Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: When A City Falls

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  • Christopher Dempsey,

    Saw When a City Falls this afternoon. Powerful film, well crafted. Shed a tear for the woman filmed being helped from the Feb rubble in a city street - she turned back to the rubble in desperation. We knew from news reports later why.

    The striking line was at the end: We live on a planet. This is what the planet does. We just live here.

    Highly recommended.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Christopher Dempsey,

    There's a quotation along the same lines:
    Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.
    Will Durant
    US historian (1885 - 1981)

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.
    Will Durant
    US historian (1885 – 1981)

    If he'd added 'weather &' to the geological consent, I'd wholly agree with him.

    Those are matters outside our ability to influence (or even know when to get away from.) Plagues etc. we can do small things about, but tornadoes, rain bombs, hurricanes, major droughts, and general climate change? not so much it seems...even when we know our own actions are hastening warming & acidification of the oceans, and subsequent die-off of - o unimportant wee things,
    like krill, and the planktonic biota...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    I pulled out of going to see it on Thursday & after the reviews I might wait a wee bit longer before going.
    I've lost trust in IPENZ and am contemplating wearing my old army dog tags to work (building classed as 55% of code). Might attend to the will too.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1147 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to merc,

    Ah, who could forget Jerry's new CERA logo jacket.

    Has he bequeathed it to Te Papa yet?
    Those attending today's CERA orange zone meeting seem to be giving credence to a rumor of Steven Joyce taking over the EQ Minister role.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    The grate communicator…
    What a way to start the weekend,
    open The Press Mainland section
    to see a quarter page ad from the Council & CD
    - big heading “Great Job, we really appreciate it.”
    Goes on to mention how 2011 has been difficult,
    and to thank the tireless efforts of the volunteers:

    We can’t name you all, individually,
    but as a Council we just know we’re very
    fortunate to have people like you who
    give so much."

    Darn tooting!
    …and what takes up quarter of the ad?
    a picture of a simpering Bob Parker!
    So on a quick glance it looks like
    it is all about him… Grrrrrr!

    Best get back to picking up the rice bubbles
    I sprayed all over the kitchen when I saw it!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4807 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Islander,

    Those are matters outside our ability to influence (or even know when to get away from.) Plagues etc. we can do small things about, but tornadoes, rain bombs, hurricanes, major droughts, and general climate change? not so much it seems...even when we know our own actions are hastening warming & acidification of the oceans, and subsequent die-off of - o unimportant wee things,
    like krill, and the planktonic biota...

    There's fairly good evidence that the Holocene has been a period of unprecedented climactic stability, which enabled the rise of farming and thence dense human civilisation; one particular pointer being that farming arose simultaneously (in historic terms) pretty much damn near everywhere it was ecologically possible, at the same time as the climate seems to have stabilised. People, in other words, Don't Know How Lucky They Are.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    a hollow scene indeed...

    ...unprecedented climactic stability...

    Do you mean it was boring?
    Or that everything was coming together?
    Your middle C is out of tune...
    :- )

    Seriously though, I wonder if Gobekli Tepe was erected to celebrate the oncoming golden epoch, the seas had finished their rise about then, the ice had receded, the megafauna was dying out, folk could relax and settle down a bit...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4807 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    a period of unprecedented climactic stability, which enabled the rise of farming

    A colleague saw a presentation to an Australian water conference a few years ago that positioned farmable climate as a distinct 200 year blip there, with the previous 40,000 years suiting only nomadic lifestyles.

    Under that scenario there's either huge nuclear-powered desalination, or NZ becomes 'the farm' for Australia. Something to consider about their banks and others owning an increasing share of this place. And a government promoting our key role in the world as sellers of protein to foreigners as we drive our streamlined automobiles down 1950s highways.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16598 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Sacha,

    A colleague saw a presentation to an Australian water conference a few years ago that positioned farmable climate as a distinct 200 year blip there, with the previous 40,000 years suiting only nomadic lifestyles.

    The way we discussed it in ecology classes (two or three years ago now) was Australia as a mining culture; mining the resources that allowed them to farm as much as minerals. Came to the same basic conclusion about the long-term sustainability of wide-spread farming there, though. Geology and climate are just not on their side.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Coming home from a family wedding on Sunday, we stopped in Te Awamutu for a dish of tea and a gasper. If we'd been inclined to stay a while, the local cinema was not only screening When A City Falls but Wim Wenders' Pina (which is still damn impressive in 2D) and Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams (in 3D!). Next time you feel the temptation to sneer at the uncultured provincials, pause.

    (And still kicking myself that I didn't have the spare time to catch the film in Taupo.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11900 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Came to the same basic conclusion about the long-term sustainability of wide-spread farming there, though. Geology and climate are just not on their side.

    In other words, a giant Nauru?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4218 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to DeepRed,

    In other words, a giant Nauru?

    In a lot of ways - I don't recall the details, but my understanding is that the problem with Australia is that it is a) naturally dry and b) geologically inactive, which limits nutrient input. (Volcanoes: crap in the short term, extremely helpful in the long term.) Intensive farming, or really *any* farming, amounts to excavation of what nutrients were there - and the soil only has so much to give.

    If you want a really good example of what humans can do to an area, c.f. the Middle East, which once hosted the Fertile Crescent. A few thousand years of human civilization haven't done it many favours.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Vent management...

    ...the problem with Australia is that it is a) naturally dry and b) geologically inactive, which limits nutrient input. (Volcanoes: crap in the short term, extremely helpful in the long term.)

    Careful what you wish for...
    :- )
    I read that scientists reckon Mount Gambier used to erupt on average every 2,000 years and the last eruption was 5,000 odd years ago...
    Here is an interesting overview of Australia's volcanoes, earthquake risks and general topography.
    It notes a new hot spot may be forming in Bass Strait.

    Bad husbandry...

    If you want a really good example of what humans can do to an area

    as well as the Fertile Crescent the Dust Bowls of North America are another fine illustration.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4807 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    What's the general thought on Annually Certified Engineers, rather than Chartered Professional Engineers clearing or closing builings?
    I myself would like the fully qualified rather than the trainee ensuring my safety, but that's not happening.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1147 posts Report Reply

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