Saturday, November 10, 2018

Science - Tech Updates - we're incredible

Let's get caught up on some of the reasons we should realize that we're already way-great...

== Travels & speeches on space and the future! ==

In October I participated in the annual symposium -- in Boston -- of NASA's Innovative & Advanced Concepts program, as a member of NIAC's external (advisory) council. My role, to ask targeted questions of the fellows who are using seed grants to probe the envelope of the usefully plausible. Some earlier NIAC concepts are incorporated in wondrous missions like the exciting Japanese Hyubusa2 probe and its ingenious landers.

You can see near real-time photos of that spaceflight action. This video is truly wonderful. A spectacular mission that has already has successes. But if they pull off both landings and the sample return it will be fantastic! The Japanese are smart, they know where the riches are. And thank you for not catching the insane Moon Fever that has infected so many others here on Earth.

And now some other amazing news from the frontiers of science!

== Tune in! ==

Moving toward our future in space: The Power of Synergy: was an amazing symposium - the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop 2018 in October, in Oak Ridge. Speakers like Marc Millis and Arlan Andrews talked starships and Joel Sercel and Rob Zubrin argued asteroids and Mars. Several astronauts and Jason Derleth, head of NIAC revealed amazing things plus news about the quantum realm and the Starshot Program. 

SF author Catherine Asaro is an organizer and Allen Steele capped things off… oh, and I spoke a bit, by Skype, about human modification and conscious AI. Have a look.

== Environmental & science updates ==

A disturbing article about how some species of whale are suffering from living near human “civilization,” even after we stopped trying to kill them. It will take concerted effort to reduce the inadvertent types of harm that might lead to extinction, as surely as hunting almost did.

China wants to build a $50+ trillion power gridFor the entire world. And they want to have it in operation by 2050Talk about ambitious.

Fascinating new magnetotelluric imagery reveals a plug of solid rock in Oregon that diverts magma in different directions.  This new imagery solves mystery of why Mount St. Helens is out of line with other volcanoes.
Calling the Prediction Registry! The Pentagon has put a contract to develop a dental implant letting wearers do tap-controls and sub-vocal speech input/output, as I depicted in EARTH (1989) and EXISTENCE (2012).

The latest IgNobel Awards. Turns out human flesh isn’t very nutritious, but you can to self-colonoscopies! And voodoo dolls have a useful function.

“Bio-feedback” is back under a new name: Neurofeedback. Using MRI and fMRI and EEG, researchers hope to revive a field that never panned out before, but we all know _ought to work! The signs have all been there, with lots of anecdotal support. I’d put money on it having a big future, especially if tied in with games, in just the right way. I have some ideas…

Stunning - and disturbing - new NASA satellite photo shows a planet on fire, with active wildfires raging from Africa to South America to California. It's just beginning. The world is changing. I'll get back to that.

Teller, the brilliant sleight-of-hand artist of Penn & Teller, contributed to a neuroscience paper about the mental phenomena that a magician uses in the art of misdirection. The concept of covert misdirection is exemplified by the cognitive-neuroscience paradigms of change blindness and inattentional blindness. With change blindness, people fail to notice that something is different from the way it was before. This change can be expected or unexpected, but the key is that it requires the observer to compare the post-change state with the pre-change state.” 

Will tissue culture meat - predicted in science fiction in the early 50s -- truly flourish and replace the whole 20,000 year old practice of herding and slaughtering animals for food? Certainly, if the quality is high and price acceptable, some will choose it for the low Karmic load. But it will be a game changer if the conversion of grain to meat is far more efficient than feed lots. Reducing greenhouse gas and a myriad other Earth-harms would be huge, and hunger could vanish... though so would some jobs and herder livelihoods. Cities would approach food autonomy. 

And we'd eliminate one more reason why (maybe) aliens aren't talking to us.

My old Caltech classmate Stephen Gillett has a provocative new book that proposes we may soon enter a post-scarcity world, because almost any scarcity will be solved by one bold technology. “Nanotechnology and the Resource Fallacy” asserts we won’t even need the fantastic riches of asteroids, let alone face “peak-oil” or any material scarcity, if vats of pico-nano-micro-machines are able to separate and refine into basic elements almost anything we choose to recycle. Of course it works both ways. Utter and total recycling ability will eliminate all great obstacles to human settlement of space. Invest... but not everything you own.

== And yes, science is a victim of politics ==

In the 42 year history of the post of Presidential Science Adviser, some of the smartest humans have been appointed to help U.S. presidents grasp how scientific matters — confirmed facts and gray-unknowns — might bear upon policy decisions. Never was the position unoccupied anywhere near as long as Donald Trump has left it.

Elsewhere I commented in detail when it seemed that the job might go to David Gelernter, a Unabomber victim who has veered down far right paths… but who undoubtedly told Mr. Trump “I’ll still tell you if something is clearly untrue.” Poof, there went his chances. 

All this time, “the highest-ranking science official in the White House has been a 31-year-old poli-sci grad who is a deputy assistant at the eviscerated Office of Science and Technology Policy.” (Not even ‘in’ the White House; OSTP (what’s left of it) is next door, in the Executive Office Building.)

Now, in a shock — possibly a sop to the RASRs (residually adult-sane Republicans) who still teeter inside the GOP tent — meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier, an expert on extreme weather, has been nominated to the position. 

Extreme weather would seem to be a highly pertinent topic, nowadays, and Droegemeier’s former colleagues say his views on climate change align with those of most scientists. And… “There are other scientific policy concerns that would benefit from a fully staffed OSTP, like the ongoing opioid epidemic.” Here are ten topics for consideration by the future science advisor.

Something happened behind the scenes. May we all live to learn what it was. Because this is not in character for the Donald Trump who railed that “glaciers are advancing as never before!”  (Um they’re not and you should get big bar bets from your mad uncles about that.) In any event, there is no law that says the President has to ever meet with his Science Adviser.

(That would change, under my proposal: Enact the FACT ACT!)

138 comments:

Daniel Duffy said...

I have two words for Stephen Gillett: "grey goo".

Daniel Duffy said...

As for meat grown from stem cells or fake meat made from veggies, the greatest positive will be in habitat restoration. See the world map here:

https://ourworldindata.org/yields-and-land-use-in-agriculture#breakdown-of-global-land-area-today

Approximately 27% of the world's land surface (equal to the entire western hemisphere) is used for grazing lands and growing feed for livestock.

And check out this infographic as to how much animal mass it taken up by humans and their livestock:

https://xkcd.com/1338/

Only a tiny percent of all animals are wild. Our livestock and us now make up over 96% of all land mammals and our domesticated chickens account for 70% of all birds. We have massively disrupted our planet's biodiversity.

Lab grown meat would allow all of that to be returned to natural habitat, maybe saving whole species from extinction and perhaps save the planet.

And doom cattle country to the same economic death facing the coal fields.


Jon S. said...

"Lab grown meat would allow all of that to be returned to natural habitat, maybe saving whole species from extinction and perhaps save the planet.

And doom cattle country to the same economic death facing the coal fields."


Welp, that's evolution for ya - that which cannot adapt is doomed to extinction. :)

(And frankly, I find the Grey Goo scenario to be on about the same level of likelihood as Skynet. AI is not fated to ultimately destroy us all no matter what, and I'm comfortably certain that nanotech is not doomed to fall into the Paperclip Problem.)

Daniel Duffy said...

Jon S -

You are correct sir. The industries that are the basis of Red America economies are doomed by advancing science - not liberal regulations.

Economically and technologically, Red Rural America will soon have no reason to exist.

Got coal?
Nobody cares because fracking gas is cheaper and solar energy is now cheaper in most areas (the Chinese just cancelled 103 coal burning plants in favor of expanding their already impressive renewable energy industry — so overseas markets won’t save the coal industry).

Got oil?
Nobody cares because we will be driving EVs (Tesla now has greater market valuation than the Ford Motor Company).

Got cattle and livestock?
Nobody cares because we will grow meat from stem cells (its already on the market and the price of a lab grown hamburger patty fell from $300,000 to $3 in a single year)

Got farms?
Nobody cares because we are turning old warehouses into vertical farms in the hearts of major cities worldwide from Newark, to Singapore to London to Tokyo — growing crops 24/7/365 more cheaply without the transportation costs needed to haul fruits and vegetables
cross country.

Got farm labor?
Nobody cares because any remaining outdoor farming will be done with robots and drones.

Got small town manufacturing?
Nobody cares because we have robots, automation and algorithms that replace repetitive human labor on the factory floor and 3D printers that can customize batch production from anywhere.

Got a fishing boat?
Nobody cares because we will be harvesting multi-modal oceanic farms for kelp, fish and shellfish — and the fishing industry can finally advance from the hunter/gatherer stage.

A new technology — fracking — killed coal. These newer technologies will kill what is left of Red Rural America’s economy, leaving Blue Urban cities as the only source of economic growth and prosperity. Multicultural, cosmopolitan, globalist oriented cities based on advanced high technology economies with all sorts of non-white people from all over the world living in them. The “poorly educated” that Trump loves so much need not apply.

Within a generation all of Red Rural America becomes Appalachia.

It’s already happening, which explains the anger and despair of rural Trump voters

Bob Neinast said...

The link under the "plug of solid rock in Oregon" item goes instead to the story about the tap-control dental implant. Here's a good link for the Oregan magma plug story:

https://www.livescience.com/63505-mount-st-helens-location-explained.html

Anonymous said...

Mi computadora ha sido atacada por virus. Donald tiene hábiles hackers en Rusia
Estaré fuera de linea.

Winter7

David Brin said...

Thanks Bob.

DD: Sorry, I gotta go half-cynical on you. I pray that most of the tech trends you describe make great progress! But urban farming is going to ramp up slowly. And fish farming is a problematic industry in corrosive and fragile circumstances where many things must be solved.

Don't exaggerate or let today'sRed-Blue struggles blind you. Yes, urbanization will continue... but you leave out factors. Telecommuting and Universal Income and flying car-uber systems will all trend toward living where you WANT to live. And when that happens, the current influx to cities may start to reverse, toward places with clean air, fishing streams and Mayberry RFD lifestyles.

You know I've expressed sympathy for rural America's deep trauma every June, when blue cities (Mordor) steal their brightest children. We need an underlying layer of sympathy to support our determination to win another round against the Confederacy. They may be deeply misguided, but they are our fellow citizens. And they hurt.

Larry Hart said...

Daniel Duffy:

Lab grown meat would allow all of that to be returned to natural habitat, maybe saving whole species from extinction and perhaps save the planet.

And doom cattle country to the same economic death facing the coal fields.


I wouldn't have said this before Trump and his brownshirts turned me so cynical and vindictive, but I'd call that a win-win.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

We need an underlying layer of sympathy to support our determination to win another round against the Confederacy. They may be deeply misguided, but they are our fellow citizens. And they hurt.


If they lay down their arms, metaphorical and literal, I'll agree completely with you. My better self wants to.

But until then...well my old conservative buddy used to chide me for being willing to negotiate with my murderers. He meant Muslims, but I've taken his point in ways he didn't intend.

A recent NY Times article also pointed out how Trump's support is fueled by a feeling of being left behind by an economy solely focused on growth, the benefits of which go to the 1% and corporations. I understand all that, but why are liberals the target of that anger? Which party is wholly owned by corporations and big business? To the extent that Democrats are also to blame, it's because they believe it necessary to play by the Republican narrative, not because Republicans are for the little guy. To mangle Ronald Reagan, Republicans are not the solution to that problem; Republicans are the problem.

David Brin said...

All the NY Times article shows is how stoopid even smart libs are. They actually believe the grievance of Red America has anything to do with tangibles. It is cultural We ALL share the culture of suspicion of authority and conspiring elites. But "When a liberal talks about "elites" she means a rich person; when a conservative speaks of an elite it is a smart person."

I've explained over and over the hostility of non-college white males toward universities and all that Blue stuff. That simmering resentment has been stoked into a volcano by oligarchy-funded propaganda because fact elites stand in the way of a return to owner-lord feudalism.

Alfred Differ said...

Cut off for a couple days by the fire. No danger immediately where I live, but my internet provider lost some equipment between me and LA. They might lose some more in the coming days.

1) yes. A few of us noticed the dry dock sinking. That has .... implications.

2) Those vertical farms won't be in the city centers because land prices there will be out-of-sight. Farms go where it makes economic sense. What gets farmed where depends on what makes economic sense. People uses for land in city centers are likely to produce much more money for property owners than farming would. Think about rents and mortgage payments. Those vertical farms WILL move closer, though, as the tech makes each square foot more productive hence more profitable.

3) Ten years ago when I was learning about the electricity industry (worked at CAISO), they pointed out how entrenched Coal was and what it would take to displace them with this or that technology. The scenarios we examined were all really tame compared to what happened in reality with natural gas AND solar. Because we underestimated the future and didn't think we were, I am surprised just how much Coal has suffered as an industry. That surprise is a good lesson worth remembering and I do because we need something similar for climate change.

4) Have fun y'all. I'll check in when the fires permit it.

David Brin said...

Alfred! Stay safe. Blessings and good luck to all.

David Brin said...

