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This Weekend

T.G.I—Hell Yeah!

Weekend PicksFriday, December 2, 2016 by SFR

Snow, schmoe—we can still let the good times roll. Whether it's rockin' to hometown heroes, jam-a-lamming with touring acts, taking in the cultural importance of beautiful works of art or huddling around the heater counting down the days til we can ditch our gargantuan puffy jackets and feel the sun-kissed excellence of spring or summer, we're not going to let the falling flakes get us down.

Bilingual Story Time

Derlly Gonzalez tells engaging and immersive stories and performs sing-along songs in English and Spanish, free with museum admission.

More Info >>

small

This exhibit—curated by guest Ann Landi, who is a contributing editor for ARTnews—focuses on small works and artists working on a diminutive scale.

More Info >>

Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival

The country’s largest and oldest recycled art market celebrates its 18th year.

More Info >>


20 Seated, 40 Standing Only

This multi-compositional art performance includes music, movement and visual performance.

More Info >>

The Gaslamp Killer

William Bensussen is the DJ behind this project, creating music described as viscerally pure voltage electronica and instrumental psychedelic.

More Info >>

Wake Of Fire

It's heavy metal, OK?!?!

More Info >>


Sugar Mountain

Neil Young tribute, anyone?

More Info >>

Anne Valley-Fox

The local poet reads from her new collection, Nightfall.

More Info >>

Greg Butera and the Gunsels

Cajun honky-tonk and Western swing.

More Info >>

Get more information about how to spend your fun days when you sign up for the SFR Weekend newsletter, delivered to your inbox each Friday afternoon.

Morning Word: Chief Public Defender Cited for Contempt

Morning WordFriday, December 2, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Contempt of Budget
Ben Baur, the state’s chief public defender, who has been pushing for more state funding, has been cited for contempt of court and fined $5,000 after his office failed to appear in five cases in a Lovington district court, according to Andy Lyman.
Initially, Baur said, the Law Offices of the Public Defender notified the court they would not appear because their office could not afford to do so. Later, Baur’s office changed tactics and began entering cases then filed motions to withdraw. Some of those withdrawn motions are still awaiting action from the judges in the cases.
Homegrown Talent
The City of Santa Fe promoted Information Technology Director Renée Martínez, a Santa Fe native and Stanford University graduate, to deputy city manager for innovation. The new job comes with a $130,000 annual salary.

Renewables Could Boost Economic Development Prospects
An attorney who specializes in public utilities says the solar package deal the Public Regulation Commission approved for Facebook’s data center in Los Lunas is good for economic development if similar deals are provided to other businesses considering relocating to New Mexico.

PNM Boosts CEO Pay 16 Percent
Just before the Public Service Company raised consumer electric rates, it looks like the investor-owned utility boosted Chairman, President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn’s pay 16 percent. Caleb James at KOB 4 reports, “With her bonus pay in 2015, she makes $1,640,100 a year. Factor in her stock awards worth more than $3 million, Collawn raked in $5.2 million before PNM asked to hike customer rates.”

Energy Department Requests More Money for WIPP Improvements
US Energy Department officials say they need $54 million more to fund operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, New Mexico. If approved by Congress, about half the money will be used for road improvements and training for emergency first responders in the communities around WIPP and Los Alamos.
The increase is also needed for continued infrastructure maintenance at the storage site, including bolting to protect against roof and wall collapse, the continued mining of Panel 8 to make room for waste emplacement and a backlog of equipment maintenance.
US Senate Passes ECHO Act
Access to high-quality health care in rural communities should be getting easier now that the US Senate has approved the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Acta measure based on the University of New Mexico's successful Project ECHO program and sponsored by US Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico.
The project connects health care specialists and experts to primary care physicians in hard-to-reach areas using interactive video-conferencing. Originally designed to combat the Hepatitis-C epidemic in New Mexico, Project ECHO now enables patients to get treatment for a diverse array of disease conditions from various levels of health care providers, and it has grown to serve communities nationwide and internationally.
Trump Closer to Naming Supreme Court Nominee
President-elect Donald Trump says he’s narrowed his choice for a Supreme Court nominee down to three or four candidates and that he’ll decide soon.

Judge: Police Promotion Policy ‘Too Vague’
US Federal Court Judge Robert Brack has ordered the City of Albuquerque to re-work its new police officer promotion policy. In his ruling, Brack says the policy’s wording is “too vague,” and that the policy should only apply to officer conduct since the settlement agreement was approved by the Federal Court in June 2015.

