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Messages - ergophobe

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The deficit is now expected to close in on $1 trillion this year, and then stay over $1 trillion for every year on the horizon.

Remember how shocking it was when the DEBT passed $1 trillion? That was 1982.

The last time there was a decrease of more than 5% was... 1995 to 2000. The time before that was after WWII. In 1946, it was 119% and by the 1970s, it was bouncing around between 31% and 35%. Now we're looking at 106% next year. Prior to 2016, we had hit 104% or more only three time: 1945, 1946, 1947.

Water Cooler / Re: Master Plan of the Universe (maps)
« on: August 23, 2019, 04:02:09 PM »
It's a handy map. When you're away, you can always look in and see what's happening in the Milky Way.

I'd rather we don't have a recession for another 10 years, but if it's going to come, I wish it would come right now.

Water Cooler / Master Plan of the Universe (maps)
« on: August 22, 2019, 09:36:28 PM »

The yield curve is no longer a reliable predictor

Highly debated,  but possibly true for many reasons. I guess two years from now we'll know (the Great Recession began 23 months after the yield curve inverted)

IMO, yet-to-be invented tech is the only shot we have.  Boundless, nearly-free energy from solar, fusion, or nukes may be the key, 'cause we're going to need a shitload of cheap power to reverse this.

We will need that, but we first need modest amounts of money. There is promising tech, for example, that is basically self-powering. But currently would cost $600/ton to remove carbon from the atmosphere. They need to build a full-size prototype (size of a shipping container), but for lack fo $20,000,000 are unable to do so.

With existing tech, you could offset your emissions for $10,000/year, except even at that price it's not available, for lack of the $20M.

$10,000 is more than most of us would spend (tragedy of the commons problem). But honestly, if they got this down to $1000, I would sign up tomorrow, tragedy of the commons problem or not. But, in all honesty, $10,000/year would be a really tough nut for me even though I believe that the stakes are high enough to warrant giving up a lot of comfort to make it happen.

Thus far, though almost every scenario deemed possible to succeed in the Paris negotiations runs up against the money obstacle. The Koch brothers lackeys say it's too expensive and won't fund it. The hardline environmentalists say it causes "moral hazard" and won't fund it. The researchers say "Damn your politics, we better get going now or we're screwed." Bill Gates is funding some. But for half the price of a star quarterback, we could make a Rev 1 version of Klaus Lackner's machine.


 I notice the Catholic Reporter mentioned. I've always felt that the pope making climate change a fundamental issue, saying that all Christians need to be concerned about the impacts of climate change on the least fortunate of the world, was a bit of a turning point. I noticed that prior to that my father (a very committed Catholic - daily communicant - 90 years old, surrounded by a lot of old very Catholic men) would often allude to some of the standard denialist tropes and when I would press him, he would admit that he didn't believe it (i.e. didn't believe in the denialism). But they were standard tropes among conservative Catholics. So when the pope said, "No, climate change is a Christian issue," a huge swath of conservative Catholics suddenly had not just license, but encouragement, to talk openly about it and admit that it was a problem.

Before 1992, it was not a conversation that divided sharply along partisan lines. With the 2020 election looming, it is shaping up to be highly partisan in the US for a couple more years, but hopefully we will get past that. The actual solutions will remain partisan, much like any budget discussion, but the fact of the need to do something should not be partisan.

Definitely the conversation is changing. Will it change fast enough? as Bill McKibben says, "This is the first timed exam in the history of humanity."

So we have earlier articles, but is that particular one proven fake?

No... it is believable, if not verified. Katherine Hayhoe put out a video a few years ago on the "discovery" of climate change due to greenhouse gasses starting with observations by Fourrier in 1820.

Katherine Hayhoe first blew me away with her answer (alluded to in this video) to the question: "How much of current warming is due to human activity?" The answer, it turns out, is something *over* 100% because, based on the Milankovitch cycles, we should be in a mild cooling period, but instead we are heating up. Thus we are causing more than 100% of warming.

Fake news!