Oh. Oh. Oh! Rouda defeats Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher - the one man - other than Trump - who Paul Ryan said "is definitely paid by the Kremlin" - is out! Bad night for Putin. Get ready Vlad. We're America.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/10/rouda-defeats-rohrabacher-in-southern-california-race-982946

Anonymous said...

I a single word for Daniel Duffy: bactera.

yana said...


David Brin thought:

"Cities would approach food autonomy. And we'd eliminate one more reason why (maybe) aliens aren't talking to us."

+50% of people urbanite, we've waited a long time for this. If we can pipe natural gas and water, no reason we can't pipe nutrition. They'd end up calling it "loaf", a malleable mash of soy, fish and cellulose. The lady who invents the stuff will probably call it NutriWonder, but anyway we'll all call it "loaf". An outlet in every new urban kitchen, metered at $1.79 a kilo.

But don't wait for aliens to judge us worthy, don't feel speciesguilt for such a slight in the meantime, because there aren't any, and won't be any for a long time.

Daniel Duffy thought:

"Red Rural America will soon have no reason to exist."

Wait there, what? Perhaps, just discarded the reason why humans are different from people. Every person is a mess, a human is a unit quantifiable with some precision. If one forgets that humanity is just a fuzzy interpolation of personhood, can't ever predict the future.

"any remaining outdoor farming will be done with robots and drones"

"robots, automation and algorithms that replace repetitive human labor"

Nope, you're not getting it, recall that the Luddites lost but people really REALLY love to work with their hands. It's not the creation, it's the act which makes people feel better. Tens of thousands of years honing this wetware, Brin's work extrapolates it into the idea of a "hobby" culture, but it's still the same impetus. We feel good after a 1-hour workout, but feel much better after helping a friend clear the shrubs off their fenceline for 6 hours.

We're already seeing tourism morph from destination to experience. Because our +50% urbanization stabilizes lifestyle, but does not enable most humans to feel like people.

Alfred Differ thought:

"Those vertical farms won't be in the city centers because land prices there will be out-of-sight."

A new idea i like: the cost of building an elevator shaft into a new construction is considerable, but the cost to make a double-car sized shaft is a much smaller add-on. Once the engineering is done, the cost is small. What does water want to do, it follows gravity. The same liter of water can supply one square meter of flat farming, or can trickle and drip through 15 cubic meters of loam down a 15-story building's veggie shaft, which parallels the elevator. Get off at your floor, pick some lettuce and 'maters for dinner, to accompany your flank of braised loaf.

Daniel Duffy said...

Yana, you missed the point about technology destroying jobs - it also creates more and better jobs.

There used to be a job called an “elevator operator.” For those of us old enough to remember, the elevator operator was a man (usually wearing a sharp uniform like a fancy hotel concierge or doorman) who sat in an elevator car for his entire shift and manually operated the lift so that you would arrive safely and smoothly at your destination floor. Traditional elevator operators still exist in high-end establishments offering superior service to its residents or customers. But for the most part, the job has been superseded by automatic control buttons that the rider can push themselves and arrive efficiently at their chosen floor.

This job sums up the history of automation vs. labor. Very few human operators of elevators still remain. Passengers can use automated controls to arrive at their floor. The job itself wasn’t all that great. It was boring, repetitive, and while it required no heavy lifting, it required the operator to sit enclosed in a box for his entire shift. Nobody misses it, and it is not remembered with fond nostalgia. The loss of this job did not contribute to our structural unemployment as the former operators went on to better working conditions at better-paying jobs—jobs made possible and created by the same technological advances with higher pay made possible by increases in productivity.

Larry Hart said...

yana:

recall that the Luddites lost but people really REALLY love to work with their hands. It's not the creation, it's the act which makes people feel better. Tens of thousands of years honing this wetware, Brin's work extrapolates it into the idea of a "hobby" culture, but it's still the same impetus. We feel good after a 1-hour workout, but feel much better after helping a friend clear the shrubs off their fenceline for 6 hours.


Kurt Vonnegut published a whole novel saying that exact same thing, Player Piano.

Larry Hart said...

Daniel Duffy:

There used to be a job called an “elevator operator.” ...


My dad remembered a period in his lifetime when recorded music began replacing studio orchestras on radio stations. For a time, the person who played the records was required to be a member of the musicians' union.

Tim Wolter said...

I guess this is minimally on topic, but I'd probably post in any case. Y'all could use a few positive thoughts sometimes.

I've been running middle school robotics programs for 18 years (High School FIRST is now the Big Club and this the farm system). Every fall we have a frivolous combat robot event where small machines clobber each other in the safety of an enclosed arena.

This year our community was exactly one week out from tragedy. An idiot who was - allegedly - using drugs ran off the road and killed three girl scouts and an adult leader. They were picking up trash as a community project. At high noon and wearing HiVis vests.

In my MC role I felt obligated to scale back the talk of robotic carnage and to talk more about the potential of the students gathered together. We had the FIRST team with the big robot on hand and I could point and say...."look, there's the future of this silly stuff...."

I need not have worried. This was the best behaved batch of middle schoolers I have seen in my generation of doing such events. They shook hands after matches. Sometimes even before them. There were no ill feelings anywhere. Parents also sought me out in larger than usual numbers to say thank you.

Perhaps it was because we had all had such a powerful lesson. Appreciate your child or in the case of the kids, each other. In the mundane moments and in the exciting ones. And perhaps especially when they are being difficult as middle school organisms so often have this as a default setting.

Humbling.

T. Wolter

Larry Hart said...

@Tim W,

Having an actual daughter assuaged all of my previous fears about what children were going to be like. Dave Sim used to rail against the same things that Bill Maher does--the stereotypical child who says "Fuck you, Mom!" to parents who are too fearful of upsetting the little darling to correct her behavior. It's amazing how guys who deliberately avoid reproducing believe themselves to be experts on the subject of child-rearing.

Back on the old "Cerebus" list, two of the most conservative Sim-aficionados who shared his ideal of refusing to reproduce used to argue fervently against the estate tax by insisting that "I should get to leave all of my money to my children." IIRC, the writer/artist John Byrne used to make the same argument, even though he also was childless by choice. The conservatives on that list berated me for being a liberal feminist, and extolled conservative Republican "family values", and yet I was one of the few who actually had a family, and the others who did were on my side politically. I'd find it amusing when they'd try to lecture me on child-rearing, and I'd snark back that they were just jealous because I was living the dream.

locumranch said...


As Daniel_D & Jon_s chatter on & on about how "Red Rural America will soon have no reason to exist", they forget how others may apply this (their) very same logic to the Blue Urban legions of narcissistic paper-shuffling resource-gobbling cubicle whores.

What 'reason' or 'purpose' do these city dwellers serve??

Got families? There are way too many of you already. Got brains? The AIs can do it cheaper & faster. Got literature, theatre or art? Nobody cares since the adoption of immersive VR.

This thread is a strange mix of optimism, schadenfreude & fearmongering that simultaneously exalts the near infinite potential of nanotechnology but natters on about the insoluble problems of climate change.

And, speaking of 'change blindness', did I just use the term 'insoluble' in reference to climate change?

I foresee an end to climate change hysteria with the combined application of simple electrolysis & Carbonic Anhydrase in solution, resulting in the production of gaseous H2 (a renewable fuel source) & NaHCO3 (a solid precipitate) and the copious consumption of CO2.


Best
____

I recommend Clifford Simak's 'City'(1952) if, like Daniel_D & Jon_S, you dream of the Eternal City & Rural Extinction.

David Brin said...

Tim/Tac... I just got Dean Kamen's autograph for my FIRST Robotics graduated sons. So there! FIRST is an absolutely brilliant program designed to get girls involved and confident alongside guys and to emphasize "coopetition." In 61000 schools around the world now. That's sixty-on thousand.

And you are the humbling one. We hope you are treated with respect, here. (As I hope we treated Ilithi Dragon.) I'd rather have a decent-sane conservative like you as my next door neighbor than most of the rest of you passionate libs! ;-)

DD -Remember Shirley McClain played elevator operator Fran Kubelick in THE APARTMENT. Yowza.

David Brin said...

locum answered with vitamins this time with some degree of actual value...
till he displayed an absolute lack of even minimal understanding of chemical energetics, offering a blitheringly dumb exercise in entropy-maximization.

David Brin said...

..not that he was RIGHT about city dwellers. He's wrong. But it was an understandable counter-snark to Daniel's. Keep taking vitamins, son.

Anonymous said...

The dry dock of the Russians sank ... And Ilithi's submarine does not appear ... Humm. I wonder if the submarine of Ilithi Dragon has avenged us on the cowardly Russian attack. That would be formidable.
Maybe they'll accept us in the crew of that submarine.

Winter7

donzelion said...

Jon S.: "Lab grown meat would...doom cattle country to the same economic death facing the coal fields."

I am rather skeptical about that. Despite the production of millions of gallons of distilled spirits, esp. whiskey, 'artisanal' production has skyrocketed from legacy producers: cattle country will doubtless continue, but the 'fast food' segments for low end cattle will probably be among the first starved.

I anticipate cattle ranchers will be forced to prove environmental bona fides in order to maintain markets and stay in business, but that they'll evolve, rather than go the way of coal towns. Meanwhile, starved of an incentive to chop and burn the Amazon, we may preserve more of it than we are now...or at least, slow the pace of destruction.

"AI is not fated to ultimately destroy us all no matter what"
I find it more likely that AI will CHANGE us immensely, and for many, changes will be perceived and presented as 'destruction' - esp. the same sort who already claim 'American civilization' is being destroyed by increasing numbers of non-white citizens and residents.

Ioan said...

Thought you guys may want to know these tidbits:

Around 5% of humanity lives in the top 20 megacities. Around 10% of the US population lives in megacities.

https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/10/urban-21st-century-and-megaurban-22nd-century.html

China and Australia are battling for influence in the Pacific
https://www.businessinsider.com/china-influence-pacific-western-countries-push-back-2018-4
https://www.businessinsider.com/china-took-over-abc-australia-radio-presence-in-the-pacific-2018-6
https://www.businessinsider.com/r-empty-hotels-idle-boats-what-happens-when-a-pacific-island-upsets-china-2018-8

I have a different view of what's going on in the Pacific. The island nations are using the rivalry between Australia and China and the mass number of tourists to develop. Who knows, they may become developed countries faster than India?

donzelion said...

Yana: "Nope, you're not getting it, recall that the Luddites lost..."

Did they really? Perhaps not you, but many technologists attribute an anti-technology goal to the Luddites, when their target was always the absentee landlords in England (many of whom financed the machinery). Their machines were far more convenient targets than their persons. The anti-machinery effort gained public attention, but the effort to reduce absentee landlord power worked well enough (esp. through tax policies) to force those landlords to transfer their attentions from English estates to colonial holdings. In a sense, the Luddites actually 'won.'

That is not a defense of their tactics, so much as as thoughts for how non-Luddites should understand their adversaries. 19th century Luddites could easily be coopted and redirected toward better goals, simply by educating them as to how increased productivity and competition helped, rather than hurt, the general public. That won't work with 21st century 'neo-Luddites' - who have no interest in benefiting a general public, but merely want to avert intrusion to certain private schemes. The FoxNews/real estate/church alliance has been immensely profitable, and shifting attention to neocolonial schemes overseas is harder, since most other communities have higher literacy and capacity to resist.

Anonymous said...

Locumranch:
“I foresee an end to climate change hysteria with the combined application of simple electrolysis & Carbonic Anhydrase in solution, resulting in the production of gaseous H2 (a renewable fuel source) & NaHCO3 (a solid precipitate) and the copious consumption of CO2.”

Absurd. Humanity has hundreds of millions of CO2-producing machines; Soot and toxins, working day and night. We also have coal plants and factories that use coal, producing more CO2 and soot. (And other millions of sources of CO2 and soot).
¿How much CO2 could we capture from the atmosphere to produce fuels and plastics? ¿0.2%?
Of course, the idea of turning CO2 into something useful is a good thing, but that solution is simply not enough to stop climate change. It would have to be huge, the number of CO2 capture and conversion machines, and I do not believe that there are investors willing to invest gigantic amounts of money in the project.
Now that I have a few ideas about it; but unfortunately, no company in the Silicon Valley is interested in the matter. Simply, the world's billionaires do not care about the problem. Yes. The billionaires say they care, but in reality, they will not do anything that involves spending more than a penny on the matter.

As Asimov said ... How did he say? ..... "The most successful activity tends to devour all existing resources"
(I should have kept the book in which I read that)
Of course, I will see if some day I can solve that problem that I do not cause.

Winter7

Jon S. said...

That wasn't me, Donzelion; I was just quoting (and then replying to) Daniel Duffy.

The "economic death" part, however, only needs to happen if the folks in the countryside refuse to adapt. Just because the same product as always is no longer produced doesn't mean the whole place dries up and blows away; after all, when the automobile supplanted the horse, the areas that used to produce horses didn't just disappear.

donzelion said...

Jon S: sorry for the misattribution. I duck in and out, depending on who is calling and dispatching me somewhere or other these days (lot less on Sundays, thankfully).

It will be interesting: adaptation is much easier for some segments of the populace than for others. But yes, land use can also be adapted - think we are on the same page there.

My concern is almost always who profits from the process. There are vampires out there: normally, their incentive is to keep the feeding troughs fat, stupid, and readily accessible for the next drink, all while telling them about dangerous dragons somewhere else who threaten.

