22 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2020
    1. The most quoted and probably most fundamental essay by Peter Haff about the technosphere. The argumentation is clearly opposed to an argumentation that sees technology as something controllable by humans. It's about the whole world, or sphere of artifacts, and people, in so far as they are part of that sphere. In essence, Haff argues by starting from the different layers of a system (stratum 1, 2, and 3). From a certain layer (stratum 2) the components of the lower layer (stratum 1) are inaccessible and the components of the higher layer (stratum 3) are not to be influenced. Only components on the same layer can be influenced. - The sphere belongs to the prerequisites of its parts: Without biosphere no organisms, without semi-sphere no signs, without technosphere no techniques (Haff does not speak of semi-sphere here, but see Towards a semiotics of the technosphere). The technosphere depends on energy and is threatened by entropy. It needs to recycle the waste it produces in order to maintain its functions.

      After the first reading, much of this argument reminds me of conservative authors like Arnold Gehlen, Martin Heidegger (Gestell), and perhaps Ernst Jünger (who, as far as I know, has a similar understanding of the relationship of the worker to technology). I suspect that an actor-network theoretical argument would criticize the concept of closed spheres—although these spheres are not super-systems.

      Der am meisten zitierte und wohl grundlegende Aufsatz von Peter Haff über die Technosphäre. Die Argumentation ist klar einer Argumentation entgegengesetzt, die Technik als etwas von Menschen Kontrollierbares ansieht. Es geht um die gesamte Welt oder Sphäre der Artefakte und die Menschen, insofern sie Teil dieser Sphäre sind. Im Kern argumentiert Haff, indem er von den verschiedenen Schichten eines Systems ausgeht (Stratum 1, 2 und 3). Von einer bestimmten Schicht aus (Stratum 2) sind die Komponenten der niedrigeren Schicht (Stratum 1) unzugänglich und die Komponenten der höheren Schicht (Stratum 3) nicht zu beeinflussen. Zu beeinflussen sind nur Komponenten auf derselben Ebene. - Die Sphäre gehört zu den Voraussetzungen ihrer Teile: Ohne Biosphäre keine Organismen, ohne Semiosphäre keine Zeichen, ohne Technosphäre keine Techniken (wobei Haff hier nicht von Semiosphäre spricht, siehe aber Towards a semiotics of the technosphere). Die Technosphäre ist auf Energie angewiesen und wird von Entropie bedroht. Sie muss den waste den sie erzeugt, selbst recyceln, um ihre Funktionen weiter aufrechterhalten zu können.

      Nach der ersten Lektüre erinnert mich vieles in dieser Argumentation an konservative Autoren wie Arnold Gehlen, Martin Heidegger (Gestell) und vielleicht auch Ernst Jünger (der, so weit ich weiss, das Verhältnis des Arbeiters zur Technik ähnlich verstanden hat). Ich vermute, dass eine Actor-Network-theoretische Argumentation das Konzept der geschlossenen Sphären kritisieren würde—wobei diese Sphären aber keine Über-Systeme sind.

    1. otion of ‘technosphere’ has gained analytical traction. It is loosely defined as the conjunction of all technological systems embodied in artefacts that have been created by humans since the domestication of fire and the invention of the first tools.

      Definition of technosphere

    1. Essay von James Dyke. Hypothese (als "ernstes Gedankenspiel"): Wir haben die Kontrolle über die weitere Entwicklung des Erdsystems bereits verloren, der eigentliche Akteur ist die Technosphäre, die die Menschheit ganz oder teilweise ersetzen kann. Nach der ersteh Lektüre habe ich in Die Klimakrise als Tragödie—zwei Essays darüber geschrieben.

  2. Nov 2019
    1. Theexhaustion of forest cover by aboutad1000 obliged iron smelters to usecoal instead of charcoal in coke-burning blast furnaces.



  3. Jul 2019
    1. across ecosystems? To take just one example, when fish stocks fall in Ghanaian seas, hunting of bushmeat goes up and 41 land-based species go into decline. As hyperkeystones, we unite the entire world in a chain of falling dominoes
    2. humans, the hyperkeystone

    1. Fear of humans as apex predators has landscape-scale impactsfrom mount ain lions to mice (2019)

      Apex predators such as large carnivores can have cascading, landscape-scale impacts across wild-life communities, which could result largely from the fear they inspire, although this has yet to be experimentally demonstrated.

      Humans have supplanted large carnivores as apex predators in many systems, and similarly pervasive impacts may now result from fear of the human ‘superpredator’.

      We conducted a landscape-scale playback experiment demonstrating that the sound of humans speaking generates a landscape of fear with pervasive effects across wildlife communities.

      • Large carnivores avoided human voices and moved more cautiously when hearing humans,
      • medium-sized carnivores became more elusive and reduced foraging.
      • Small mammals evidently benefited, increasing habitat use and foraging.

      Thus, just the sound of a predator can have landscape-scale effects at multiple trophic levels.

      Our results indicate that many of the globally observed impacts on wildlife attributed to anthropogenic activity may be explained by fear of humans.

