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Last updated on August 6th, 2017 at 01:50 pm
The SMH’s Elizabeth Farrelly discovers a new species:
Pity the postmodern polar bear, waking famished from months of hibernation only to find the ice melting underfoot, with a hundred-kilometre swim before breakfast and the likelihood then of being too weak to catch it.
Or is the postmodern bear’s prey too strong to be captured? These things tend to be relative, after all.
…poor Mr Bear then remembers he has a 3000 word discourse due on Sartre and Camus’s rejection of meta-narratives. To top it off, it’s starting to snow and he has no money for a bus. The day has barely begun and he wants it to end. Mr Bear checks the TV guide to see what time The Glasshouse is on… “GOD DAMN IT!”, he shouts to know one in particular. Life as a postmodern bear sucks like Paris Hilton on Prom Night. Mr Bear’s anger is boiling over, when out of the blue Tara Brown and a 60 Minutes crew appear…Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 02 28 at 03:46 AM • permalink
So the waste continues. A drenching summer rainstorm, once typical but now so rare, can drop 350 billion litres, almost a year’s worth of water for Sydney. An intelligent culture, such as the Roman or Ottoman empire, faced with a serious water shortage and a sandstone city riddled with unused and largely unmapped tunnels and caverns, might capture some of that water. Might even produce something lovely from this exigency; a water culture of arcaded aqueducts and glorious subterranean cisterns, like Istanbul’s many-columned Yerebatan Sarayi.
I’m not familiar with the Australian ecology, but I do know that if you begin diverting water into storage (cisterns or reservoirs, matters not), then that water is not available for natural uses. This is a major argument against hydroelectric dams in the US.
In fact, at one time, the City of Los Angeles proposed diverting a large portion of the Columbia River down into southern California (a distance of a couple thousand miles over a few mountain ranges….technically feasible if you want to invest a huge amount of capital).
Their reasoning? “All that fresh water is just wasted going into the Pacific Ocean, so send it down here!”
Elizabeth seems to be making the same false reasoning here, although she recognizes the need for natural water flow in other parts of her opinion piece. Assuming, of course, that the local environment doesn’t need all that water. If so, she’s long on emotion, short on logic, and typically leftie.
So, in the spirit of Iowahawk, and making herself truly useful, perhaps Elizabeth might sacrifice herself to feed a starving po-mo po-bear?Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2007 02 28 at 03:58 AM • permalink
These people seem to have suddenly awakened into a new world, where nature no longer retains the power to regulate anything at all, much less polar bear populations.
They talk about the evil hubris of the men of science and industry, who would adapt the environment to man’s use (understanding that “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed”)—which is man’s principle means of survival, then seek to overrule the dynamism of nature and turn it into something static, or “stable” as they call it—in the name of survival. They rail against change itself, which gainsays the nature they claim to worship.
Of course, they also simultaneously rail against, or outright deny, man’s rational faculty, which is what gets them in this kind of trouble in the first place.
The polar bear story she was relating was on the latest attenborough nature story on Aunty. This polar bear decided to cross a vast stretch of open water rather than fossic along the shoreline, and eventually, after a couple of days swimming, made it to an island.
Now, at this stage things should have been hunky dory, except for one thing. The island was crawling with walruses, who had already seen off every other kind of wildlife, and are big and mean enough to not become polar bear fodder.
So the bear, because it had a brain prone to poor choices, ensured an improvement in the polar bear gene pool.
Technology, OTOH, has liberated humans from the grind of evolution, such that even self satisfied prats like Farrelly could survive to wank on about things other than architecture. Fortunately the type generally doesn’t tend to breed.
We all know that prior to mankinds appearance on earth all animals lived in peace and there was no suffering in nature. Now we are here, and the polar bears are weeping tears of blood for Gaia. We must atone for our sins.. who will save us???
/Al Gore enters, stage left
Fear not, guilty young human, for I am Carbon Offset man and I am here to
make some moneysave the world! Have you seen my new DVD, an Incovenient Truth? Its available in all good (but also evil) global coorporate video chains now!
Okay, we have Captain Kyoto, who’s got a photo of Carbon Offset Man?Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2007 02 28 at 08:16 AM • permalink
The icepack is nothing but a social construction anyway. Complaints about its deconstruction privilege existing power relations between bears and seals.Posted by Paul Zrimsek on 2007 02 28 at 09:03 AM • permalink
here he is- the C.O.M don, aka President of the alternative universe, Saviour of the world and the wintersmith-Big AlPosted by eeniemeenie on 2007 02 28 at 09:47 AM • permalink
Generally, only pregnant polar bears hibernate. (See the last section of this link at the page bottom, above the list of bear-type links. But read it all, too, like polar bears can swim about 100km without a problem.)
(And I decided to Google “polar bears hibernate hibernation” because it sounds pretty stupid to hibernate in winter when that’s the best time of the year for hunting on ice. So suspicions confirmed about Liz’s research, even if it was just a throw-away line to start the column and not its main purpose.)Posted by andycanuck on 2007 02 28 at 09:51 AM • permalink
Adventures Of Isabel
Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t care;
The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
The bear’s big mouth was cruel and cavernous.