Alfred Differ said...

donzelion the slayer 8)

Do little religious symbols actually work? Holy water? Sunlight? I would think sunlight would. 8)

David Brin said...

CO2 capture is absolutely dumb energetics. The only method that is not net energy/entropy and thermal lossive is feeding concentrated CO2 directly from smokestacks (e.g. cement plants) into bubblers that take agricultural runoff and massive sunlight to breed kilotons of algae. If these experiments could scale, then e'd have a semi- game-changer. If the algae can be made to be good chemical feedstock or make fuel or otherwise replace fossils. A party that cared about our future would be investing in such things hand over fist, instead of hampering them, as the traitors are doing.

Anonymous said...

¡Lightnings and thunders! Doctor Brin; Larry; Alfred; Duncan! Here is the key piece that was missing to turn renewable energies into something powerful! My intuition tells me that this is part of the future. (And by the way, this idea had already occurred to me, but in a somewhat different way.) I did not say it because the best ideas should be kept as an ace up my sleeve, but it is clear that sooner or later, all ideas are rediscovered. and again)

Link:

https://techxplore.com/news/2018-11-brick-solution-topple-energy-storage.html?utm_source=menu&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=item-menu

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Doctor Brin:
Use CO2 to feed the algae ... Yes; that would be great. But new laws will be necessary, which oblige business owners to also own algae farms next to the cement factories; the coal plants; the foundries; etc. Well, without a doubt, if it is optional to have an algae farm, then the Republicans will say that they have production costs up to their necks, and other lies to be able to free themselves from the expense. But certainly, an advanced civilization must find a way to change the situation; Above all, if the survival of the human species is at risk.

Winter7

Anonymous said...


Alfred Differ:

Alfred. If wildfires are close to your home, ¿would it be convenient to knock down and push away the trees near your home to prevent the fire from using those trees?
Also, I suggest you review the strategies to stop the forest fires:

Link:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/57094/10-strategies-fighting-wildfires

Winter7

Duncan Cairncross said...

Re - the idea for using concrete blocks for storing energy

Run the numbers
35 ton brick - how much energy can I store?
Lets say 100 meters lift - x 35,000 Kg x 9,81 = 35,000,000 Joules - 35 MegaJoules
Compare to a battery - people use a horrible “bastard unit” for batteries - KiloWatt hours
One kwh is 3.6 Mega Joules

So one of those bricks PLUS a motor/generator PLUS the cables and such like can store as much energy as about 10 kwh of batteries
10 kwh battery is about $2000 - and 40Kg -
(The latest numbers from Tesla would put it at $1000)

A single Tesla has the same energy storage as ten of those 35 ton bricks

I would be very very surprised if you could build something like that cheaper than a battery pack - or if it would last as long

donzelion said...

Alfred: me, a slayer? Well, it's the sunlight that kills em. All I need to do is watch and not fall for the bait. And maybe occasionally help refocus/redirect some light.

That said, I'm skeptical of holy symbols. They only seem to work if you have faith, and that's in short supply. Maybe a holy algorithm would be more effective...

donzelion said...

Winter7: "Use CO2 to feed the algae ... But new laws will be necessary, which oblige business owners to also own algae farms next to the cement factories"

Ideally, you could reward of subsidize them for doing it - either by taxing the emissions (so they do it to avoid costs) or paying for cleanup (so they do it for profit). If we hadn't figured out ways to do things like that, no modern city could exist (or even less than modern cities).

The ideal is often as little law as possible. Like science, we strive for elegant simplicity in law. Like science, simplicity is seldom as simple as it seems, and the implications of little tweaks may be far more meaningful than meets the eye. But there are many ways to encourage folks to do the right thing other than compulsion, and some may work better.

Anonymous said...

Duncan Cairncross:
All right. You are the expert Duncan. I guess the calculations are correct. ¿But maybe adjusting the design? Because if we are to use only lithium batteries to store energy, then we will have to find new lithium deposits. (I wonder if there are lithium deposits on the planet Mars) But there is a lot of lithium in the bottom of the sea. (But mining in the oceans pollutes the oceans a lot).
That dry and salty lake in the United States, in which many try to break speed records, is a place with a lot of lithium, no doubt.

Hora de dormir.
Winter7

Alfred Differ said...

winter7,

I rent the place where my family lives, so we won't be knocking down any trees. The utility people came by a few weeks ago and got everyone to trim the trees away from the power lines (it's an old neighborhood) because it was their equipment last year that sparked the big Thomas fire. Lots of our county has burned in the last couple years, but that IS the nature of southern California desert lands.

Knocking down trees isn't really enough, though. Embers float upward and drop back down at a distance. If they are still hot enough, they catch other things on fire where you aren't expecting it. That's how highways get jumped. That's how one house can burn in the middle of an untouched neighborhood.

You simply have to pay attention during certain times of the year and when the wind blows in off the desert. Comes with the territory here. I HAVE chosen to live where the fire won't have an easy time getting to me. I'm about a mile from the beach and there are large sod farms between me and the burning hills. The trick is to avoid breathing in all that smoke.

If you see pictures on FB showing the view from Malibu or Santa Monica and you suspect someone has done some PhotoShop work to make it look like a mushroom cloud signifying the end of the world, you'd be wrong. That mushroom cloud was quite real yesterday. Hot, fire driven air climbs into the stratosphere pulling the smoke and embers up with it. It was quite a sight. It looked a bit like someone had nuked the hills north of Malibu.

George Carty said...

Isn't the decay of the rural economy a problem for everyone, not just politically (as seen with Brexit and Trump) but also because the rural areas set the standard of living for the whole country?

Whatever extra money a worker can make by moving to a big city won't benefit them: it will only benefit their landlord, as per Ricardo's Law of Rent...

Tony Fisk said...

@Alfred. Having seen a few nasty bushfires near Melbourne, I can believe it. Pyrocumulus.
Just as eerie is if the smoke forms a layer over a clear blue sky. It can make the sky behind the silvery wisps look dark grey.

Clearing a margin around the house is a good defence against minor fires. When the wind is gusting embers miles ahead of the main front, then not even a main highway is much of a break.

Against some fires, there is *no* defence.

Dave Werth said...

A couple of thoughts on CO2 capture. In areas of the world where there is basalt feeding CO2 into the basalt formation results in the CO2 being captured and turned to stone.

Second and a little more out there it seems to me that in order to make renewable energy like wind and solar work you're going to have to over build it to an extent. That already happens here in the Pacific North West were in the spring the wind turbines get curtailed when the hydroelectric are going full bore from the spring runoff. There is little choice in the matter since the main stream Columbia River dams are run of the river meaning they have little storage and have to release water either through the generators or over the spillways. Anyway my idea is to take the excess renewable energy that would otherwise be curtailed and use it to run a device that cracks the CO2 molecule resulting in released oxygen and a pile of carbon dust. I know it's expensive energywise but the cost of electricity would be marginal and every little bit helps.

Anonymous said...

Eric Bogle's "Bushfire" seems appropriate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOAFLiZZK0Q

Larry Hart said...

Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station) on Veteran's Day. And this time, the emphasis is his own:

http://www.stonekettle.com/

I’ve said it before, I’ll likely say it again: If you want a better nation, you have to be better citizens.

David Brin said...

DWerth, yeah, uneven power cycles. It's why the WWII heavy water plants were in Norway, because the Nazis couldn't steal the power for war industries.

The algae production cycle must be made sweeter... but also the end product consumption side.

"Clearing a margin around the house is a good defence against minor fires." I've been trimmingtrees for ages.

The biggest problem is architectural. EAVES! Horrible traps for blowing sparks. New building codes ban eaves and other spark traps. A new development not far away lost ZERO homes when to 2007 fires swept through. Better regulations can (not always) be the sign of a society actually using intelligence and foresight to adjust the market to be smarter.

locumranch said...


Along the lines of co2 & carbon capture, it is best for those who are ignorant of biochemical processes to remain silent, rather than speak & remove all doubt vis-a-vis said biochemical ignorance.

Of course, the same could be said of those who preach demographic replacement as the means to securing political dominance as this may lead to inadvertent outcomes, especially when one considers that those who are targeted for extinction may choose to act (or react) in a preemptive & precipitous fashion.

Blue Urban elites engage in speculative fiction when they overstate urban independence from Red Rural resource providers, as no such independence exists (or can be said to exist) in even the foreseeable future.


Best

David Brin said...

" it is best for those who are ignorant of biochemical processes to remain silent,"

Then why do you talk? Seriously, you have no curiosity at all when told "you are waving around hallucinations. Try taking an actual thermodynamics class. Or one in human history.

"Blue Urban elites engage in speculative fiction when they overstate urban independence from Red Rural resource providers, as no such independence exists (or can be said to exist) in even the foreseeable future."

An event. What you said in those two sentences is true.

So stop pouring hate at your smartest sons and daughters and cousins, who went to town to learn stuff.

Mark Gast said...

You know what would help Red America more than anything else? Rural Broadband. Why would any decently educated child go back home and live with slow and expensive Internet access after experiencing the real thing when going to college.

I'm sure Ajit Pai at the FCC will get right on that. /s

Duncan Cairncross said...

Eaves!

I would have said the exact opposite
One of the biggest problems with architecture is the "fashion" to have eaveless houses!

Eaves provide a simple and almost foolproof way of ensuring the "corners" are waterproof

It's actually more of a question of "Appropriate" Architecture - there was a "Tuscany Style" subdivision in Christchurch - all sorts of problems with water ingress

The other part is that eaves are an integral part of passive solar design - keep out the summer sun while letting the winter sun in

Houses need to be designed for the local conditions

Eaves - is the problem the eave or the fact that most people kink the roof and have a much lower pitch over the "eave"?
My present house has eaves - but it has the same (35 degree) pitch on the eaves as it does on the rest of the roof

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Dr. Brin: You've missed the significance of carbon capture. Sure, it's inefficient. Sure, it's negenthalpic. But it does something absolutely vital: it breaks forever any attempt at oil monopoly or embargo. Anyplace that has solar, wind, geothermal, or hydro power can be a source of fuels.

And it does this without the necessity of destabilizing the present oil (and r'oil) powers! Saudi Arabia has immense solar capacity, if they have the wit to use it; so does every other Mideast petrostate. Texas is already putting up windmills by the bushel; the rest of the Midwest could do the same if they chose. Russia's capacity to use nuclear, wind, and geothermal is unparalleled. And so on.

But no one could ever guarantee domination of hydrocarbons, ever again. Blockade a Great Power, and they just throw up carbon capture plants to compensate; you've made their economy less efficient but you haven't broken them -- or their ability to wage war. Pipeline dickery and control of sealanes becomes an annoyance rather than a vital strategic struggle; there's always more places to crop for renewables. Militaries will develop rapid-setup versions that can plop down, like RTS resource-generation installations, and relieve the logistics burden by making in situ fuels at a FOB.

No, carbon capture is not a stupid idea at all despite its thermodynamic drawbacks. Its endproduct is important enough (for now) that it is worth the effort.

David Brin said...

Eaves that are fully stucco'd are ideal. No way for either sparks or termites to get in.

Hey! Ilithi Dragon chimed in under my recent FB post. As meticulously cogent as ever. Explaining why the faults in the Washington State gun control law are essentially tolerable, as is the law itself.

locumranch said...


In response to the 'hate' that I supposedly pour onto my smartest sons and daughters and cousins who went to town to 'learn stuff', I offer that only fools consider themselves to be taller than they are when their feet rest upon the shoulders of others.

Indeed, Mark_G understands that urbanity owes an ongoing non-dischargeable debt to the rural deplorable, insomuch as the dependency of the urban upon the rural is so utter & irrefutable that only a hubristic fool would argue otherwise.

And, it's called 'catalysis', son, when the presence of a secondary agent either increases the rate or decreases the energy requirement necessary to sustain a chemical reaction, as in the case of carbon capture.


Best

Alfred Differ said...

David,

There ARE people looking seriously at carbon capture in flue streams using carbonic anhydrase. There are many CA variations, but it is a challenge to find one that can handle the heat and alkalinity they face in use. It will require some forced evolution experiments to get there, but it makes energetic and entropic sense.

Simple electrolysis is the nutty idea, but the catalytic approach actually makes some sense to explore... even with coal plants heading for extinction. Carbon compounds are wonderfully energy dense and will remain niche fuel sources, so we will want a toolbox full of methods for carbon capture going forward.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Hey, guys! Been a minute since I popped on here. Work keeps me busy, and most days when I get home, I'm looking for relaxing stuff that isn't mentally taxing, and while you guys are awesome, there's a lot of Big Thinking that goes on here.

That, and politics these days just makes me tired, plus there's limits to what I can say publicly, for multiple reasons, which gives public political discussions an even larger energy demand for me.
} : = 8 /


On the current subject, however...

Mark Gast said...

You know what would help Red America more than anything else? Rural Broadband. Why would any decently educated child go back home and live with slow and expensive Internet access after experiencing the real thing when going to college.


THIS. EXACTLY THIS.