♫ Drive Like a New Mexican ♫
A new report from CarInsuranceComparison.com ranked New Mexico drivers as the sixth-worst in the nation based on federal traffic-death data.
Weighing strongly against New Mexico is a high percentage of fatal drunken driving crashes, and a No. 1 ranking in pedestrian and bicycling deaths. New Mexicans ranked among the top 10 worst drivers in the nation for the second year in a row. Last year, New Mexico drivers ranked second-worst.

The Fork

Christmas Already?

The ForkThursday, December 1, 2016 by Gwyneth Doland

Seriously? I haven’t even finished all of the cranberry orange relish and I’m already thinking about what to eat at Christmas and Hanukkah? (They overlap this year.)

Last week I wrote about Thanksgiving cocktails, including gluhwein. Did you try it? Here’s a picture of me, freezing, clutching a hot mug of mulled wine somewhere in Vienna a few years ago. Seriously, try this recipe.

If beer is more your thing, check out this beer and cheese pairing class on Dec. 6 from Rowley Farmhouse Ales and Cheesemongers of Santa Fe. You can taste 10 cheeses paired with 8 beers and ciders through six courses. Brewmaster John Rowley and cheesemonger Sascha Guinn Anderson will walk you through it for $35. Starts at 6 pm.

Got family coming into town for the holidays? Want to get them out of the house for a while? Have a look at the schedule of cooking classes at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. The Traditional New Mexican Christmas class ($85, offered Dec. 10 and Dec. 24) gives a great overview of Santa Fe classics of tamales and red chile, posole, calabacitas and biscochitos. There are tons of other classes, especially the last two weeks of the month.

Las Cosas Cooking School also has an incredible prime rib class ($90, Dec. 10) and a high-altitude baking class I probably need to take ($90, Dec. 9). See more about those here.

Looking at the December calendar, here are a few things for you to jot down now: Christmas at the Palace is 5:30-8 pm Friday, Dec. 9. Head down to the Palace of the Governors for hot cider and cookies, music and activities for the kids, plus Santa and Mrs. Claus. (I’m not saying I’d bring a small flask of something in order to spike my cider because that would not be a thing I’d say I’d do.)

And Las Posadas is 5:30-7 pm Sunday, Dec. 11. Even if you’re not into the Spanish history or the religious meaning of the thing, it involves more cookies and cider in the museum courtyard. Bundle up the kids and get out there. (See above re: flask.)



What news do you want to see in this newsletter? We want to hear from you! Let us know! Email thefork@sfreporter.com


Game On: Final Fantasy XV—The First 12 Hours

Exploring Duscae in Square Enix's Newest Final Fantasy

Pop CultureThursday, December 1, 2016 by Alex De Vore

It is a turbulent time for the long-running and oft-beloved Final Fantasy series, specifically for the core games. Following the brilliant overhaul of the combat system in FFXII, a less-than-stellar reception for FFXIII, the online-only antics of XIV (MMORPGs are not for everyone, you know) and nearly innumerable delays for the newest iteration, Final Fantasy XV is finally here—and we’ve been playing the hell out of it.

We join a young prince named Noctis as he sets out on a road trip to marry a woman from a neighboring kingdom, thereby strengthening diplomatic ties and blah blah blah blah blah. It’s a familiar enough setup for fantasy fans, but given the series’ penchant for the creation of worlds not tethered to any specific time or place, FFXV is every bit cellphones and cars as it is swords and magic. Along for the journey is a small group of Noctis’ close friends, though at least two of them might be more aptly described as servants. Ignis is akin to a valet or butler and provides the prince with wise insight, cooks for the party during downtime and even drives the Regalia, Noctis’ totally badass car. Ignis’ abilities err toward the strategic, a mid-range fighter who is more slow and calculating that up-close brawler. Such a fighting style is tied to Gladiolus, Noctis’ towering bodyguard who, with massive two-handed swords, doles out incredible strength and damage in an up-close-and-personal fashion. Also along for the ride is Prompto, an actual childhood chum of the prince who metes out small but quick attacks with ranged handguns. Noctis himself is an amalgam of all three, able to warp into the fray of battle with fierce attacks, rain down punishing magic attacks with the chance to damage multiple enemies and the ability to wield ancient weapons once belonging to his royal predecessors.

We won’t spoil any further story elements here, but suffice it to say that conflict does indeed arise, and that a shocking major event derails Noctis’ simple task and thrusts him and his friends into a perilous situation out from which they must navigate themselves. You’ll just have to pick it up and find out for yourself.