Web Development / Shape Up - book about how Basecamp/37 Signals works
« on: August 20, 2019, 09:55:17 PM »
I don't know if any of you follow Jason Friend and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of Basecamp (formerly 37 Signals), and evangelists of saner workplaces. They have a new free, online-only book (actually written by someone I've never heard of, but describing the way Basecamp works).

This is a followup of sorts to It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work

I've only gotten through the Intro, but looks interesting

Part One is all about Shaping — the pre-work we do on projects before we consider them ready to schedule. Each chapter explains a specific step of the process, from setting the appetite on a raw idea, to sketching out a solution, to writing a pitch that presents the potential project. Along the way you’ll learn specific techniques — like breadboarding and fat-marker sketching — to keep the design at the right level of abstraction.

Part Two is about Betting — how we choose among the pitched projects and decide what to do six weeks at a time.

Part Three is about Building — the expectations we place on the teams and the special practices they use to discover what to do. We’ll look at how the teams figure out what to do, how they integrate design and programming, how they track what’s known versus unknown, and finally how they make the hard calls to finish the project on time.

Water Cooler / Re: I wish ...
« on: August 20, 2019, 03:01:02 PM »
I don't think it represents how base we all are, but rather the grander and more collective the benefit of a wish the more it seems like magical thinking.

Yes, exactly. It's hard to think big when it seems impossible. So we tend to not even wish for those things.

But imagining something is possible is a precondition for an "impossible" thing to become possible. I remember Arlo Guthrie saying that he wishes people would quit striving for peace. "Peace isn't something you strive for. Love is what you strive for. Peace is what you settle for when you can't love each other. You're walking down the street and see someone you hate. You just peace him out and keep on walking." (best read aloud with an Arlo Guthrie accent).

Water Cooler / Re: I wish ...
« on: August 19, 2019, 09:46:54 PM »
an end to war

Nobody I've ever asked could think bigger than a beach house. In fact, nobody has ever picked something that didn't primarily benefit them (end of war benefits you, but not primarily - other people would benefit far more).

To be clear, it isn't a problem with the selfishness of people. As soon as you make it clear they can and should think bigger, they do. But they are bounded by the possible, even when you say they should set aside the possible. Of course, in my scenario, I don't set aside the possible. Some things cannot be solved with an infinite amount of money. But it's the same essential problem. It's hard to wish big unless we're prepared for it.

Water Cooler / Re: I wish ...
« on: August 19, 2019, 05:32:39 PM »
It reminds me vaguely of an article I once read where researchers studied prayer intentions inscribed in the ledger at some crypt for some saint. It was everything from "I pray that all nations would live in peace," to "Dear God, please stop my husband from beating me when he's drunk."

Also... for a while I liked to ask people, "If money were no object, what would you do?" I was surprised by the number of people who said things like "Buy a new car," or "Go to France." Nobody ever thought big. I had said "money was no object" but they still could only imagine that meant a few thousand dollars or, at the outside, a few hundred thousand or a couple million (so "buy a beach house" or "pay off my debts"). Nobody thought in terms of trillions of dollars. It was interesting to see how bounded we are.

Anyway, the website you linked made me think of all that. It's interesting how precise and minute some of those wish are. Fascinating.

We'll save the world now ...because renewables are cheaper. hhh

Well, that's always been the only viable game plan. Now if they would just price in the externalities of carbon, wind would look really cheap.

But here's the nasty little secret very few people are talking about - saving the world is going to require negative emissions (not necessarily *net* negative, but some carbon capture). In the Paris negotiations, they generated 1,000 scenarios for different levels and schedules for emissions reductions and carbon sequestration. It was something like 16 that actually kept us below 2 degrees and 14 of those require massive carbon capture.

The good news, though, is that carbon capture tech is already invented. The bad news is that it's super expensive right now. About $600/ton. And one of the more promising technologies can't build a full-scale prototype for want of $20,000,000.

Sorry... but I was afraid RC was at risk of becoming optimistic and was afraid his sense of identity was at risk.

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