The second time I moved out from my parents, one of the biggest driving factors for me was the terrible internet service, even after a local broadband company (THE local broadband company, that had all of the bad aspects of local, rural monopolies) extended their service into my parents' neighborhood. The first time I'd moved out, I'd gotten a taste of high-speed cable (well, high-speed for 2005/2006), and when I moved back in, it was back to the dial-up that was the only internet available at the time where my parents lived. The frustration was immeasurable.

Establishing broadband services across rural America, and not just basic broadband, I mean good service comparable to what you can get in the suburbs and cities, would go a long way to helping that divide.

It would also go a long way to reducing the isolation of rural communities (and make that telecommuting option Dr. Brin talks about on occasion more viable).

There will be a downside initially, though, and I suspect (now that I'm thinking about it) that that is a huge part of the craziness that we're seeing right now - the people who live and stay in rural America, once they get more regular access to broadband internet, will have an adjustment period where they learn the ins and outs of the technology, both in accessing and navigating the internet, proper internet behavior, and judicious discernment of trustworthy sources of information.



As for the decline of rural America...

To those of you sounding like you're anticipating the "death" of rural American culture and communities... Don't talk like that. For one, you're talking about your fellow Americans, fellow people, they deserve more respect than that, and it is beneath you to talk about them like that.

But more importantly, words and mindsets like that are feeding directly into the divisiveness that is the core problem we are facing. When republicans, conservatives, and/or rural Americans hear talk like that, they hear you declaring yourself their enemy, a person who wishes to see a whole clade of American culture, a cornerstone of our history that comprises millions of people who have just as much a right to representation as anyone else, destroyed, killed, exterminated. You become the very enemy the divisive propagandists are trying to paint you as. They win, and you do their work for them.

Additionally, rural America has a lot to offer, and the city life isn't where it's all at. I grew up in rural America, on the outskirts of a village with a total population of about 70 people. My parents have 24 acres of land that borders on state game land in rural central PA; it's nothing but mountains and trees all around. There is a lot that is of value in places like that, in the people there, and the cultural and environmental knowledge that we have. Don't dismiss that, or us.

Otherwise you fall into the same my-tribe-is-superior homogeny trap that many of my neighbors have been suckered into.

Anonymous said...

Alfred Differ:
More possible ways to protect yourself from fires:

I wonder if covering with thick aluminum foil the wooden ceilings could prevent the houses from catching fire. But I do not know how long they last, because now, the rain is more acidic; Although near the sea, the humidity seems to be more salty.

I wonder if it is an excessive precaution to place a small water tank in the garden, connected to a long hose and an electrical pump system activated by a small generator that runs on gasoline.

Having a ladder that allows you to climb to the ceiling carrying the hose could make it easier to put out fires on wooden roofs.

Trying to put out the fire when the air is hot and full of smoke could be difficult. But at least, it would be nice to have a mask with carbon filters on hand. (Ideally, you should have a fully closed mask, connected to an oxygen tank, but I suppose that is excessive.

If the situation becomes difficult, evacuating the family to a safe place would be convenient.
To know in which direction we should escape, we must take into account the direction of the wind and be informed of the location of the fires constantly. I suppose the neighbors can take turns to constantly monitor nearby fires with binoculars.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Locumranch:
“I foresee an end to climate change hysteria with the combined application of simple electrolysis & Carbonic Anhydrase in solution, resulting in the production of gaseous H2 (a renewable fuel source) & NaHCO3 (a solid precipitate) and the copious consumption of CO2.”

All right. Maybe everything was a misunderstanding. Perhaps you did not mean that it is enough to capture CO2 to stop global warming. But your affirmation could be interpreted that way. In any case, I consider the capture of carbon for industrial purposes as something necessary and convenient. But, of course, along with that solution, other large-scale solutions are needed to stop global warming. Putting "diapers" on industries is an excellent start, but if we are to be practical, coal plants that generate electricity should already be banned. And as our friends suggest, it's time for governments to give tax deductions to companies that use clean energy or that use CO2 capture systems. But undoubtedly, if governments take benign measures to promote clean energy, then the problem would be easier to solve.

Winter7

Larry Hart said...

Ilithi Dragon:


When republicans, conservatives, and/or rural Americans hear talk like that, they hear you declaring yourself their enemy, a person who wishes to see a whole clade of American culture, a cornerstone of our history that comprises millions of people who have just as much a right to representation as anyone else, destroyed, killed, exterminated.


You're saying we should just accept that they want us destroyed, killed, exterminated and let it go?

Anonymous said...

Larry Hart:

"You're saying we should just accept that they want us destroyed, killed, exterminated and let it go?"

I guess the level of forgiveness to enemies depends on defining exactly which of the groups of enemies we are talking about. (and also the level of forgiveness depends on who we are talking about).
There are some evil people who can not be forgiven because simply, it does not matter if we behave with infinite kindness to those evil ones, because they will always take advantage of any opportunity to crush us with a smile in their mouths. (That is the case of the evil Nazi leaders in Latin America, which ironically, are worse than the old Nazis in Germany.

Winter7

Ilithi Dragon said...

Larry Hart said...

You're saying we should just accept that they want us destroyed, killed, exterminated and let it go?



Absolutely not. Call them out on it when you see it happen. Confront it. Point out the lies when you can clearly refute them. Ask them why they want to see you dead.


But returning the sentiment only escalates and justifies their behavior. They are blind to their own words and the full meaning of them, but by returning the sentiment to them, you make yourself a bogeyman on the internet they and the propagandists can raise against American unity, and you make yourself a real-life incarnation of every lie they have been told, justifying the sentiments they expressed, even though their expression preceded, and even caused yours.

locumranch said...


Thank you, Alfred.

The Bicarbonate Buffering System [H20 + CO2 <---> H + HCO3] is pushed hard-to-the-right by commercially available Carbonic Anhydrase, producing HCO3/CO3 anion which precipitates out-of-solution in the presence of metal cations like Na or Ca, forcing the reaction even further to the right & leaving free H cations in solution which can be then (1) converted to H2 gas by low energy electrolysis or (2) used in the catalysed hydrogenation reactions that favour alkanes & alkenes.

And, thank you, Ilithi_D, for pointing out the downsides to David's thoughtlessly reflexive credentialism & elitism, especially his ill-conceived 'progressive' assumptions that the rural reds are somehow 'regressive' (as in 'less evolved, less intelligent & less deserving of respect') because they make their living with their hands, even though those regressive Red Rural hands can throw down the Blue Urban elite more easily than it can hold it up, as history has demonstrated over & over.

This 'throwing down' appears to be Larry_H's greatest fear, possibly because he belongs to a progressively dismissive culture that has inadvertently pissed on the majority culture that holds him up, over & over again.

Inadvertently, my arse.


Best

Paul451 said...

Ioan,
(linked to: https://www.businessinsider.com/china-took-over-abc-australia-radio-presence-in-the-pacific-2018-6 )

Guess which side of politics cancelled Radio Australia's foreign service. Go on, guess. To "save" $2m/yr but actually just to spite the other side of politics. Go on guess. You'll never... oh, everyone got it except Loco.

Paul451 said...

Daniel Duffy,
Re: Grey Goo.

Doesn't work. It takes a large amount of energy for any nanobot to convert already reacted silicon (or germanium) and trace elements into more nanobots, and unless the nanobots are able to access some new magic energy, it's going to be a much harder route than organic carbon chemistry. And the "green goo" already occurred, so all the low-hanging fruit is plucked. Nanobots will need to be kept isolated from natural bacteria for their own protection. (That said, they'll probably end up causing cancer long before they can cure it.)

(The only one that I'm concerned about is if someone engineers a plankton that can tolerate and convert chloride in the water into chlorine. Massive advantage over its neighbours, by poisoning the water around themselves.)

Anonymous said...

Last year, they created an efficient program, capable of lip-reading. That software reminds me of HAL 9000.

Link:

https://phys.org/news/2017-03-software-excels-lip.html

Winter7

David Brin said...

L is back on vitamins, making assertions that at least map 5%+ onto one or two somewhat (if penumbral) truths. Still absurd is generalizing from anecdotes to universals. Blaming the arrogance of a few urban-university know-it-alls to all fifty million Americans who know stuff and who are mostly NOT arrogant. Those fifty million are relentlessly warred-upon by L’s feudalist, oligarchy-worshipping cult. Rural -vs- urban has little to do with it. His cult is owned by and serves Kremlin agents, casino moguls and their mafia pals, Wall Street vampires and inheritance brats. Try mentioning them some time. You won’t.

Alas, you keep demanding we accept that an endothermic reaction that requires lots of energy input is somehow free. It is not free. The energy has to come from somewhere. Without understanding this, you are just reciting an incantation.

Ilithi Dragon, welcome home and thanks for defending us.

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | David has a point about that energy demand. You gotta read those articles carefully. The CA technique is being tried where the energy IS essentially free, but that limits the technique to power plant flues. It won't help much with the carbon that's already free (and diluted) into the atmosphere. Plants can use the technique, but the carbon they soak up in the spring goes back into the air when they rot in the fall.

What you describe is a mitigation technique for carbon intensive power generation. Those are already heading for a well deserved sunset for economic reasons. We need techniques for getting at diluted carbon dioxide and dissolved carbon dioxide if we are going to beat back the monster we created.

Larry Hart said...

Paul Krugman tells us what we already know...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/12/opinion/truth-virtue-trump-loyalty.html

About truth: Trump, of course, lies a lot — in the run-up to the midterms he was lying in public more than 100 times each week. But his assault on truth goes deeper than the frequency of his lies, because Trump and his allies don’t accept the very notion of objective facts. “Fake news” doesn’t mean actual false reporting; it means any report that hurts Trump, no matter how solidly verified. And conversely, any assertion that helps Trump, whether it’s about job creation or votes, is true precisely because it helps him.

Larry Hart said...

Ilithi Dragon:

"You're saying we should just accept that they want us destroyed, killed, exterminated and let it go?"


Absolutely not. Call them out on it when you see it happen. Confront it. Point out the lies when you can clearly refute them. Ask them why they want to see you dead.


Ok, so far...


But returning the sentiment only escalates and justifies their behavior.


Doesn't confronting them and pointing out their lies also escalate and justify their behavior?

I don't hate rural white men unless they make a point of denying the validity of my citizenship or my humanity. But I'm not going to let them disenfranchise or kill me because resistance only makes them mad.

I'm not out looking for confederates to harm. It's a stretch to equate fantasies of The Rapture with "wanting to kill them." Even my wish-dreams of being left alone are win-win situations, where everyone gets what they want, or at least what they claim to want.


They are blind to their own words and the full meaning of them, but by returning the sentiment to them, you make yourself a bogeyman on the internet they and the propagandists can raise against American unity, and you make yourself a real-life incarnation of every lie they have been told, justifying the sentiments they expressed, even though their expression preceded, and even caused yours.


For my entire adult life, I've heard liberals and city-folks routinely called evil, traitors, and un-American. You're saying that pushback against that attack not only isn't on them, but retroactively justifies their position all along? That mobius-causation hyperloop is a super-power worthy as a plot element in a sci-fi novel!

Seriously, though, that's the entire basis for Stand Your Ground laws. "I had to kill him because he was going to use force to defend himself against my attack on him. It was self-defense." I don't see how this ends except civil war, and once a war is on, I don't care about whether shooting back makes the attackers more angry than they already were.

What you are saying may in fact be the case, but it's not just. It implies that only the good guys are intelligent enough to see the cause-and-effect, and that the poor simpletons who vote for Trump can't be held responsible for the consequences of their actions. So I'm supposed to Take Up The White Man's Burden? Ok, let's see how that works out.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Well, it appears the Democrats are coming out swinging. Let's see how far they get:
https://www.npr.org/2018/11/12/665635832/democrats-say-their-first-bill-will-focus-on-strengthening-democracy-at-home

Ilithi Dragon said...

Larry,

You misunderstand. I'm not saying you shouldn't confront them, and challenge them, exactly the opposite (though do be careful of the Streisand effect - sometimes just ignoring them outright is the best way to leave them impudent).

What I'm saying is that you must be careful about HOW you go about confronting and challenging them. By returning their "death/extermination to the enemy/opposing culture" rhetoric, you are not justifying their rhetoric objectively, but you ARE justifying their rhetoric IN THEIR MINDS.

You are trying to convince them of something, and when you attack them in that way, even if it is in retaliation to their own such attacks on you, it triggers mental defense mechanisms that raise a wall against you, and anything you say gets automatically shut out and discredited. Instead of convincing them to change their minds, you end up solidifying their positions even more.

That's why just throwing facts at people is not the best way to convince them of things. For some people it is, but most of those people have specifically trained their minds to accept contradicting data and change their views, opinions, and conclusions. There have been a number of studies on this effect, and they've been discussed here before. Browbeating people is great for drawing attention to an issue, and great for motivating people who are already on your side, but it is absolutely terrible at, and even counter-productive towards changing the minds of people who disagree with you.

To change their minds, you need to engage their critical thinking skills. Ask them questions. When they spit out an incongruence or obvious lie, question it! Force them to confront the cognitive dissonance, and whenever possible, present other information that is contradictory to their position as "new" or previously unknown/outside their sphere of knowledge. The human brain is much more receptive to altering its reality model when presented with new information than when presented with contradictory information.