As for how FFXV plays, let’s take a look at the mechanics at work.

The combat system plays out like a cross between the real-time fracas of FFXII and the more measured skirmishes of FFXIII. We mainly control Noctis though, thankfully, we have a say in what happens to the other party members through various techniques and more control over the application of items (potions, elixirs, phoenix downs and similar FF items are obviously part of the game). At first blush, the fighting seems to play out like any old hack-and-slash, but the timing and layers of strategy needed to effectively dispatch foes goes much deeper. It’s actually quite brilliant how simple the combat seems versus the myriad options lurking beneath the hood. Effectively, it creates one of the stronger reasons for series newcomers to give the game a shot but should also satisfy longtime fans. After each battle a report card is shown, which should allow players to experiment and learn to fight better. The ability to block incoming attacks makes its FF debut, and with proper timing it becomes a godsend as well as a necessity.

Each party member is also assigned passive abilities, such as Prompto’s insistence on cataloguing the journey with photography, Gladiolus’ survival skills (which basically amounts to him “finding” items after battles), Ignis’ preparation of stat-boosting meals during rest times and Noctis’ love of fishing. Yes, fishing. You’ll level these abilities up by using them which, in turn, unlocks better meals, more frequent item discovery and more.

The party itself levels up through FFXV’s Ascension system, a mechanic similar to the Sphere Grid found in FFX, though not nearly as bafflingly complicated. Through various classifications (combat, magic, abilities, teamwork, etc.), Noctis and company can transmute experience and ability points earned through battle and exploration into stronger attacks, new abilities, passive perks and more.

Mechanics aside, FFXV truly shines in its presentation of the pre-existing relationships between its heroes. We truly get the sense that, despite whatever their stations might be, Noctis and his pals care for one another. They poke fun and chat openly, but they always operate like old friends who love each other—they cherish the meaning of friendship. Perhaps that seems like a no-brainer in a story-heavy series that has always been about partying up and preventing great evils with badasses at your side, but FFXV explores the idea of friendship more completely than any previous game, and it does so in subtle yet believable ways while also reminding players that there is room for growth in any relationship.

Thus far, the story is only beginning, and we’ll update this review with further thoughts as they occur. In the meantime, FFXV is a strong contender for best is the series in ages. Unlike previous games in the series, we’ve enjoyed all of the party members’ personalities (at least the ones we’ve met so far), and the story is so enticing we practically can’t wait to get back to Duscae.

If we were forced to give the game a score right now, it would probably hover someplace between 8 and 9, but there is still so much more to see and do. Stay tuned for any further developments.

A Few Things to Think About as You Play

-Skip the Tutorial
It’s long and boring and the game itself will teach you what you need to know.

-Turn Stamina On, Sprint Forever
In the Options menu you can switch Noctis’ stamina on. This will show a small green bar above him during gameplay which represents his ability to sprint, a must-have while exploring the open world of Duscae that can also be used indefinitely with a little practice. Simply hold down the sprint button (B on Xbox One, Square on PS4) and then, when the bar is just about to deplete, let go and press again. Noctis will flash green and can then continue to sprint.

-Get the Regroup Skill for Ignis
In the “Technique” tab of the Ascension menu, Ignis’ Regroup skill can be activated. This allows him to heal the entire party at once, one of the most valuable things one can do, especially when enemies start to mob you.

-Experiment Magic-Wise
Unlike previous FF games, FFXV allows the player to concoct various spells with differing effects through what is called Elemancy. Scattered through Duscae are stones imbued with fire, ice or lightning properties, and by combining different values of each along with items found through battle or earned through fights, Noctis can wield some pretty crazy spells. We experimented with many configurations and elements, and our favorite so far created a massive fiery explosion with an area-of-effect that not only set a whole mess of dudes on fire, it also poisoned our foes for some handy repeated damage over time. This was cool as hell and also looked really beautiful. As an added bonus, it definitely came with a feeling of "Yeah, I'm effin' tough!"

-Talk to the People Who Run the Restaurants
At restaurants there are NPCs called “Tipsters” who not only know stuff, but who will invite you to take part in bounty hunts for extra items and cash. They can also cook up stat-boosting meals for a price and, in some cases, help you with your side quests.

-Side Quest, Schmide Quest
Most of the quests outside the main storyline are pretty tedious fetch missions that do little to help out. We’ve skipped a bunch and, thus far, it hasn’t made things harder. Yes, many RPGs require a healthy amount of grinding to level up properly, but it seems like this game knows that we don’t all that and doesn’t punish us for it. Still, it was pretty cool to feed that one cat we found.