  4. Apr 2019
    1. Although ostensibly inert, like Chernobyl’s ‘undead’ isotopes, plastics are in fact intensely lively, leaching endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
    2. The ‘uncanny’ might serve us better. One of the most chilling traces of the Anthropocene is the global dispersal of radioactive isotopes since mass thermonuclear weapons testing began in the middle of the 20th century, which means that everyone born after 1963 has radioactive matter in their teeth. The half-life of depleted uranium (U-238) is around 4.5 billion years, roughly the same as the age of the Earth, while that of the plutonium in Chernobyl’s nuclear reactor is 240,000 years. Such timescales resist the imagination, but exist as a haunting presence in our daily lives.
    3. The concept of ‘deep time’ was first described in 1788 by the Scottish geologist James Hutton, although only coined as a term 200 years later, by the American author John McPhee. Hutton posited that geological features were shaped by cycles of sedimentation and erosion, a process of lifting up then grinding down rocks that required timescales much grander than those of prevailing Biblical narratives.
    4. Deep time represents a certain displacement of the human and the divine from the story of creation. Yet in the Anthropocene, ironically we humans have become that sublime force, the agents of a fearful something that is greater than ourselves. A single mine in Canada’s tar sands region moves 30 billion tons of sediment annually, double the quantity moved by all the worlds’ rivers combined. The weight of the fresh water we have redistributed has slowed the Earth’s rotation. The mass extinction of plant and animal species is unlikely to recover for 10 million years.
  5. Jan 2019
    1. Anthropocene

      My understanding of this term is that it refers to the epoch or age in which human beings began impacting their environment. However, I didn't think that its origins were settled. Is there an agreed-upon originating point for the Anthropocene, and is this a scientific designation?

  6. Oct 2017
    1. e concept of the Anthropocene and sharing some key ways it has been discussed by scholars and has entered the public consciousness.

      Claim we have entered a new geological epoch, Anthropocene first made by Paul Crutzen & Eugene Stoermer in IGBP Journal, May 2000 Pg 17-18 [] (http://www.igbp.net/download/18.316f18321323470177580001401/1376383088452/NL41.pdf)

      Crutzen elaborated on this in article published in Nature in 2002. NB : Stresses humanity have become the crucially significant factor in potentially cataclysmic changes to our planet. [] (http://www.geo.utexas.edu/courses/387H/PAPERS/Crutzen2002.pdf)

    2. ‘Truly it would seem as if “Man strews the earth with ruin.”4 But this conclusion is too flattering to human vanity. Man's most permanent memorial is a rubbish-heap, and even that is doomed to be obliterated’ (Sherlock, 1922, p. 343

      CO2 atmospheric concentration used as simple indicator for many years to track great acceleration / progression in Anthropocence, this now joined by long list of other indicators, escalating at an alarming rate, population, water use/ shortage, paper consumption, global warming, increase in number and ferocity of storms .......

    3. In 1873, the Italian geologist and priest Antonio Stoppani suggested that our technologies, infrastructures, and patterns of land use had created fundamental changes in Earth’s systems, propelling us into what he called an ‘anthropozoic era’

      Note : Read over Article again by Will Steffen, Paull J Crutzen & John R McNeill. [] (https://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/public-events/archiv/alter-net/former-ss/2007/05-09.2007/steffen/literature/ambi-36-08-06_614_621.pdf)

      Explore development of Anthropocence. How do we track progression of Anthropocene? CO2 Emissions??

    4. Ted Talk by Will Steffen . Journey through science measuring humanity effect on the planet. important for me, while i had heard and read about debate on climate change, Anthropocene is a new concept for me. Irrefutable change, cannot be ignored.

  7. Apr 2016
    1. But I have emphasized many times that ”modernism” carries with it another idea, that of emancipation from some stagnant, archaic and stifling past, so that ”modern” is always a way to orient action according to an arrow of time that distinguishes the past from the future. An essential component of the concept of modernity is the idea of a future toward which we travel after a radical rupture with the past.

      The crucial formulation of Latour's argument—in tandem with the corollary, below, that "we have never been modern in the very simple sense that while we emancipated ourselves, each day we also more tightly entangled ourselves in the fabric of nature."

    2. ”Nature” isolated from its twin sister ”culture” is a phantom of Western anthropology. What we are dealing with instead are distributions of agencies with which we are all entangled in ways which are highly controversial and the reactions to which are almost always highly counterintuitive. Or to put it in my language, the world is not made of ”matters of fact” but rather of ”matters of concern”. ”Nature is but a name for excess”.

      "Matters of concern": I want to align this with my understanding of the dappled nature of the world.

    3. Now for the definition of ”nature”. I think we could easily agree in this assembly that since nature is not ”wilderness” nor the outside, nor the harmonious providential balance, nor any sort of cybernetic machine, nor the opposite of artificial or technical, it would be much more expedient to forget entirely the word “nature” or to use it in William James’ definition: ”nature is but a name for excess”.

      This quote from James by Latour is priceless, and deep: nature is but a name for excess. I need to track down the source.

  8. Feb 2016
    1. Everyday interactions replay the Turing Test over and over. Is there a person behind this machine, and if so, how much? In time, the answer will matter less, and the postulation of human (or even carbon-based life) as the threshold measure of intelligence and as the qualifying gauge of a political ethics may seem like tasteless vestigial racism, replaced by less anthropocentric frames of reference.

      That's beautiful. I only hope the transition isn't jarring and the rate of expansion for compassion matches or exceeds that of cognition.