Above all else, though, stress our unity, our common cause, and the importance of coming together as Americans to solve problems, and absolutely throw the politicians under the bus if you have to (it's the politicians who are refusing to work together for political gain, not us, the American citizens, it's the politicians who are driving the divide for political gain, they just want to have us fighting each other so they can stay in power, etc. etc.). I guarantee you that conservatives hate politicians just as much as we do, and with a little bit of the Judo that Dr. Brin regularly calls for, you can turn that us-vs-them tribal mentality that tends to define conservatives more than liberals to your advantage. You just have to spin things in a way that puts you in their "us" group, and politicians in general in the "them" group. Then, once you've established yourself as part of their in-group, and politicians as the out-group, you can start separating them from their favored politicians/propagandists.

Ilithi Dragon said...

It's slow, time-consuming, and requires a lot of energy, but that's how you change people's minds. Don't fall into demonization trap. And it is a trap, I guarantee you, because when you start demonizing them back, you have made yourself into the very thing the propagandists strawmanned you as, and now you're doing their job for them.

I called this sort of thing out almost a decade ago, back when conservatives were ramping up the demonization and paranoia under Obama and the Great Gun Control Scare/Sales Ploy, and the angry/brow-beating Social Justice Warriors were a tiny fringe of the left. I told my conservative friends that they were being paranoid, and that their paranoia and demonization was just going to drive the left into animosity against them and that they would be the creation of the very thing they were afraid of, and I told my friends on the left that falling into the demonization trap would just radicalize the right even more, by feeding and confirming their paranoia, and driving them to tack action against their no-longer phantasmal fears.

It's a shitty trap (or a brilliant one), and one that's hard to avoid, but you HAVE to avoid it, because it IS a trap.

Our enemies want us divided, because they know that united they can't defeat us, so however much you hate or despise or are infuriated by the right, demonizing them just plays right into the hands of our enemy's propagandists, divides us, and does their job for them.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Honestly, probably one of the best ways to combat it is with the Socratic Method. Just keep asking questions. When you see a hole in their argument, question it. Don't state anything, just keep asking questions, until you've got THEM to do all the work of proving themselves wrong.

It just might completely bypass the wall-against-contradiction defense mechanism, because the contradiction and challenge isn't coming from an outside source or potential enemy, but from their own internal evaluation, and forces them to question and evaluate their own sources and knowledge.

Catfish N. Cod said...

Illithi:

Our enemies want us divided, because they know that united they can't defeat us, so however much you hate or despise or are infuriated by the right, demonizing them just plays right into the hands of our enemy's propagandists, divides us, and does their job for them.

Damn straight, but ever since Newt Gingrich infected the Right with a more virulent strain of division (the Left merely had a residual decadent arrogance from the successes of mid-century), the Right has resisted the argument that they should quit attacking the Left for the good of the country. The usual rationalization in their minds is that everything would be fine if everyone would just accept the Right's inherent righteousness and (usually divine) mandate.

I grew up in that small-town environment locum idealizes. I don't want it to die completely; it has its virtues. But without intervention, it will die; the forces of corporatist control and capitalist monopoly will continue to drive farmers off their land, just as they did in ancient Rome (that's where the 'mob' came from) and in pre-New Deal America (from 1860-1940 one of the main policy debates in America was how banking and monetary policy affected the economic viability of yeoman farming).

The great scam being perpetrated on such folks as locum is the continuing demand for allegiance to 'small government' and 'less regulation' even as the main beneficiaries -- Wall Street, Big Agriculture, GMO crop producers that take away the farmer's ability to use his own seed, &c. -- further consolidate & strangulate the traditional farming way of life. Analogous conclusions can be drawn for other primary resource industries.

Two items I really, deeply, truly don't get in locum's worldview:
(1) Characterizing Reds as 'working with their hands', as if Blues never do such things. I have a huge host of healthcare workers, social workers, technicians and technical construction personnel, architects, engineers, industrial workers, artists, theatre personnel, and first responders that would like a word with anyone who claims such. The MIT motto is mens et manus, Mind and Hand. The two are very far from mutually exclusive.

(2) The idea that because Blue urbanity requires the food, fuel, and materials gathered in Red territories -- that Reds should therefore have greater right to rule than Blues. This is merely the hydraulic empire argument, expanded to a clade rather than a monarch. It has no place in a republic with a single class of citizen.

Larry Hart said...

@Ilithi Dragon,

First of all, I'm only arguing tactics with you, not sentiment. I want the same results that you want.


I called this sort of thing out almost a decade ago, back when conservatives were ramping up the demonization and paranoia under Obama and the Great Gun Control Scare/Sales Ploy, and the angry/brow-beating Social Justice Warriors were a tiny fringe of the left. I told my conservative friends that they were being paranoid, and that their paranoia and demonization was just going to drive the left into animosity against them and that they would be the creation of the very thing they were afraid of, and I told my friends on the left that falling into the demonization trap would just radicalize the right even more, by feeding and confirming their paranoia, and driving them to tack action against their no-longer phantasmal fears.


What you say is true, but it burns my butt that, as a strategy, demonization works for Republicans even as it fails to work for Democrats. Just as, when someone asserts (as someone always does) that Democrats can't just be against Trump (or Bush, or Reagan), but have to be for something, I'm always left to wonder why that's only true for Democrats. Republicans do just fine being against something--Hillary or Nancy Pelosi, for example. They also do just fine insulting their way into office--something else that Democrats are always told can't be done.

I also take issue with the notion that calling out, "You're demonizing me" is itself an act of demonizing them. Defending oneself is not an equivalent offense to attacking, just as suing someone for libel isn't an equivalent offense to the libel itself.

Now, appropos nothing other than I'm reading it right now--did you see in that article TheMadLibrarian posted above that Mitch McConnell is warning the Democrats against the possible consequences of what he's referring to as "Presidential Harassment"? You can't make this stuff up.

David Brin said...

Ilithi, wow, you come back in a surge! ;-)
“To change their minds, you need to engage their critical thinking skills.”

That is why I recommend wagers. Nothing concentrates the mind like money on the table. It results in a sudden veer from total reliance on incantations to fretting about things called facts. Yes, that fretting usually leads to evasion! To writhing/wriggling or fleeing… or to locum’s varied methods that revolve around ignoring every demand for assertion support. Still, I’ve seen nothing else that has such a strong effect, getting a fraction to blink and try to think.

“I guarantee you that conservatives hate politicians just as much as we do…”

Much more. Because they know THEIR politicians are corrupt-crazy-stupid… and hence the latest Fox-ism… “They’re ALL horrible!” Create a false equivalence that undermines all faith in our processes and institutions. A yummy effect… if you are Putin or one of the other owners of the GOP.

I agree we need to be firm but not demonizing. I won’t call most of my RASR friends evil! But I will keep telling them “you are a hypnotized member of a cult.”

One RASR sent me a rant from what I call one of the Info Wars style "treason sites" showing Nancy Pelosi describing how to use demonization to corrupt the political process. The female TS (treason site) host said "see how Pelosi openly admits the Democrats' methodology!" And you can tell they sliced off Pelosi's introductory "This is how the GOP does it..." It was blatant! Yet my RASR friend and neighbor swallowed the trick whole!

David Brin said...


And Catfish is back too! I was about to put out a call! Hurrah.

BTW we are in a blackout, not caused by a fire, so far (though these winds could cause one any minute), but by SDGE precautions against starting one. So this is from a starbucks.

We have some new communities near here that survived the 2007 fires utterly unscathed… because of the new building codes. While 10% of regulations may be “over-reach”… and it was dems who slashed the ICC & CAB and broke up ATT… maybe 80% of regulations were enacted because people used their eyes and evidence and prefrontal lobes to actually look at what is needful.

This is not even. Yes, we need grownup libertarians to QUESTION regulation! Alas:

- There are so few grownups in that betrayed movement (Hi Alfred)

- That will happen when the DP splits… may it only happen after the undead were-elephant is dead and its vampire remnants evaporating under a searing sun of truth.

locumranch said...


David does have a point when he dismisses CA-mediated CO2 mitigation as "an endothermic reaction" that (may require) lots of energy input", even though his "lots of energy input" hypothesis is as yet an unsupported & unscientific allegation.

What is clear, however, is that David feels that humanity lacks the technological wherewithal to meet the current & projected energy needs of Blue Urbanity, while simultaneously mitigating critical global CO2 elevations, leaving rationing as our most effective CO2 mitigation strategy, even though our jet-setting Blue Urban host demonstrates an apparent unwillingness to ration (or even reduce) his own fossil fuel consumption by even the tiniest bit.

Larry_H echoes this sentiment by refusing to take up 'The White Man's Burden' of protecting, elevating, educating & 'uplifting' humanity in general, and this implies that Larry_H & our fine host expect this CO2 mitigation burden (among others) to be borne by some OTHER non-Blue non-Urban tribe that is somehow less 'incredible' than their own.

Well, screw that!!

55% of the World's Population currently live in urban areas, says the UN, a percentage expected to increase to 68% by 2050, so it's only fair that the Blue Urban tribe accept 68% of the responsibility, sacrifice & energy rationing necessary to mitigate global CO2 elevations.

This is now a Blue Urban Burden.

And, if the Blue Urban you chooses NOT to accept this burden, that's fine too, because the problem is self-limiting as fewer & fewer red rural resource providers translates as fewer & fewer resources for the Incredible Blue Urban you.


Best
____

Food-for-thought for Catfish:
(1) Does the Blue Urban (progressive) & Red Rural (conservative) divide make any sense if you first assume a 'single class' of US citizen?
(2) What class of citizen do your assumptions make you?

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | What is clear, however, is that David feels that...

I think you are mistaken on that. He's pretty optimistic compared to most people I know. Most of his arguments regarding climate change boil down to this (I think)

1. There is already enough evidence of danger that we should take it seriously.
2. We are capable of amazing things, so we might get out of this danger if we face it.
3. There are things we can do NOW that buy us time to a) get our act together and b) figure out more mitigation and remediation techniques.

On top of that I think he would argue that humans are responsible for the rapid rise in atmospheric (and oceanic) CO2 and that it is our moral responsibility to face that and try to mitigate and remediate the damage done.

His support of sensible regulation would likely mean support of TWODA notions and some consequences for people who 'cheat' by not accepting the moral responsibilities the rest of us think they should accept. There is room for debate in all this, but not really about the moral requirements.

Ilithi Dragon said...

@Larry Hart,

Oh, I know... It's super frustrating when your opponents can be childish asshats and trolls, and you have to just tolerate it and don't dare stoop to their level because you'll lose. A lot of that is because the cultures and mindsets that the Republicans and Democrats cater to are different, with different objectives and values. Remember, conservatives tend to be the stick-in-the-muds, opposing new things and change, so it's fine for them to just be against something, it's kind of a core part of their cultural theme, even if it isn't always recognized or admitted. Liberals, on the other hand, tend to be about moving forward and accomplishing things, so they need more to motivate them than just being against something. They need something to move TOWARD. Something to stand FOR.

There's also that sage old wisdom of not stooping to the level of a troll, because they'll beat you with experience.

But, that's just part of being an adult. You act like an adult instead of stooping to childish behaviors, however tempting it may be.

Then, too, there is the matter of political strategy. The Republicans and conservatives are great at playing the demonizing/dividing game, and much of their agenda revolves around maintaining that division. Playing that game plays to their strengths, where they have all the advantages, and gives initiative and control of the field/narrative to them. Instead of responding and reacting to the Republican narrative, where the Democrats will always be on the back foot, the Democrats need to shift strategies and start talking policy. Dems tend to win when they focus on policy issues, and ignore the ad hominem, but when they stoop to the same ad hominem the Republicans are slinging, voters are just left with a choice between two sides calling each other names, which just leads to party-line voting of the hardcore base and disillusionment and disengagement of the moderate voters, who are the people the Dems really need to win over.

donzelion said...

Illithi: The problem of the Socratic method is that unless one has a certain quantum of power, one tends to wind up like Socrates...not the happiest of endings. More often, the mike gets cut once the questions threaten.

Yet I still agree with you in your discussion with Larry Hart above: pushback becomes a matter of who holds the bigger bullhorn - Larry is right to be frustrated at the illogic of it all, but the psychological is more important here.

"only the good guys are intelligent enough to see the cause-and-effect"
Both sides see it - but calculate differently, and ours at least grasps that in a 'game of chicken,' there's a risk of error getting out of hand (a la 'Rebel Without a Cause' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7hZ9jKrwvo). Best strategy is to convince people to play a different game. Perhaps our host is on to something with his wagers...

Larry Hart said...

Ilithi Dragon:

But, that's just part of being an adult. You act like an adult instead of stooping to childish behaviors, however tempting it may be.


The temptation is not in the emotional outburst, but rather in the fact that acting like an adult doesn't seem to work anymore. We're losing so often I'm tired of losing.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: acting like an adult always seems to lose. But isn't it the only way to win the bigger games over the long haul?

Asking for a friend. I'm still learning what it means to 'act like an adult,'and haven't felt like the winner for a long time.

A.F. Rey said...

"Acting like an adult" works when you're bigger, stronger and have more rights than the child.

What happens when the child is just as large or larger than you? :(

Alfred Differ said...