-Save Your Game All the Damn Time
It’s right there in the menu, and you should use it even though there’s the handy auto-save. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Final Fantasy VX
Developed and Published by Square Enix
Xbox One, PS4
$59.99
Rated T (for teen, you guys)

Morning Word: Toulouse Oliver Heads to Santa Fe Early

Morning WordThursday, December 1, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Early Start for Toulouse Oliver
Interim Secretary of State Brad Winter has decided to leave Santa Fe early, so that means that Secretary of State-elect Maggie Toulouse Oliver will be sworn in and take over the duties on Dec. 9.

Gutierrez No Longer Treasurer
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports, “Doña Ana County Treasurer David Gutierrez was stripped of his elected title and duties Wednesday evening after he was found guilty of public corruption or gross immorality by public official” for offering a female staffer thousands of dollars in exchange for sex in August 2014.

Luján Keeps Leadership Post in Washington
US Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-New Mexico, has been reappointed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve on her leadership team as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Domenici Returns as Senior Land Office Adviser
Retired US Sen. Pete Domenici is returning to New Mexico to serve as a “senior adviser” to state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn Jr., a move, The Santa Fe New Mexican reports, that “could raise Dunn’s political profile among state Republicans as he pushes to win state control over federal lands and possibly considers higher office.” Meanwhile, Andy Lyman reports that Dunn plans to meet with state lawmakers at an American Legislative Exchange Council summit and ask conservative members of congress, like US Rep. Steve Pearce, R-NM, to support the transfer of federal mineral rights on private lands back to the state.

OPEC Cutback Could Be Good For New Mexico
OPEC’s decision to cut back on daily production could boost oil prices past $50 a barrel, which could eventually help generate more oil and gas production in New Mexico. The extra royalty revenue could help offset the state’s budget deficit.

Obama Talks Pot with Rolling Stone
President Barack Obama tells Rolling Stone he thinks cannabis should be treated as a public health issue in the same way alcohol and tobacco are, and he’s not sure the Drug Enforcement Agency is even close to recognizing the medical benefits of marijuana.

The NFL’s ‘Disappointing Decision’ on Pot
The National Football League also has a dim view on the herbal medicine, and suspended Buffalo Bills tackle Seantrel Henderson for 10 games after he tested positive for using medical cannabis for relief from Crohn’s disease.
Henderson’s agent, Brian Fettner, called the league’s decision “heartbreaking,” and added he cannot appeal the suspension because the NFL doesn’t allow an exemption for medical marijuana use.

“His situation is unique, but the drug policy doesn’t line up with the uniqueness. It’s disappointing,” Fettner said. “The reality is, the NFL’s position has been if you need medical marijuana then you’re too sick to play,” he added. “But that’s just not the case for Seantrel Henderson.”
New Mexico State a Top School for Hispanics
New Mexico State University is one of the best institutions for Hispanic students in the country, according to a list compiled by Higher Education Magazine.
Using 2014 data from the Department of Education, NMSU ranked in the top 30 in both first major bachelor’s degrees granted (26th) and first major master’s degrees granted (21st). NMSU awarded 1,302 bachelor’s degrees (48 percent) to Hispanics, and 305 Hispanic students (38 percent) were awarded master’s degrees.

Additionally, NMSU ranked 32nd in undergraduate enrollment for four-year schools with 7,738 Hispanic students (49 percent).

Morning Word: New Mexico Vote Certified

Morning WordWednesday, November 30, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Ballot Recount Starts
The New Mexico State Canvassing Board, according to the Associated Press, certified election results Tuesday, but the election isn’t official in three tight legislative races where poll workers still have to recount ballots. When results are within 1 percent for the top two candidates, a recount is required.
The races include the one between Democratic incumbent John Sapien and Republican Diego Espinoza in Senate District 9, House District 23’s race between Democrat Daymon Ely and Republican incumbent Paul Pacheco, and the tightest race, Republican incumbent David Adkins and Democrat Ronnie Martinez in House District 29.
Ballots Safe in New Mexico
Dan Boyd reports, “Outgoing New Mexico Secretary of State Brad Winter said Tuesday that state residents can be confident in the outcomes of this month’s general election, disputing a suggestion from President-elect Donald Trump about widespread illegal voting.”

