Ele makes an important point on passing: mining resources. Take for example Salar de Uyuni, a vast high Andean salt lake in Bolivia. The sad story is this. Lithium, essential battery component for both hybrid cars and computer batteries, is a sister element to sodium and occurs naturally as lithium chloride in salt lakes. The world's supply has been dominated by Chilean Andes salt lakes. To extract the lithium, you dissolve the salt in water - which has to be pumped up to the high deserts using huge amounts of energy - then extract the lithium. What's left is salty water. Unfortunately, the world has something of an oversupply of salt water, so without a useful market, the best thing to do is tip it over the edge of the mountain, but unfortunately it kills everything it meets on the way down. The Chilean lakes are near exhaustion, and the mining corporations are turning their eyes to Bolivia, and the Salar de Uyuni
This lies on indigenous land, which Bolivian president Evo Morales is pledged to protect. Chilean unionists have been visiting to warn the locals of the environmental degradation that accompanies lithium extraction.
Quite apart from the problem this poses for the electrical car as saviour from oil addiction, there's the problem of batteries for mobile computing / ubicomp
The time scales we'tre looking at are quite big: there might be twenty years of lithium in Bolivia, if "we" are ready to sacrifice the indigenous lands. Oh yeah, and to use immense amounts of precious water and energy extracting it to keep the automotiove industry - four of the fortune 500 top ten companies - in business, and the addiction to personal transport alive. But also the addictin to the personal compuer / personal devices of every sort. Rather less time if - as China and India grow - they expect to have the same intensity of personal devices that we waste in the west.
The time scales - the temporalities - of digital media are rather varied. I'm told my 5-year-old laptop is unrepairable (the VRAM is going) - I already replaced the battery, rather shamefacedly.
"Instantaneous" - or let's say, more accurately, real-time transmission lives on the time of the real, of physical processes, includeing the deep geological time that cast the ancient seabeds into the Alta Andina.
AsCharlie observes, analog is invented by digital, in the same way tradition is invented by modernity - indigenous tradition by colonial modernisation.
It's a shame Hugo Chavez, who has been very close to the indiogenous government in Bolivia, has allowed himself to become demonised: it means the machinery of post-Westphalian 'regime change' can claim to be rescuing the world economy from Evo Morales should - God forbid - he should ever be forcibly removed from office.
Our most innocent pursuits are stitched into the fabric of history
Bloody hell, it must be late - je=t lag is a great aid to weird sleeping patterns and apocalyptic sentiments
(I really wanted to apologies to Johannes but that had better wait till I've slept
Professor of Global Media and Communication
Research Centre in Global Art and Culture
Winchester School of Art
Winchester SO23 8DL,
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Editor-in-Chief Leonardo Book Series