The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you,
How do, Isabel, now I’ll eat you!
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry.
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up,
Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.Posted by joe bagadonuts on 2007 02 28 at 10:04 AM • permalink
Hibernating polar bears. Wow. Another media hack who can’t do even the most basic research.Posted by Crispytoast on 2007 02 28 at 10:55 AM • permalink
The ‘postmodern polar bear’ has learnt to live in a world of shifting identities. The concept, ‘polar Bear’, after all, is a discourse, a construction it finds problematic. Why not move north and become a sheepdog like Babe? Or make a documentary on a subject it knows fuck all about? The polar bear has learned that being a predator is fascist. It no longer seeks to impose its will on other creatures by violence or by the maintenance of ‘truth regimes’. It no longer has any will at all.
It also knows that the root cause of the emnity seals feel for it is its fear of the seal ‘other’. The fear and loathing of the not-polar bear. The postmodern polar bear has discovered complexity and sits on its floe abolishing the sins of the killer whale by reflecting on its own past. It knows that the only evil is to find some things ‘good’ and some things ‘bad’. Have many dead seals lie at the foot of truth?
The ice was never white but only shades of grey.
Pity the postmodern moonbat, waking famished from months of dreaming stuff up only to find reality melting underfoot, with a hundred wpm rant before breakfast and the likelihood then of being too weak to manufacture another lie, falsehood or forgery.Posted by alien kiwi on 2007 02 28 at 12:47 PM • permalink
LOL! How many brain-numbing lectures did you have to sit through, Inurbanus?Posted by Spiny Norman on 2007 02 28 at 12:50 PM • permalink
“as any six-year-old knows, all water is rhythmically premetabolised”
Well guess I’m dumber than a six year old, I had to google this but alas with no results. So if anyone can educate me I would appreciate it.Posted by alien kiwi on 2007 02 28 at 01:22 PM • permalink
“Pity the postmodern polar bear…”
I don’t pity animals that would happily kill and eat me.Posted by Dave Surls on 2007 02 28 at 01:37 PM • permalink
A post-modern polar bear?
That just made my brain explode.Posted by memomachine on 2007 02 28 at 02:46 PM • permalink
#10, Entropy is spot-on about the source of Elizabeth’s newfound knowledge of the plight of the po-mo po-bear. I’m not saying the sequence was staged, but people like Elizabeth don’t seem to realize that these ‘real life’ nature scenarios are assembled just like any sequence in a fiction movie, from pieces of footage whose original relation to each other we have no idea of, with the addition of stirring music, and the poignant breathiness of David Attenborough’s narration. Watching it myself, I couldn’t help asking: “So this has never happened before, in the history of the planet?”
Attenborough is far from being the worst of these people, but sometimes even he buys into an absurdly PC view of nature: in the most recent episode, a remarkable sequence was shown of chimps hunting and terrorizing a rival troop. Finally, they caught, killed and ate one of the enemy chimps. Attenborough pondered: “We’re still not sure why they do this”. Excuse me? An animal kills and eats another animal, and Attenborough wonders “why”?
Ms Farrelly was the architecture writer for the SMH I thought?
What’s a postmodern polar bear got to do with architecture?Posted by aussiemagpie on 2007 02 28 at 06:53 PM • permalink
A drenching summer rainstorm, once typical but now so rare, can drop 350 billion litres, almost a year’s worth of water for Sydney
Well, maybe, but…let’s look into that number a bit. 1 liter of rain is equal to 1 mm on an area of 1 m², and likewise 1 million liters equals 1 mm on an area of 1 km².
So, how do we get to 350,000 million liters of rain? Either by increasing the area or by increasing the rainfall. Googling around for ‘amount of rain single day’ gives a few interesting hits:
San Diego, 2004
Rain has never fallen any heavier in San Diego than on Wednesday. The 2.67” deluge surpassed any Oct. 27 total since 1850.
Fallbrook, CA, 2005
Fallbrook’s 3.48” for the day Sunday, January 9th was the most ever recorded by WeatherCurrents on a single day
The highest rainfall recorded on a single day has been 10 cm [actually, 9.5 cm] during the month of May in 2002.
Since she’s talking about unusually strong, but presumably not record-breaking rains, let’s use 50 mm (which is far too high, but let’s give her the benefit of the doubt). So she must be talking about rainstorms covering at least 7,000 km². Good luck capturing even .1% of that.
Good to see that innumeracy continues to be rampant in journalism offices, especially if it helps write an eco-beatup.
Darn, I got all excited because I though we were talking about Polar Beer!Posted by Captain Sensible on 2007 02 28 at 08:57 PM • permalink
#19- love the beige, COM is such a beige sort of chap, I bet he’s got a huge collection of cardigans.
He’ll fit right in with all the other diversity celebrating, eco-defending members of the League of Worriers.
Serves him right for all those carbon dioxide ridden post-penguin munchin’ polar bear farts.
He should just have a soy latte and some bran flakes like the other SMH readers and life would be OK.Posted by Hump B Bare on 2007 03 01 at 04:27 AM • permalink
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I thought that these bears caught their breakfast and other meals in/from the sea. Do post-modern bears eat ice?