I think the point Illithi Dragon is making is one that has taken me years to learn while raising a boy on the spectrum. I've had to learn to remain a calm adult and prevent escalation of conflict because he has struggled to understand the need for it, let alone actually learn it. It's hard to do, but when my son flashes to anger, if I take a small moment to think about the initial conditions, I can usually find the thing he didn't anticipate, thus I can understand his shock and surprise. My instinct is to flash to anger along with him and then things get bad. When I avoid that, though, the problem usually blows over very quickly. I point out that he missed and give him a bit of time to look at it.

Much of the time, though, it seems that my effort to avoid escalation doesn't work. My wife says otherwise and when I reflect on it later, I CAN see a gradual trend. My son and I don't work each other up as often anymore and its not because I give up and let him go wild. It's terribly slow and barely noticeable for someone like me in the thick of it. Apparently other perspectives help. 8)

So... the question is... do I want to put in the same level of hard work for my red state cousins? Sometimes I'm not sure. Other times I think I should.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Oh, I know, it's frustrating, especially when you're not in a position to properly demonstrate the propaganda/lies. There are a few people I work with, some regularly some less so, who spout out a lot of the propaganda BS, but I only ever interact with them in an environment where I don't have the resources to show them what they're spouting is BS and lies, nor the time to sit down and do so, even though it would be pretty easy to debunk most of what they spit out if I did.

Then, of course, even when you do show them wrong, they hunker down into the position of refusing to accept that the propaganda that plays to their preconceived notions/desired perspectives is false, and I don't have the time or it's not the appropriate environment to call them out on the childish behavior (professional environments aren't very conducive to political discussions).

I don't think we're losing as much as it might seem, not when we play adults. There is definitely a lot of external push to favor childish behavior, but when the Democrats can behave like adults, and not fall into the narrative traps the Republicans set for them (or create them themselves... All credit to Secretary Clinton for her skills and accomplishments and qualifications, but she and her name carry too much baggage and too much stench of establishmentism to have been a good candidate choice in the last election, let alone now), I think they win more than they lose.

The Dems just have to talk policy, and avoid ad hominem and troll traps. The Republicans have mastered that, and that's the core of their political strategy these days. Not policy, not political issues, trolling. The best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them. Rising to their bait just feeds them. Ignore the troll behavior, and double-down on talking policy and issues.

Also, need to push hard to tone down the SJW angry-self-righteousness-hate, because that hurts the left and the Dems far more than it helps. I know a couple conservatives who are staunch Republicans precisely because of the hatred and demeanment (? that a word?) they experienced from SJW-types who were hell bent on demonizing all white males.

In fact, that whole narrative, of "cis white male privilege" is a very wrong tactic to take. Because you end up coming across as a threat to that whole clade of people, which auto-activates defense mode against the notion, while simultaneously demonizing huge swaths of poor whites who have it just as or nearly as bad.

Instead of "white privilege," you should focus on the shit deal everyone else has gotten, and still gets. "These guys aren't getting a fair shake" resonates better than "You've got an unfair advantage and need to give it up and atone for it and feel bad."

By embracing the latter message over the former, the left has torpedoed themselves as bad as anything the right has done.

Duncan Cairncross said...

I agree with the dragon

It's NOT "White Privilege"

It IS non whites being punished for not being white

The two things are completely different

We do NOT want to take anything FROM "white people" - they are NOT getting anything that they should NOT get

We just want everybody to have what they should have

Ilithi Dragon said...

@Alfred Differ,

I think you hit the nail on the head, there.

Flashing to anger in response to anger from the opposition is tempting, easy, and feels good, but it just feeds the problem, instead of resolving it.

Playing the adult is hard, exhausting, and often feels like we're going nowhere, but it's the only way forward. Progress is slow, and when you're in the thick of it, as Alfred said, it often feels like there's none at all, or that you're going backwards, but it's there, you just have to keep at it.


The trick, however, is not keeping at being adults. Ultimately, that's just a matter of perseverance. The big challenge is getting everyone else to play the adult, too, because it doesn't take many non-adults to turn a brush-aside issue into a full-blown spat that sets back or reverses progress.

David Brin said...

“55% of the World's Population currently live in urban areas, says the UN, a percentage expected to increase to 68% by 2050, so it's only fair that the Blue Urban tribe accept 68% of the responsibility,”

Sheeeit. we pay nearly all the taxes that YOU bitch about! Even when you think you are making sense, you haven’t even a scintilla of logic.

So CO2 “mitigation” is now where you cultists have moved the next goal posts? Claiming WE are preventing it? Lar. WE did all the research on that. Blocked at every turn by your cult. Show us the Koch money going into CO2 collection at their coal and cement plants, the best place in the world to do it. Show us. Hypocrite liars.

BTW all endothermic reactions require energy input. When you talk about compressing ambient atmosphere and running that endothermic reaction enough to reverse the damage done by your cult? Calling that “lost of energy” is “unscientific?” Alas, Babylon.

Only note, you sneered and sneered at how much you knew about this mitigation tech and never once did it occur to you… end-o-thermic. Yet YOU actually lectured me about science. No sir, it is not facts your cult clings to but magical incantations.

Ilithi is right but I call it using Judo instead of Sumo, which they are good at. Dirty-lying-insane sumo. But I differ. It’s not necessary to sink to trolls’ level. But it is necessary to hurt them. We do that by showing their cowardly and un-manly refusal to step up to wagers.

Plus different takes on fairness. Attacking white-privilege is a loss, yes. Speak of the stupidity of any society wasting talent.

Daniel Duffy said...

Forget about algae. What we need are nukes.

OK, let's crunch some numbers for global warming and climate change, and the only realistic solution.


Amount of CO2 sent into the atmosphere by human activities
= 32,000,000,000 tons per year
Fraction retained in the atmosphere (not absorbed by existing carbon sinks)
= 43%
Annual accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere
= 13,760,000,000 tons / year


Life cycle CO2 emissions from coal power plants
= 820 g of CO2 / kWh
Life cycle CO2 emissions from nuclear power plants
= 12 g of CO2 / kWh
Life cycle CO2 reduction using nuclear power plants
= 808 g of CO2 / kWh
= 1.75 lbs of CO2 / kWh


Amount of energy to be replaced and eliminate CO2 accumulation
= 15,725,714,285,714 kWh per year
= 15,725,714,286 MWh per year
Power output of large nuclear power plant (Palo Verde, 3 each 1338 MW reactors))
= 4,000 MW
= 35,040,000 MWh per year


Number of large nuclear plants required to replace coal plants emitting excess CO2
= 449 each
= 1,796 1 MW reactors


Capital cost of nuclear power plant (Palo Verde, 3 each 1338 MW reactors)
= $5,900,000,000
Total Capital Costs
= $2,647,879,973,907


About $2.5 Trillion, double to $5 trillion in today's dollars


World GDP (2016)
= $75.4 trillion


Summary: There are currently 467 operational nuclear power plants world wide. We can eliminate all excess CO2 by adding another 450 plants, or about 1,350 each 1338 MW reactors. The cost would be about 6.67% of world GDP.

Annual percent of world GDP spent on the military is about 2%.


So we solve global warming by doubling the number of nuclear plants world wide. We simply cannot prevent global warming without lots of nukes. Safe, clean nukes


Other efforts (solar and wind, afforestation, carbon capture, fertilizing the oceans with irons sulfate, etc. ) can help but they are not nearly as cost effective as expanding nuclear energy.


Nukes can also use off-peak KWh to electrolysize water to create enough hydrogen (without fossil fuel reformatting) to create a hydrogen fuel cell economy that avoids the chief problem with batteries as energy storage. Even the best rechargeable battery wears out over time and will no longer take a charge. Disposing of these batteries will be a major toxic waste disposal problem. So will the disposal of PVCs, which also wear out (current warranties for solar roof top arrays are 10 to 20 years).

Daniel Duffy said...

Or lots of trees.

While there is no silver bullet that by itself will prevent global warming, we have a host of options we can deploy - each of which can contribute greatly to the solution. IOW, we have lots of silver buckshot.

One option is to plant lots and lots of trees. One trillion trees to be exact:

https://www.trilliontrees.org/

Let's look at planting trees and crunch the numbers.

32,000,000,000 tons Amount of CO2 sent into the atmosphere by human activities

43% Fraction retained in the atmosphere (not absorbed by existing carbon sinks)

13,760,000,000 tons Annual accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere

50 lbs Amount CO2 sequesterd by typical mature tree annually

550,400,000,000 each Number of trees required
550 billion
69 trees per capita

300 trees Minimum number of trees per acres for reforestation or wild life enhancement
726 trees Maximum number of trees per acre required for reforestation

1,834,666,667 acres Maximum area required
2,866,667 square miles

758,126,722 acres Minimum area required
1,184,573 square miles

1,296,396,694 acres Average area required
2,025,620 square miles

2 million square miles
52% of Canada
80% of the Australian outback
56% of the Sahara

1% of the total land area of the Earth

Daniel Duffy said...

Another option is to fertilize bare areas of the ocean with iron sulfate.

Fortunately, initial efforts at CO2 sequestration via iron fertilization of the oceans is lookng very promising - and replenishes fish stock:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/06/120-tons-of-iron-sulphate-dumped-into.html

http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/06/bureaucracy-and-hurdles-for-attempting.html

The study has shown that "a substantial proportion of carbon from the induced algal bloom sank to the deep sea floor. These results, which were thoroughly analysed before being published now, provide a valuable contribution to our better understanding of the global carbon cycle."

"Over 50 per cent of the plankton bloom sank below 1000 metre depth indicating that their carbon content can be stored in the deep ocean and in the underlying seafloor sediments for time scales of well over a century."

"Iron Fertilization helps restore fish populations. In 2012, the distribution of 120 tons of iron sulfate into the northeast Pacific to stimulate a phytoplankton bloom which in turn would provide ample food for baby salmon."

"The verdict is now in on this highly controversial experiment: It worked. In fact it has been a stunningly over-the-top success. This year, the number of salmon caught in the northeast Pacific more than quadrupled, going from 50 million to 226 million. In the Fraser River, which only once before in history had a salmon run greater than 25 million fish (about 45 million in 2010), the number of salmon increased to 72 million."

"The cost for iron fertilization would be “ridiculously low” as compared with any other possible method of carbon sequestration. For quite seriously all you need to do is throw rubbish over the side of the ship to make it happen."

"No, really: ferrous sulphate is a waste product of a number of different industrial processes (if I’m recalling correctly, one source would be the production of titanium dioxide for making white paint, a large industry) and it really is a waste. It gets thrown into holes in the ground"

Accrding to Next Big Future the iron used in ocean fertilization results in a plankton bloom, which massively increases fish stocks (120 tons of iron sulfate became 100,000 tons of salmon. The plankton not eaten by the fish dies and settles on the ocean floor taking the CO2 used to build their bodies with them in permanent sequestration.

The sequestion is accomplished at a rate of:

"Recent research has expanded this constant to "106 C: 16 N: 1 P: .001 Fe" signifying that in iron deficient conditions each atom of iron can fix 106,000 atoms of carbon, or on a mass basis, each kilogram of iron can fix 83,000 kg (83 metric tonnes)of carbon dioxide."

Global CO2 emissions in 2013 were estimated to be 33.4 billion metric tonnes from fossil fuels and cement production. Using the ratio above, a bit more than 400,000,000 kilograms (400,000 metric tonnes) of iron sulphate could sequester our CO2 emissions each year - about 3,333 times the amount used in the experiment cited by NBF. This actually sounds doable in the ocean fisheries around the globe.

More than that would reduce the overall amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Possibly resulting in global cooling.

A single ultra large crude tanker has a capacity of 550,000 dead weight tonnes - 150,000 tonnes more than what would be needed to sequester annual CO2 emissions.

Daniel Duffy said...

How about not eating so much meat.

One option is replacing traditional livestock with meat grow from a lab with stem cells or veggie based meats.

First, take a surprising look at how we actually use the planet.

https://ourworldindata.org/yields-and-land-use-in-agriculture

See world map in section I.6. For example: the amount of area used to graze and feed livestock is equal to the entire Western Hemisphere (27% of the world's landmass). The amount used for farming is about the size of China and East Asia (7%). Cities are only 1%. Replace livestock with meat grown in bioreactor vats from stem cells and most of this area can be returned to natural habitat.

In fact, the single most important thing an individual can do to save the planet is to forgo meat and dairy products as much as possible.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth

The new analysis shows that while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. Other recent research shows 86% of all land mammals are now livestock or humans. The scientists also found that even the very lowest impact meat and dairy products still cause much more environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal growing.

Daniel Duffy said...

And let's replace steel and concrete with wood.

https://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/tall-wood-gets-green-light-building-code.html?fbclid=IwAR3EOW79SbM4L2gBAARibl4_ebbsrdhQ8VNCMbAY67A6Pzo-8haQLJPPHdg

"The proposed rules would allow buildings up to 18 storeys or 270 feet tall, with the building fully sprinklered and all the wood fire protected, much like it was in the Brock Commons tower in Vancouver. In buildings up to 12 storeys, mass timber components could be exposed"

This is actually a big deal, It allows the construction of timber skyscrapers, allowing the replacement of cement and steel with heavy timber and engineered plywood. Steel and concrete production together account for 10% of all greenhouse gases. OTOH, building with wood sequesters huge amounts of CO2 in the wood structure itself.