Perez Wants APD Job Back
Former Albuquerque Police Officer Dominique Perez wants his job back now that second-degree murder charges have been dropped against him. The city says it will take a second look at his termination, but may not rehire him yet since charges could still be refiled against him.

On the Brink
SFR’s Elizabeth Miller reports that watchdogs assembling in Santa Fe say it’s time to stop ignoring the ongoing threat posed by more than 15,000 nuclear weapons worldwide.

Secret Guardianship Program Called ‘Barbaric’
Diane Dimond continues to investigate the state’s elder guardianship program and reports some families caught up in the secret system call it “barbaric and corrupt.”  

Trump Needs Civics 101 Lesson
Speaking of Trump, someone needs to remind the president-elect that flag-burning is protected speech. Tuesday morning, he tweeted that he thinks people who protest by burning a flag should lose their US citizenship or spend a year in jail. Trump must have missed civics class, because people can only have their citizenship revoked if they commit treason, attempt to overthrow the government by force, or bear arms against the United States.

Trump Quitting Business
At least Trump now says he’s having legal documents drafted to take him out of his business empire so he can focus on being president, but questions about conflicts of interest remain.

Hit the Slopes
Tired of politics and want to get off the grid for a bit? Well, here’s some good news: Ski Santa Fe will officially open this Saturday.
Ski Santa Fe received four inches of snow from a storm over Thanksgiving weekend, bringing the base depth on Tuesday to 20 inches. Ski resort officials announced Tuesday they would open three trails and the children's center along with the Super Chief Quad chairlift and the beginner chairlift. Snowmaking crews are busy making more snow to open additional trails.
Taos has pushed back its opening until Dec. 15.

County Commission Rejects Water Rate Hike

Divided vote shows commissioners' concerns over business impacts

Local NewsTuesday, November 29, 2016 by Steven Hsieh

Water costs won’t be going up for Santa Fe County residents and businesses. 

Local lawmakers on Tuesday rejected a water rate hike for Santa Fe County residents and businesses. The proposed increase was a move county public utility employees said was necessary to meet increased operating costs, about $1 million worth. 

The proposed ordinance would have increased monthly service costs, as well as the fee per 1,000 gallons of water used, over two years beginning January 1. The average residential water customer, who uses about 5,000 gallons a month, would have seen their monthly rates increase from $44.50 to $51.09.

Before the vote, county Utilities Division Director Claudia Borchert said failing to pass the rate increase would force her department to make tough choices. She checked off a list of hypotheticals: "Do we stop providing good customer service? When people call the county, we answer the phone. Will we put people who want new meters on a new schedule?”  

The Board of County Commissioners voted 3-2 against the rate increases.

Commissioner Liz Stefanics, who represents the district that includes Santa Fe Community College, asked Borchert how the county can accommodate businesses who will see particularly high increases. Stefanics, who ends her term this year to move back to the state Senate, voted against the increases along with Commissioners Henry Roybal and Robert Anaya.

During a public comment session, representatives from the Rancho Viejo South subdivision and the Club at Las Campanas spoke against the ordinance.

"The service charge rate hike punishes conservationists. No matter how much they use, they still pay that rate hike up front,” said Linda Perrone, a resident of the Rancho Viejo subdivision.

Anaya, who represents a predominately rural district south of Santa Fe, suggested that the increased costs for operating the water utility could be sorted out in the county budgeting process for next year, rather than “at the 11th hour in December."  

Commissioners Miguel Chavez and Kathy Holian, both of whom end their terms at the end of the year, voted in favor of the ordinance. Holian, who represents the district comprising the east side of the county, said the hike was “fair,” adding, “Customer water rates should completely cover the costs of the utility, and it’s not fair to make other taxpayers who are not using as much water subsidize the cost."

The changes failed despite an amendment to exempt some low-income households from the increases.

MetroGlyphs

11.30.16

MetroGlyphsWednesday, November 30, 2016 by SFR
Russ Thornton is a Santa Fe local who has replaced his first passion, cooking, with a new love interest, the weekly SFR comic he's created called MetroGlyphs. Reach him at santafechef@hotmail.com

7 Days

11.30.16

7 DaysWednesday, November 30, 2016 by SFR
1

STATE ACCIDENTALLY GAVE $40K TO THE WRONG FILM FESTIVAL LAST YEAR

A good argument for maybe coming up with a name that’s different than the competition.

2

LAS VEGAS MAN ARRESTED FOR CANDY STORE HEIST

And that’s why they call him the leader of the pack (vroom! vroom!).

