June 21, 2009
Today’s example is Julie Johnston’s comment on Real Climate. Julie says:
I keep thinking that what would actually help is a little bit of urgency, of panic, of fear, of scared-shitlessness on the part of the scientists. These are the people who *know* what is going to happen…
Holy flying leaps, what does it take to get 2500 scientists excited? “Difficult for contemporary societies to cope with”?! Thousands — hundreds of thousands — of people are already losing their lives and their livelihoods, their food security and water sources, their homes and their whole nations at only +0.78 degrees C!
Holy flying leaps, Julie, you do love your drama (and your exclamation points).
She was kind enough to link to her site. Now it all makes sense. Julie says:
Sometimes I just break down and weep. I am one of the unlucky ones … I understand global climate change, I see it happening, I know who is being impacted the worst (and it ain’t rich white people with big cars) – and it breaks my heart.
Now I might feel sorry for Julie but her martyr complex is totally out of control:
I lament that more people don’t share this burden.
And then she goes on to quote global warming jokes. This was her favorite:
“According to a new UN report, the global warming outlook is much worse than originally predicted. Which is pretty bad when they originally predicted it would destroy the planet.” – Jay Leno
My professional diagnosis and prescription: Irony deficient Julie needs either a drink or a smack upside the head.
June 7, 2009
Kate has an *interesting* post on global warming. Some highlights and my thoughts:
Kate says: Environmentalists hope dire predictions and a healthy dose of drama spur corrective action. Maybe more people will reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Let’s see. Scare the shit out of voters and they will agree with you. For the past eight years, all I have heard is GWB was using terrorism as a scare tactic. Now scare tactics are okay.
I don’t give a shit if you believe in global warming or not. The bottom line is this – didn’t you learn as a kid to clean up after yourself? Well, human beings have a miserable track record cleaning up after themselves. Whether such messiness leads to our destruction remains a point of contention and debate, but the facts are clear: corporations and people should do more to clean up the planet.
I would qualify that. Poor human beings have a miserable track record on the environment. As countries become richer, they pollute less. Rich people demand (and will pay for) a cleaner environment.
The current solution to climate change offered by the government is “cap and trade”.
Some neocons like Ralph Nader don’t like it:
Cap-and-traders assume, without much justification, that one country can put a price on carbon emissions while another doesn’t without affecting trade or investment decisions.
Good intentions to limit big polluters in some countries but not others will turn any meaningful cap into Swiss cheese. It can be avoided by relocating existing and new production of various kinds of CO2-emitting industries to jurisdictions with no or virtually no limits. This is known as carbon leakage, and it leads to trade anarchy.
and Gore’s scientist/global warming poster boy, James Hansen is not a fan:
Hansen lambasts the current international approach of setting targets to be met through “cap and trade” schemes as not up to the task. “This approach is ineffectual and not commensurate with the climate threat. It could waste another decade, locking in disastrous consequences for our planet and humanity
but yet Kate says:
We *know* we’re in trouble. And we also know how to fix it. Let’s not argue over the methods that people use to get our fellow citizens off their asses and working toward a solution. Because the solution will benefit all of us.
I disagree that “we know how to fix it”. Kate, tell me your solution.
May 25, 2009
You might remember the famous warning about “the military industrial complex” that President Eisenhower expressed when leaving office:
But yet this quote from that same speech is largely ignored:
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
Is it just me or does “global warming” research follow this pattern?
Bjorn Lomborg (my favorite Dane) has an excellent piece in the WSJ on the subject. His main point:
We are told that very expensive carbon regulations are the only way to respond to global warming, despite ample evidence that this approach does not pass a basic cost-benefit test. We must ask whether a “climate-industrial complex” is emerging, pressing taxpayers to fork over money to please those who stand to gain.
May 15, 2009
We’re all going to die! I have proof.
Global Warming May Exceed Infections as Health Threat, from Bloomberg.
“We can’t wait for climate change to bite because we won’t be able to put the genie back into the bottle,” Hugh Montgomery, director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College London, said in an interview. “Once catastrophe strikes, it’s too late. We need to create a literate population that is aware of the situation because until we do, there is no hope.”
Yeah. I’d like a literate population too. One that actually understands what “cap and trade” and cost/benefit means. I too have little hope.
Warmer temperatures exacerbate existing health problems, the researchers said. Climate change expands the area that diseases such as malaria can spread, they said, using a map of Zimbabwe to illustrate the range over which the mosquitoes that spread the illness can live now and in a climate-warmed future.
Sorry, Global Warming is the least of Zimbabwe’s problems. I’ll bet you money (but not in Zimbabwe money) that corrupt, ruthless dictators kill more people than global warming ever will.
The world’s population lost 5.5 million years [years? I think he means people] due to premature death and quality of life reduced by disability in 2000, the most recent year the calculation was made, as a result of climate change, the researchers wrote. That’s due to deaths caused by heart disease, diarrhea, malaria, malnutrition and injury from coastal flooding and landslides. Further temperature rises are inflating that number, they said.
5.5 million people died because of a 1 degree increase in temperature over a century? That’s just retarded.
Business Week chimes in: Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
What to do? As usual all is hopeless:
“There are no institutions at the global level who can really deal effectively with devising complex solutions to these complex problems,” added Lancet editor Dr. Richard Horton.
The authors propose adopting policies to reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon biosequestration and to equalize the world’s health systems, among other recommendations.
“equalize the world’s health systems”? Hell no. Equalizing anything means making it worse. Do we really want the average health system in the world?
“We have a moral dilemma: How do we protect the health of the poorest people in the world and allow them to develop,” Maslin said.
No moral dilemma here, asshole. Energy=prosperity. Prosperity reduces poverty. Reduced poverty improves health and the enviroment.
December 23, 2008
If you have been watching the news these past few months, you hear a lot of terms being thrown around while discussing the cause of our current financial mess. Things like hedge funds, credit default swaps and mortgage backed securities. I, like most people, have heard these terms for a while but don’t fully understand what they mean. Wiki helps a bit but sometimes reading what something means and understanding are two completely different things. That’s why I was so happy to find this guy (thanks to Greg Mankiw’s Blog (and I don’t understand half of what he says either but I still recommend reading it.))
Not only does he do an excellent job of explaining the murky and sometimes boring world of financial markets and big business, he also happens to be really cute and has a great Irish accent (this shit is important).
Hedge funds made simple:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Leverage and balloons. That’s the stuff.
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More understanding (and cuteness) can be found here. Thanks, Paddy!
Sorry, Dan Mitchell. You are now officially considered back door trade.