge. Michael has a geodesic dome business which is focused on providing shelter that is in accord with the spirit of Burning Man and with festival culture generally. Olga and Michael talk about what effect the police presence and real danger of getting busted for drug offenses has on the social dynamics of the Burning Man scene, and he compares his experiences at Burning Man with his experience of TransformUs, a regional Burn held in North Carolina.

427: Ice Cream in Rwanda

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Rob Fruchtman

Rob Fruchtman

KMO interviewed Rob Fruchtman, the director of the film Sweet Dreams on Saturday, August 9th, 2014 . They spoke in front of a live audience in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition. In this episode of the C-Realm Podcast, Rob describes what it was like to spend time in Rwanda 17 years after the 1994 genocide which claimed the lives of roughly one million Rwandans. His film details how a group of women, both Hutu and Tutsi, first formed a drumming troupe to help them put the horrors of their past behind them, and then, with the help of two Brooklyn business owners, opened Rwanda’s first ice cream shop. It was an improbable project and an enormous achievement.

CRV105

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Butterflies and zebras, moonbeams and fairy tails.

Butterflies and zebras, moonbeams and fairy tales.

The conversation with John Micheal Greer from C-Realm Podcast episode 426 continues here with emphasis on teasing apart the conflated notions of hope as either the irrational belief that if you just wish hard enough things will turn out the way you want them to or as the conviction that no matter how bad things get, there will always be actions that people with clear vision and good will can take to improve the situation. The conversation also delves into the way that we distort and outright falsify history to support the idea that modern humans are smarter and more sophisticated than people who lived before the fossil fuel age.

426: The Myth of Progress

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JMG @ Age of Limits 2014

JMG @ Age of Limits 2014

KMO welcomes John Michael Greer back to the C-Realm Podcast to talk about his book Not the Future We Ordered: Peak Oil, Psychology, and The Myth of Progress. The conversation begins with a trip back in time to revisit drapetomania and housewife syndrome, two examples of reframing the effects of societal dysfunction as individual pathology. JMG distinguishes his use of the word “myth” from the impoverished modern usage which defines myth as a false belief held by people who don’t understand science. The conversation touches on JMG’s Dark Age America presentation at the 2014 Age of Limits conference before ending on some observations about the use of the word “hope” as a stand in for an inflated sense of entitlement rather than as the recognition that, no matter how tough times get, there are always choices that people can make to improve the situation. The portions of the conversation that did not fit into this hour of the C-Realm Podcast will be available to C-Realm Vault subscribers in CRV #105. There is no musical guest in this week’s episode.

CRV104

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Held indefinitely without charge

Held indefinitely without charge

KMO and Olga went to see the new Planet of the Apes movie with their friends Justin and Caitlin and then recorded a conversation about it over drinks on Justin’s tug boat. The conversation starts out talking about the amazing technical achievement of the film — Justin says that we have now crossed the uncanny valley and stuff just looks real — before branching out to themes of evolution, aggression, sex, and whether it is ethical to use primates in biomedical experimentation.

425: A Cheerful Engagement with Reality

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C-Realm_425_coverKMO yaks with James Howard Kunstler about the third novel in his World Made by Hand series. It’s called A History of the Future, and it gives us a glimpse of life outside the little corner of upstate New York to which the events of the first two novels were confined. We learn that down south, the cornpone Nazi’s of the Foxfire Republic have rallied around racial purity, Nascar and Wal*Mart while the US Federal Government rules a nation that doesn’t know it still has a government from an island in Lake Michigan. Jim describes how he is still catching flak for suggesting that the collapse of the economy and modern infrastructure would interrupt progress towards a lefty utopia in which all differences of social status have been obliterated.

CRV103

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Jürgen Geuter (AKA tante)

Jürgen Geuter (AKA tante)

The conversations with Jürgen Geuter (AKA tante) and Lisha Sterling from C-Realm Podcast #424 continue here in the Vault. Both conversations focus on the interplay between democracy and dissent. Lisha says you can’t have one without the other. tante argues that the notion of privacy pre-supposes a certain level of autonomy that most people do not posses, and pretending that we are all equally autonomous beings sweeps uncomfortable issues around race, gender, class and wealth under the rug. Similarly, Lisha takes the position that cyber security is a social justice issue and that while we need police of various sorts, we can’t function as a democracy if the police see the citizens they are supposed to serve as an enemy to be preemptively defeated.

424: The Limits of Privacy

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Worried Monkey learns to solder at Hope X.

Worried Monkey learns to solder at Hope X.

KMO attended Hope X in NYC this past weekend (July 18 – 20, 2014) where he recorded an interview with tante (AKA Jürgen Geuter) about the unrealistic expectations we heap upon on idea of privacy. Specifically, he argues that our efforts are misdirected if we campaign against the invasion of our privacy when what we really want to prevent is discrimination and victimization. Lisha Sterling responds to this by admitting the limited benefit to be derived from beefed-up privacy laws, but she argues that  privacy is a biological and psychological need. tante gets the last word with a discussion of the incompatibility of liberal democracies and unaccountable and secretive intelligence agencies.

CRV102

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Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden at Hope X.

Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden at Hope X.

KMO attended the Hope X convention in New York City and collected interviews with Willow  Bl00 of the BrainMeats! podcast, Charles Duan, Director of Patent Reform at Public Knowledge, and Patrick Howell O’Neill who works the Tor beat for The Daily Dot. This episode was created for use on Radio Statler, and it may be that non-Vault subscribers can find it in the archived Radio Statler LiveStream.