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/wooden-skyscrapers-timber-trend-catching-fire-duplicate-2/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0OZSlBLMrb_59vdo19mUwyTTq0YDejV1IZZro8rI2XlQ8MZPm1IZacUpc

"Tokyo skyscraper is set to become the world's tallest wooden building. Japanese company Sumitomo Forestry says its 1,148-feet-tall timber tower will be completed in 2041, to mark the 350th anniversary of the business that year. The W350 tower will cost an estimated 600 billion yen ($5.6 billion) to build. The 70-story tower will be a hybrid structure made from 90% wooden materials. A steel vibration-control framework will underpin the design -- an important feature in a city where earthquakes are frequent."

https://www.thechemicalengineer.com/news/new-densified-wood-is-as-strong-as-steel/

Using a new technique for densifying wood, researchers at the University of Maryland have been able to compress wood to 20% of its original thickness resulting in complete densification. The natural wood is first boiled in a solution of NaOH/Na2SO3 which makes it more porous and flexible. The wood is then compressed perpendicular to its growth direction at a temperature of 100°C. “It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter,” said Teng Li, co-leader of the research team. “It takes 10 times more energy to fracture than natural wood. It can even be bent and molded at the beginning of the process."

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Daniel

You have $1,50/watt for Nuclear power
That is a very good number - not at all sure if it is feasible

The Hinkley point Reactor
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinkley_Point_C_nuclear_power_station
Is going to be more than $8,66/watt

The costs should a lot lower!
But at the moment wind/solar and storage look to be cheaper than Nuclear

Larry Hart said...

BTW, @Alfred and @Dr Brin,

Your fire experiences are not working to convince me that I want to move to California.

Just sayin'

Tony Fisk said...

@LarryHart: having done a bit of street canvassing to raise awareness of the proposed Adani mine (Australia's version of KXL) and the need for climate action in general, I quite agree with Ilithi that sumo wrestling and getting into front-on arguments is a trap. A lot of energy is expended, neither side is convinced, and you're left feeling angry and frustrated. Even knowing it's a trap, it's far too easy to fall into.

There is an interesting TED talk on "deep canvassing", which is worth a look (if you haven't already seen it). The aim is to nudge opinion, not force it. Using that technique, I have to say that street conversations I've been having are much more pleasant.

Larry Hart said...

Ilithi Dragon:

Instead of "white privilege," you should focus on the shit deal everyone else has gotten, and still gets. "These guys aren't getting a fair shake" resonates better than "You've got an unfair advantage and need to give it up and atone for it and feel bad."


Here I'll agree. I don't think it's useful to tell people to feel guilty about something they didn't create. What is sometimes necessary is to make people see is that others striving for equality under the law is not the same thing as you striving to keep an unearned advantage over them. It's (in fact) the opposite thing.

I think of white privilege as an inherently unstable situation. I can personally enjoy my own white privilege, but I can't feel comfortable that the rest of the world will let me keep it. Better to strive for justice. If everyone has the same privileges, then I won't lose mine.

locumranch said...


Even though I'm FEBS published & I've forgotten more enzyme kinetics than our host will ever know, I can tell you this much:

The Left will continue to ignore Ilithi_D's sage advice as it much prefers to affect the role of the passive victim (aka 'the innocent devoid of moral agency') to that of an equally responsible adult.

Responsible? How dare I suggest that the political left, the adult progressive or the fact-using castes are in any way responsible for the negative consequences of industrialisation, life prolongation, unrestricted immigration, divisive identity politics, climate change, military adventurism, a fractured social contract, a partisan environment or economic inequality?

Duh!! It's all the fault of them there feudal patriarchs who created our democracy, them there christian cultists who invented humanism, them there privileged who dared to share their privileges voluntarily, them there whites who abolished slavery & them there males who sacrificed all to empower women!!

On behalf of feudal patriarchal white males everywhere, I will say only this:

(1) Please accept my most sincere apologies;

(2) I hereby relinquish the entirety of my moral responsibilities into your all-too-capable hands;

(3) Tag, you are 'it' & no backsies; and

(4) Not my problem anymore.


Best

David Brin said...

Utter drivel. Finally, at long last, tell us your prescription?

DD: interesting stuff. But your labeling of nuclear plants as "1MW" seems odd when (1) the 1MW new reactors are very small and (2) the big reactors put out up to 1000 times as much.

Still, I have long supported experiments in ocean fertilization. I did in EARTH (1989) !

Alfred Differ said...

Based on other numbers from Daniel, I think the 1MW thing is a typo.

(Palo Verde, 3 each 1338 MW reactors) => I think he knows they are roughly on a 1GW scale.

Although it's been a few years, I've seen similar calculations for replacement of coal with nuclear. It CAN be done, but the instructor who taught us pointed out that it probably WOULD NOT be done because the real cost of nuclear shows up in litigation and delays. It's far easier to get a natural gas plant producing a revenue stream. It isn't trivial, but it isn't a twenty year project in most places.

I used to live near Sacramento where we force-retired the plant nearest to us through a ballot initiative many years ago. There is that to consider too. Good luck costing that risk out. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry | All deserts burn. You all get tornados and floods. We get fires. Plan appropriately and one can mitigate each. 8)

If I were actually a rich guy trying to live in those expensive homes above Malibu, I might be at risk of losing property. I'm not, though. I just have to keep a face mask with me occasionally when the pretty desert in which I like to walk catches fire.

When the wind blows from the east, I don't go out there without a heightened sense of awareness. That isn't often where I live.

Daniel Duffy said...

Sorry for the typos.

In all fairness, Dr. Brin, you really could use an editing feature.

Daniel Duffy said...

Fun facts, Alfred:

Guess who funds the anti-nuclear propaganda and supports the no nukes movement? Fossil fuel companies, especially coal companies, It seems that they don't want the competition. Surprise!

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2016/07/13/are-fossil-fuel-interests-bankrolling-the-anti-nuclear-energy-movement/#38e0c56f7453

“The discovery moved Anderson up to exhibit number one in my long-running effort to prove that the illogically tight linkage between ‘environmental groups’ and ‘antinuclear groups’ can be traced directly to the need for the oil and gas industry to discourage the use of nuclear energy,” writes Adams....“Oil would be worth a lot less if more of the world’s energy needs were provided by atomic fission,” Adams writes. “If oil was worth less, it would make no economic sense to press it out of shale rocks in North Dakota, drill for it deep under the Gulf of Mexico, or try to extract it from the challenging environment of the Arctic Ocean.”


Another fun fact: the reason France and Japan have such advanced nuclear power industries is that neither country has significant deposits of oil or coal.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/readings/french.html

First, he says, the French are an independent people. The thought of being dependent for energy on a volatile region of the world such as the Middle East disturbed many French people. Citizens quickly accepted that nuclear might be a necessity. A popular French riposte to the question of why they have so much nuclear energy is "no oil, no gas, no coal, no choice."


Yet another fun fact: In its drive for "green energy" Germany such down its nuclear power plants. As a result its carbon emissions have actually increased despite its much publicized solar energy development.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2017-11-14/germany-is-burning-too-much-coal

But there's another, troubling side to the German story: The country still gets 40 percent of its energy from coal, a bigger share than most other European countries. And much of it is lignite, the dirtiest kind of coal. As a result, Germany is set to fall well short of its 2020 goal.This dependence on coal is partly a side effect of Germany's abandonment of emissions-free nuclear power and partly foot-dragging on the part of a government wary of alienating voters in German coal country. During the summer election campaign, Merkel largely avoided the subject.


Yet another fun fact:

https://www.nei.org/fundamentals/nuclear-waste

The total amount of waste generated by the commercial nuclear industry since the late 1950s would cover a football field to a depth of 10 feet

And nuclear waste can be recycled:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/10/01/why-doesnt-u-s-recycle-nuclear-fuel/#1eee0636390f

France, Great Britain and Japan, among other nations, rejected Carter’s solution. Those countries realized that spent nuclear fuel is a valuable asset, not simply waste requiring disposal. As a result, France today generates 80 percent of its electricity needs with nuclear power, much of it generated through recycling....The nuclear fuel recycling process is straightforward. It involves converting spent plutonium and uranium into a “mixed oxide” that can be reused in nuclear power plants to produce more electricity. In France, spent fuel from that country’s 58 nuclear power plants is shipped to a recycling facility at Cap La Hague overlooking the English Channel, where it sits and cools down in demineralized water for three years. Only then is it separated for recycling into mixed-oxide fuel.

Daniel Duffy said...

What the the world needs is a new movement of high tech, nuclear loving, tree hugging hippies.

We won't solve global warming with renewables alone.

And if we go back to living like medieval peasants, billions of innocent people will die.

And having spent a lot of time on collapse sites and environmental site (especially Reddit), I swear that the people who post on these sites really do WANT billions of people to die.

Daniel Duffy said...

James Lovelock, founder of the Gaia Hypothesis, if 100% correct: nuclear power is the only green solution.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/james-lovelock-nuclear-power-is-the-only-green-solution-564446.html

But with six billion, and growing, few options remain; we can not continue drawing energy from fossil fuels and there is no chance that the renewables, wind, tide and water power can provide enough energy and in time. If we had 50 years or more we might make these our main sources. But we do not have 50 years; the Earth is already so disabled by the insidious poison of greenhouse gases that even if we stop all fossil fuel burning immediately, the consequences of what we have already done will last for 1,000 years. Every year that we continue burning carbon makes it worse for our descendants and for civilisation.

Worse still, if we burn crops grown for fuel this could hasten our decline. Agriculture already uses too much of the land needed by the Earth to regulate its climate and chemistry. A car consumes 10 to 30 times as much carbon as its driver; imagine the extra farmland required to feed the appetite of cars.

By all means, let us use the small input from renewables sensibly, but only one immediately available source does not cause global warming and that is nuclear energy. True, burning natural gas instead of coal or oil releases only half as much carbon dioxide, but unburnt gas is 25 times as potent a greenhouse agent as is carbon dioxide. Even a small leakage would neutralise the advantage of gas...

Opposition to nuclear energy is based on irrational fear fed by Hollywood-style fiction, the Green lobbies and the media. These fears are unjustified, and nuclear energy from its start in 1952 has proved to be the safest of all energy sources. We must stop fretting over the minute statistical risks of cancer from chemicals or radiation. Nearly one third of us will die of cancer anyway, mainly because we breathe air laden with that all pervasive carcinogen, oxygen. If we fail to concentrate our minds on the real danger, which is global warming, we may die even sooner, as did more than 20,000 unfortunates from overheating in Europe last summer.

George Carty said...

Daniel Duffy: "And having spent a lot of time on collapse sites and environmental site (especially Reddit), I swear that the people who post on these sites really do WANT billions of people to die."

How does their mentality compare with that of religious apocalypse-junkies, whether they be Daesh or the Hojjatieh Society or the Christian dominionists obsessed with the Book of Revelation?

Jon S. said...

Two issues to clear up, Illithi:

1) America's right wing today isn't "conservative" by any stretch of the imagination. Conservatives want things to change slowly, if at all, and want the possible results of actions to be carefully considered. Our right wing is reactionary - they want things to change quickly, heedless of consequence, as long as the change is in the direction of their fantasized "golden age" past. And as long as you try to reason with them on the basis of their being conservative, you will fail. (As Thomas Paine observed, "To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.")

2) Removing "white privilege" doesn't involve removing the "privilege" part; it involves removing the "white" part.

The best example I have of white privilege in my life came about around two weeks ago. You see, my roommate is a PTSD vet; one of the consequences of his disorder (aside from resulting in his being medically retired from and given a 100% disability rating by the Army) is that he can't sleep at night - that's when the mortars hit, you know. And sometimes, in the dark watches of the early morning, he gets depressed about not sleeping and about his buddies who didn't come home, and he calls the VA crisis line because they (kind of) understand. Sometimes, though, the person on the crisis line, keeping in mind veteran suicide rates, will misinterpret things like Jason saying he's taking his pills (he has a good number of pills he's supposed to take) as meaning he's trying to OD, and they will call 911. And then two deputies are dispatched to our door, generally around 4 or 5 am, to check on him. (In the past, this has resulted in some mild violence, as if he's still awake he might start feeling like trying for "suicide by cop" and we have to hold him back.)

So, this last time, the police show up about 4:30 am on a Sunday, and I haul my weary butt out of bed to answer the call. Not a problem, really; we had a short conversation, I assured them Jason was safely asleep and in bed, they went on their way, I went back to bed.

It only occurred to me the next day that I had exercised my white privilege. I answered the door wearing sweat pants and no shirt with a kind of dazed and spacy expression, talked to police, told them they didn't need to come into my house, and went back to bed confident that nobody was going to try to escalate the situation. Nobody was going to shoot anyone, nobody even placed a hand on a gun butt, no one tried to force a door, the police actually acted like public servants. And I realized that it was entirely possible that if Hillary, who happens to be black, had been the one to answer the door, things might well have gone quite differently.

My white privilege was wrong there not because I could expect to be treated as I was, but because she had no such assurance. It shouldn't have been "white privilege", it should have been common courtesy extended to all citizens. But, as we saw in Chicago just the other day, it isn't. In that case, police arrived in response to a call about a disturbance at a bar, saw a white guy being held down by a black guy with a gun, and shot the black guy dead. It somehow escaped their attention that the black guy was wearing the uniform of a security guard, and that the crowd was trying to get them to back down; they just assumed the one with the darker skin a) must be the perp and b) was an imminent danger and had to be killed with no further investigation.

