Something of a global warming (coverage) hiatus has hit Hot Topic in the last couple of days, courtesy of the rather dramatic gale that hit my part of New Zealand on Tuesday evening. We are all well, and suffered no damage to our house — but there’s a hell of a lot of tidying up to do to damaged trees and fences, and we are still without power and mobile phone coverage. With luck we’ll get reconnected in the next day or so. Normal bloggage will resume as soon as I finish chainsawing fallen branches and clearing debris.
Posts Tagged Hot Topic
Hot Topic login not working May 28Join the conversation at Hot Topic
Due to a security issue1 at Hot Topic’s web host, login to the site has been disabled until the problem is resolved. I have no information on when that might be, so if you’re trying to log in to leave a comment, or to register for the first time, please accept my apologies. You could always take the conversation over to Hot Topic’s Facebook page…
[Update 1:25pm - seems to be fixed.]
- There has been a rash of attempts by hackers to break in to WordPress sites in recent months, and disabling login is one way that hosts can act to reduce server loads during attacks.
Hot Topic interruptus May 13Join the conversation at Hot Topic
It had to happen eventually. The creaking old laptop that was once my pride and joy1 has finally gone to the great orchard in the sky, and I have been forced to visit the grocer for a new piece of fruit. Being that I am a creaky old geek, I couldn’t just nip down to the computer store and buy an off-the-shelf model. No, I had to have the processor upgrade, the maximum memory and a Fusion drive, which means it will be about a week before I can access all my files2. Until then I will be servicing the digital world from this iPad, which is a wonderful device for everything but writing. Posting will be (even more) intermittent, at best, and brevity will be my watchword. You have been warned…
- It was new when Hot Topic was born.
- You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone, etc.
A rising tide sinks cities… Mar 06Join the conversation at Hot Topic
That’s the title of my first post at New Zealand’s new The Daily Blog. It’s an attempt to underline the long term imperative provided by sea level rise, to help a general audience to appreciate that every tonne of CO2 counts. The Daily Blog launched last week. Editor Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury has pulled together over 30 of NZ’s “leading left-wing commentators and progressive opinion shapers to provide the other side of the story on today’s news, media and political agendas”. I’ll be blogging there every two weeks, covering climate science and policy with an eye to the run-in to the next election in 2014. Wish me luck…
A very Green Christmas Dec 25Join the conversation at Hot Topic
If only all Christmas music was as good as this. The finest voice in soul, and a Green with it, reminds us what today should feel like. Compliments of whatever shakes your tree from Gareth and all the writers who have contributed to Hot Topic over the past year. Should Al pall, then spend a few minutes pondering the energy problems confronted by a Glasgow legend during the festive season. Nadolig llawen.
Signing Off Oct 31Join the conversation at Hot Topic
I am regretfully giving up writing regular posts for Hot Topic. Age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease affecting central vision, has been advancing for some years and has come to the point where reading of the kind on which I have depended for my posts has become difficult and laborious. It’s four years since Gareth invited me to contribute to Hot Topic and I have been grateful for the opportunity. The full seriousness of climate change dawned on me about seven years ago and though for a time I had some opportunity to voice my concern through the pages of the Waikato Times, that terminated when the paper started talking about the need to ‘balance’ what I regarded as a straightforward communication of mainstream science.
Happily Hot Topic suffers from no inclination to balance science with denial. It has given me the chance to use the time available to a retired person to read and then review many books and reports by climate scientists and science writers and experts in associated fields. It has also allowed me to express the hopes and fears that mingle in the mind of anyone who understands the urgency of the climate crisis, and to chastise leaders who think we can somehow both mitigate climate change and burn all the fossil fuels.
I turned 80 this year, and my concern over climate change only grows with advancing years. I’m more pessimistic than I was four years ago about the possibility of significant action being taken soon to rein in emissions. But the urging must continue and the science be respected. Gareth stands out in the New Zealand setting for his commitment on both these counts and I have felt fortunate to be associated with his efforts and the support of the intelligent and knowledgeable commenters and contributors which Hot Topic enjoys.