3

SFPD TO RECEIVE ADDITIONAL MARIJUANA CITATION TRAINING

Because “lowest law enforcement priority” is too hard to understand.

4

FLORENCE HENDERSON DEAD AT 82

This year just keeps on taking and taking!

5

FIDEL CASTRO ALSO DEAD AT 90

We’re more partial to Mrs. Brady since she wasn’t, like, imprisoning gay people or anything.

6

THIS JUST IN: MANNEQUIN CHALLENGE ISN’T ACTUALLY ANYTHING

But way to stand perfectly still, everyone—you’re really doing important work.

7

SNOW ACCUMULATES ON CITY STREETS FOR FIRST TIME THIS WINTER

Santa Feans can’t decide whether to drive 18 or 81 mph.


Back on the Brink

Nuclear watchdogs assembling in Santa Fe say it’s time to stopignoring ongoing threat

Local NewsWednesday, November 30, 2016 by Elizabeth Miller

Perhaps the greatest threat posed to our future generations is the one we seem to be letting drift quietly into obscurity: that 15,000 nuclear weapons exist now, any one of them capable of wiping out a city in seconds.

Of course, Santa Fe, poised as it is between Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, rarely forgets that weapons abound. So, to this landscape where we’re still cleaning up from a form of warfare most have consigned to the history books, Creative Santa Fe, the Nuclear Threat Initiative and N Square have called thought leaders and diplomats to explore, study and discuss the topic. Just a few of the events in the Santa Fe Nuclear Weapons Summit will be open to the public, but among those is a dialogue on Sunday, Dec. 4, between former US Secretary of Defense William J Perry and journalist Eric Schlosser. Both have written on the flawed logic, policy and perception surrounding our nuclear arsenal, and share the sentiment that this threat is far from over.

“Today, the danger of some sort of nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger,” Perry, who served as defense secretary from 1994 to 1997, states in his memoir, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink.

To Creative Santa Fe, inviting a cohort of about 50 people who will tour New Mexico’s facilities to discuss nuclear weapons in the context of where they were born was easy bait, and the first in a series they hope will entice a younger generation to Santa Fe and leverage the CEOs, diplomats and PhDs who have retired here.

“We have a history of being at the forefront of innovation, of art, of culture, of science and technology—we’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. We’ve always attracted the innovators and disruptors,” says Cyndi Conn, executive director of Creative Santa Fe. “Why not bring that legacy to the world as a place to solve problems?”

Schlosser was reporting on the future of warfare in space when former missile launch officers began telling him stories of near-misses, accidents and mistakes with nuclear weapons. Six years of research later, he released the book Command and Control, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history. A documentary of the same name is produced by Schlosser and directed by Robert Kenner, and will be screened as part of the summit.

“One of the main themes of my book, and it applies beyond nuclear weapons, is that human beings are much better at creating complex technology systems than we are at controlling them or knowing what to do when they go wrong,” Schlosser tells SFR. He points to the WIPP, built to securely store transuranic waste for tens of thousands of years, and host of an explosion within its first 15 years in operation.

“There’s a whole list of things that we can do to reduce the threat, but the first step is to even know that it exists, and to understand the nature of it. So I’ve tried to do that with my work,” Schlosser says.

Nuclear war on US soil may be less likely now than it was decades ago, he says, but in its place we find an increased risk of a city somewhere else in the world vanishing in a mushroom cloud.

“One of the dangers right now is that a lot of these things are aging—not just the weapons, but the weapons systems themselves, and as they age, they become more problematic. So you either have to modernize them or get rid of them, but keeping increasingly obsolete technology on alert and ready to be used at a moment’s notice is probably the worst of those options,” he says.

Activism played a role in de-escalating the conflicts in the early 1980s that kept nuclear warfare hovering on horizon; it could play that role again. With that in mind, and with a new set of fingers on the United States’ proverbial nuclear “red button” beginning next year, it’s time for a renewed public debate on nuclear weapons, why we have them, and how safely they’re being managed. But for Schlosser, the end result of those conversations is already clear: “There are just certain things that we shouldn’t do,” he says. “If it’s harmful for 30,000 years, maybe we shouldn’t make it.”



Command and Control screening and Q&A with Eric Schlosser
3:30 pm Saturday Dec. 3. $8-$10.
Center for Contemporary Arts,
1050 Old Pecos Trail
982-1338


At the Nuclear Brink: A Conversation with William J Perry and Eric Schlosser
5 pm Sunday Dec. 4. $15.
Lensic Performing Arts Center,
211 W San Francisco St.
988-1234


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