How New Energy Order Will Dramatically Change our Daily Lives

It's strange that the business and geopolitics of energy takes up so little space on American front pages -- or that we could conduct an oil war in Iraq with hardly a mention of the words "oil" and "war" in the same paragraph in those same papers over the years. Strange indeed. And yet, oil rules our world and energy lies behind so many of the headlines that might seem to be about other matters entirely.


Take the food riots now spreading across the planet because the prices of staples are soaring, while stocks of basics are falling. In the last year, wheat (think flour) has risen by 130 percent, rice by 74 percent, soya by 87 percent, and corn by 31 percent, while there are now only eight to 12 weeks of cereal stocks left globally. Governments across the planetary map are shuddering. This is a fast growing horror story and, though the cry in the streets of Cairo and Port au Prince might be for bread, this, too, turns out to be a tale largely ruled by energy: Too many acres turned over to corn (and sugar cane) for the creation of biofuels; a historic drought in Australia and other climate-change-induced extremes of weather -- a result of the burning of fossil fuels -- that have affected crop yields; and many new middle-class consumers, in China and elsewhere, coming on line, with a growing desire for meat, the production of which is heavily petroleum based.

From resource wars to oil wars (the subjects of his last two books), Michael Klare, Tomdispatch's energy expert, has long been ahead of the curve when it came to ways in which our planet was being reshaped at the most basic level. Today, he offers Tomdispatch readers a peek into some of the key themes in his staggering new book, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy. If you want to grasp the true shape of our shaky world, of where exactly we've been and where we might be going, this is a book not to be missed. It offers the profile-in-formation of a shape-shifting planet, a planet in transition and on a road to nowhere pretty. Check out as well, the latest Tomdispatch brief video (produced by TD's Brett Story) -- in which Klare discusses key issues in his new book -- by clicking here. Introduction written by TomDispatch editor Tom Engelhardt.

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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