It’s been my great privilege to provide a platform for Bryan’s writing over the last four years. In that time he has reviewed dozens of books (click the book reviews tab to get an idea of just how prolific he has been), held the government to account for its wrong-headed policy making and failures of vision, and provided a carefully considered and highly valuable moral perspective on the problem we all confront. If Hot Topic has achieved anything in recent years, it is in no small part due to his efforts — not least in keeping the blog running when I disappeared overseas or on holiday.
Thanks for all your words, Bryan, and the very best of wishes for this latest phase of your retirement.
Eyes on the prize Oct 29Join the conversation at Hot Topic
A few weeks ago I burned a little midnight oil and, hunched over this very keyboard, wrote a little story about The Last Climate Denier in New Zealand. If you were to think that it was a tad satirical, you would not be wrong. It’s a sad story, set in a parallel universe that bears a striking resemblance to The Burning World, and was my entry in this year’s Royal Society of NZ Manhire Prize (fiction section). Now I learn that by some strange misjudgement my short story finds itself in the shortlist for the prize. I can’t publish the story here until after it loses (which will be late November), but in the meantime you can download it here. It’s a two hankie story, so be prepared…
[The superb Mavis Staples.]
At last it can be revealed — the project that’s been swallowing most of my writing time over the last year. The Aviator is a work of speculative fiction1, the first in a series set in The Burning World, and it’s my first foray into extended fiction — in which a plot idea borrowed from a bloke called Swift is wrapped around a dystopian vision of a climate-changed near future, all garnished with tales of strange people with even stranger ideas. This is how the great NZ comics artist Dylan Horrocks, who provided the book’s magnificent cover, describes it:
The Aviator is a light-hearted journey (by state-of-the-art airship) around a world transformed by climate change and subsequent political collapse. Rock God Evangelists, super-rich survivalists, back-to-nature primitivists, heavily armed luddites, goats with the secret of eternal youth, and a horny artificial intelligence with a taste for bluegrass and classic Hollywood films; The Aviator is a Gulliver-esque romp through a future we hope won’t come to pass.
I’m grateful to Mike Mann (yes, that one) for a generous note of approbation, and to sci-fi author2 Sonny Whitelaw for describing it as “a brilliant and wickedly satirical romp.” The first extended review — by my fellow sciblogger Ken Perrott of Open Parachute — has just been published, and provides an interesting and very positive take on what I’ve been up to.
The Aviator is currently available via Amazon for Kindle readers, and as an epub for other devices. You can download a free sample of the book — roughly 10% of the 100,000 word total — at Amazon. Editions for sale via Apple’s iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo are in the works, and a paperback edition will be available in September. All digital editions are DRM free. When the publishing process is done and dusted, and I’ve stopped jumping through promotional hoops, I’ll be starting on book two. I have lots of ideas I want to explore from the vantage point of Thunderbird (the airship), if she’ll let me.
- Which I have sometimes described as a science fiction adventure comedy satire, or, via a tweet of Margaret Atwood’s, cli-fi.
- And regular HT reader.
The unseen transit Jun 06Join the conversation at Hot Topic
It’s been snowing most of the day chez Hot Topic, so any chance I may have had of viewing the transit of Venus across the sun earlier today was lost in a haze of snowflakes and cloud. However, thanks to the fact that the sun provides the energy that drives the climate system, I can justify posting this wonderful NASA video, produced by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. More imagery here. Breathtaking, I hope you’ll agree.
It will, with luck, be a quiet Christmas chez Hot Topic. A small family gathering instead of the usual table groaning with relatives, but I will shortly have my hands deep inside a turkey, and we will all be reminded that my mother makes the best mince pies in the world. Then it will be time for the cook (for it is me) to retire to the hammock in the shade of the birch tree with a book and a glass of wine and fall asleep. A very merry primary gifting period to all of Hot Topic’s readers and contributors. Normal service will be resumed when my liver has recovered and the mince pies are all gone.
Below the fold: B B King!