Jim Hickey

Posts by This Writer

9 years 7 months ago

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Prior to the past couple of years, U.S. citizens have more often than not been skittish about appeals to social class, with the exception of a few rare moments of proto-revolutionary fervor, or in select locations--relevant to the energy sector in the Appalachian coal fields--that showed their social contrasts so glaringly that class conflict and class consciousness were inevitable byproducts. Despite this apparent 'unity,' many issues complicate the topic of class, which arguably bursts with paradox and contradiction.

I highly recommend, in considering today's essay, that...


9 years 7 months ago

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More than once, my copious critics have accused me of demonizing those with whom I disagree and lionizing my favorites. I don't see matters that way, but when someone laboring in life's vineyard strikes me as particularly interesting and thoughtful, perhaps I might admit a slight inclination to 'hero worship.' Today, readers will have a chance to meet a new hero of mine.

Among the attributes that I value most in someone, consciousness probably ranks number one. Like 'synergy,' 'responsibility,' and loads of other words highly touted by folks in this New Age, 'consciousness' is easy to use vaguely and without purpose. When I say that people have a high level of consciousness, I mean that they recognize that all pieces of the world fit together and that we...


9 years 7 months ago

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The ability to model a process--for example, transforming from carbon-based to other energy sources as prime movers in a society--is arguably one key to success in developing that process. Roman Frigg and Steven Hartmann point this out, in their Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article, "Models in Science",

"Models are of central importance in many scientific contexts. ...In short, models are one of the principal instruments of modern science. Philosophers are acknowledging the importance of...


9 years 7 months ago

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I twittered today, for maybe the sixth time. "No thing is any thing; no thing is nothing; relationship is all. Interconnection rules the world, so all 'things' are an error of perception." This sense, that interrelationship is what defines everything, making a rich comprehension of all-that-is possible, is one of the ideas(I almost said 'things,' a very useful word) that guides all of my work.

Thus, my stories examine the past. They examine one event or group or issue in relation to multiple others. Some very popular tropes these days--'tipping point...


9 years 7 months ago

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Appearances are always deceiving. What seems, on the surface, like an even-tempered examination of an issue almost always starts from an author's personal perspectives. As a writer, I'm very certain that I make my biases clear. I want other authors to do the same.

Arjun Makhijani, whom I profiled and whose book, Carbon Free and Nuclear Free: A Roadmap for United States Energy Policy, I reviewed, exemplifies this openness about initial position. On the other hand, David Mackay, whose very popular study, ...


9 years 7 months ago

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A teacher friend of mine, a brilliant fellow, spits with fury at the insidious decimation of the decent life, most recently in relation to the depredations of British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico. When I point out that he needs to be willing to do something about the crime and venality that he sees so clearly, whether it concerns nuclear giveaways, oil spills, or the sorry state of schools in Georgia, he shrugs his shoulders, and the perfect mimic of a 'cracker,' up-country Georgian, says, "I'm too stupid. They'd kill my ass if I ever did anything. That'll never happen."

And I tell him, just as I tell whatever readers pay a bit of attention here and elsewhere, "If 'that' never happens, then things will never change." And that possibility, of truly...


9 years 7 months ago

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Media creates the background for how people understand energy questions. The concerned citizen has two important jobs. The first is to pay attention to useful expressions--film, TV, radio, newspaper, internet, etc.--that mediate the reality of energy issues, such as a recent movie discussed extensively below.

The second responsibility is more complex, but no less important. Every single problem in the world today--from bickering with loved ones to worries about paying bills to concerns that the biosphere is about to implode--results from inappropriate or otherwise...


9 years 7 months ago


A lot of people, even those who extol renewable energy, hate dams. And such disdain is perfectly valid, whatever the benefits of this technological proclivity that humans share with beavers. Dams disrupt stream ecology; they eventually cause such sedimentation that the river bed rises and reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of the dam; they displace communities and cause permanent loss of all sorts of resources, especially land; they often privatize public property and, paradoxically, limit access to waterways and water.

On the other hand, flood...


9 years 7 months ago

A book is just a book, right? The answer depends in part on the book in question and in equal measure on the time when the book is available for the public to peruse. Arjun Makhijani's Carbon Free and Nuclear Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy (CFNF) is a dandy volume. To discern both the general response to the work and the ample qualifications that Dr. Makhijani has to write such a book, readers may look here...


9 years 7 months ago

Sixty five years ago, to my students, seems about as distant as 65,000 years ago, when the only sources of energy for our ancestors were wood and muscle. As a group, U.S. citizens are about as antipathetic to understanding the past as any people on earth. However, without this commitment to a processing of background, to a comprehension of how the past yields the present in identifiable and important ways, the future is going to unfold as a grotesque nightmare.

Sixty five years ago, of course, the U.S. mounted the second attack in the world's first--and so far...


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