I, a middle-aged white guy, could be dressed in slovenly fashion at the scene of what might have been, for all they knew, a suicide, and yet be confident that there would be no repercussions; he, a fairly young, conservatively-dressed black guy at the scene of a disturbance, was killed without so much as a question. And that, my dear friends, was my white privilege.

Larry Hart said...

@Jon S on white privilege,

Thanks for making a point I've been trying to. That is to say, agitating against "white privilege" is not about making life worse for white people. It's about treating everybody with the respect and dignity that is currently accorded white people. Being in favor of that should be a no-brainer in a country ostensibly founded on democratic principles.

Larry Hart said...

Those who argue and vote in favor of maintaining their white privilege seem to believe that abolishing it means they'll be on the receiving end of "black privilege" or "Jew privilege" or "gay privilege" or whatever. We saw some of that when President Obama was elected. I noticed it even more back in 1983 when Chicago elected its first black mayor. "Ohmygod! Now the cops will harass and shoot white people instead of blacks."

When I get away with something like accidentally leaving my car parked on the street overnight, or being given a warning instead of a speeding ticket, I'll say to my wife, "It's a good thing we're white." Of course, I don't want to lose the good side of that. But there's no downside for me if the same courtesies are also extended to all of my fellow citizens. I want the courteous treatment--it doesn't have to be because I'm white. And the way I see it, if I have privilege because I'm white, that situation is unstable and won't last. Others will resent it and work to change it. If the franchise is extended to everybody, then it's a more stable situation.

Ilithi Dragon said...

On "Conservatives" actually being "conservative," yes, you're pretty much right. They're not conservative in policy, mostly, they're reactionary/regressive.

But they still identify and are identified as conservatives, and it is usually more convenient to identify them as such.

Though, perhaps, it might be worth changing that... Instead of identifying them as Conservatives, since they are no longer conservative, maybe we should just outright start calling them Reactionaries or Regressives, or Reactionary/Regressives? Changing what we call them, taking that little bit of control of THEIR narrative, might help change how they view themselves.


As for what "white privilege" is, there is no question here what it is - the fundamental inequality and differing standards by which people of different ethnicities, or just skin tone, are treated. The point I was trying to make was HOW YOU SELL IT.

Selling it as "white privilege" is an accusatory, and turns it into an attack against all white people. Yes, we know what we all mean when we say "white privilege," and what we want, but it doesn't SOUND that way. And to be completely frank, there are plenty of people who try to sell the issue of "white privilege" by actually buying into the accusatory themselves, and pushing the logical conclusion of what you should do if someone has committed an offense (knowingly or otherwise): guilt, reparations, and punishments.

All of that is not just ineffective, IT IS COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE, and hardens white people against the notion of "white privilege."

Instead of selling it as "white privilege," it should be sold as "racial disadvantage" or some catchy phrase to that effect. Reinforce that you are not trying to take anything away from anyone, but that you are instead trying to give other people a fair shake.

That shifts the whole narrative away from an accusatory/attack that is attempting to take things from people who, in their minds (and largely in actuality) have done nothing wrong, to a drive to give people who are not being treated fairly a fair shake. Humans are much more receptive to lifting others up to a fair deal than they are sacrificing advantages they themselves have.

The issue is not about what you are trying to sell, it is about how you are trying to sell it.


To be 100% honest, that is something that the left in general, and the Democrats in particular, have been absolutely TERRIBLE at, and one of the biggest reasons why the Republicans have been able to so dominate controlling narratives across the board.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Also, on a 100% different subject...

I figure a lot of you guys here would be interested in this sort of thing. An acquaintance of mine from another intellectual discussion group, has started up a play-by-e-mail (PBeM) WWII strategy game. He's run this sort of game a few times before, though this is the first time I've participated in one.

The premise is that the game is set in a fictional world, with a fictional map, with a technology level roughly comparable to inter-war period/early WWII. Everyone has a country that they control, and you manage all of the economy, production, diplomacy, trade, espionage, and military actions of the nation at the strategic level, as well as managing military units in actual battles. Most of the rules involve combat and economy/production, and there is only a base framework of rules for how diplomacy, espionage, etc. work, and no binding rules for any diplomatic deals you make beyond your reputation among player and NPC nations.

It's a fairly slow-paced game, but very involved, so there's a lot of awesome things you can do, but it doesn't take a whole lot of time commitment to do it. The game just started, so if anyone who joins in now won't be able to do some of the nation-customizing stuff the other players were able to do, and whatever the status of any given nation you take over is is what you get, but we only just submitted our Turn 1 orders on Sunday, so not really much of anything has happened, and it'll probably be a few turns before anything significant changes, at least.

If anyone's interested, they can check out a basic run-down of the game here:
https://sites.google.com/view/world-war-game/home?fbclid=IwAR2czGcg7M1b-MF5PjqAyOQytgXVtMguucUZWfuKigrJAG4Bwz6rhG8CAwo

Most of the rules are posted there, as well, though what's posted there is short on some details, and there have been a couple minor revs since those were last updated (with more on the way, particularly a unit-customization ruleset that I'm particularly looking forward to), but it's enough to give you a good idea of how it all works.

If anyone is interested, let me know and I'll send you the game master email address so you can request to join.

Larry Hart said...

Ilithi Dragon:

Instead of selling it as "white privilege," it should be sold as "racial disadvantage" or some catchy phrase to that effect. Reinforce that you are not trying to take anything away from anyone, but that you are instead trying to give other people a fair shake.


I'm not disagreeing, but just reminding you that there will still be pushback from people who think what you are indeed "taking away from" them is their (unearned) position of privilege and power over others. To some, that's a cause worth fighting for. However, they do have to out themselves as un-democratic deplorable Nazis in order to do so, so there's that.

Ilithi Dragon said...

That's why it's so important to sell it the right way, so that the only way to be against giving other people the same fair shake that white people have had is to be against equality.

Because by selling it as "white privilege" and phrasing all your language around the notion that a certain group has an unfair advantage that should be removed, you're leaving a lot of room for people to oppose it without exposing themselves as racists or bigots, and you're leaving a lot of room for people who AREN'T racists or bigots to oppose it because it sounds and feels like an attack on them, and because many of that broad group haven't had much more advantage than minorities, and feel like they've been at a disadvantage.

matthew said...

Also to remind everyone a high percentage of the GOP are in fact, actual racists. If you listen, they'll tell you about it.

My biggest problem with the GOP is that they have no problem with racists supporting them.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

"I'm not saying my opponent is racist, I'm just saying the racists think he's racist."

I understand that quite a few here are trying to prevent another civil war in America.
I think it's too late for that and I have moved into the "preparations for civil war" phase of my professional and personal life.



Larry Hart said...

matthew:

My biggest problem with the GOP is that they have no problem with racists supporting them.


The deplorable vote is all they have left. They've driven everyone else off. So there's nothing to be gained now by distancing themselves from the Nazis. What we saw in 2018 is that, in some places at least, the Nazi vote isn't enough to win against those who won't vote for someone cozying up to Nazis. In other places, it was.


[quoting Andrew Gillum] :
"I'm not saying my opponent is racist, I'm just saying the racists think he's racist."


That was such a succinct, to-the-point way of putting it that I really wish I had said it first. :) As with Trump, the issue isn't whether or not he personally has racist feelings, but whether he's encouraging and emboldening racists by making their racism ok.


I understand that quite a few here are trying to prevent another civil war in America.
I think it's too late for that .


In the interests of optimism, I hope you're as wrong as you were about Trump's first 100 days. I'm actually trying to be encouraging by reminding you that you get some predictions wrong.

matthew said...

Yeah, can't break my arm patting myself on the back. Thanks, Larry.

This is the best news I've seen all day.

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/10/15/support-for-trump-is-fading-among-active-duty-troops-new-poll-shows/

Support for Trump drops in active military.
Thank you.

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

Yeah, can't break my arm patting myself on the back. Thanks, Larry.


I don't forget that you were correct about Trump's chances in the election. Still, given the usual pessimism inherent in your predictions, I'm glad you're not infallible.


Support for Trump drops in active military.


Every time I see that some group or other has given up on Trump, I wonder, "What has changed? What didn't you already know when you were for him?" But still, yes, nice to see.

I'm typing this before I read the article, but I presume his boorishness on Veterans' Day has something to do with it?

Tim Wolter said...

Jon S. An interesting story. I used to be on the receiving end of this sort of situation, person brought to my ER, muddled story, says they are actually fine. Usually they were.

And Illith and LarryHart, I've been trying to find a phrasing for the concept we all agree on that will be more palatable than "white privilege". I think most conservatives would be onboard with the concept of equality of consequences.

You violate your training and your department policies and shoot somebody you will face consequences. Your skin color and theirs does not matter. Period.

You have to realize that there will be borderline calls and that it is an imperfect world. I give the police a little more leeway in dark alleys and in bad neighborhoods but intelligently written policies cover these situations. Call for backup. Turn on your camera. etc.

It may not be realistic to expect the world to actually be a fair place but you'd be surprised the extent to which conservatives would wish it to be.

Tacitus/TW

Duncan Cairncross said...

Re-Nuclear and renewables

In a sensible world Nuclear would be the answer

But back here on Earth there are so many people with irrational fears of radiation - DESPITE the fact that coal puts 1000 times as much radiation into the environment - that Nuclear is simply too expensive

More expensive than renewables and storage

The only way we could sensibly go nuclear would be if China makes a lot of power plant and drives the cost down to where it should be

Matt G. said...

(Daniel Duffy:)

Lab grown meat would allow all of that to be returned to natural habitat, maybe saving whole species from extinction and perhaps save the planet.

And doom cattle country to the same economic death facing the coal fields.


I'm fairly confident that cattle country and other rural areas will find ways to make a living from their land. One current example of repurposed grazing land are "Hunting Ranches" that offer specialized game hunting "adventure" to high-end clients. Those kinds of properties would want to revert to a "natural" ecology rather than industrial farming.

Larry Hart said...

Tim Wolter:

I've been trying to find a phrasing for the concept we all agree on that will be more palatable than "white privilege". I think most conservatives would be onboard with the concept of equality of consequences.


I get what you're trying for, but to me, that sounds like something conservatives would consider to be too much social engineering. Too much putting one's finger on the scale.
Locumranch would go off about how "equality" and "merit" are mutually exclusive.


I give the police a little more leeway in dark alleys and in bad neighborhoods but intelligently written policies cover these situations. Call for backup. Turn on your camera. etc.


I don't hate cops or anything, and I understand split second decisions and awesome responsibility and all that. Still, some of the situations we've seen black people killed in would be comical if they weren't so tragic.

The guy who was told to reach for his wallet and then shot when he did so (So much for "Just do as you're ordered.").

The guy on tv who lay down on his back with his arms outstretched just to show how harmless he was, and the cop shot him anyway.

Sandra Bland, who was pulled over for the proverbial busted taillight, and then egged on into a confrontation by the cop asking her things like "You don't look happy to see me." And then she hung herself in a jail cell?


It may not be realistic to expect the world to actually be a fair place but you'd be surprised the extent to which conservatives would wish it to be.


I see many conservatives believing that the world is fair as it is, and that any messing with the status quo does more harm than good. That's almost a definition of conservatism.

Darrell E said...

Duncan Cairncross,

You might get a kick out of this, though you may have seen it already.

Tesla Model 3 Disqualified From 1st In Class Finish At Buttonwillow … For Being Electric


David Brin said...

Re the military shifting away from Trump… you will find that it is partly demographic… there are a lot of black or latino servicemembers. It is also probably (I’d guess) a matter of RANK, as the flag officers have been fretting about this madness since way before Trump and it is likely working its way down the “O-levels.” Also, the Navy has to be pragmatic, every second of every day, and hence tends to notice things like 12 new Russian bases on an ice-free arctic.

LH… the significant thing about your cop anecdotes is that they were recorded and seen. Constabularies around the country are trying to find ways to get rid of bad apples. Their slowness is a travesty and tragedy. The fact that it is happening is a goddang miracle.

David Brin said...

Ilithi cool they are still playing complex games by mail. If only I had my duplication machine from KILN PEOPLE. Got the interest, but not the lifespan.

What the “white privilege” discussion misses is the elephant in the room. The casino moguls, Kremlin Mafiosi, petro-princes, Wall Street vampires, dead pimps and inheritance brats who own the GOP know their feudal hopes will vanish if the West regains its modernist confidence. If a dogma-line like “white privilege” fails to rile up the confed culture war reflexes, they will find something else. They make sure to subsidize at least enough Social Justice Warrior looniness on the left to then be inflated by rightist media into a purported campaign of hate against rural/white/downhome-folks America.

The mere fact that we are discussing this… when not one in 20 “liberals” feel or ever express ANY hatred toward rural/white/downhome-folks … is indicative. Ilithi seems to think that a dozen flag-burning or white-hating imbeciles represent Blue America. Yes, we must disown them! But anecdotes are not statistical majorities.

Again, , the FAR left CONTAINS troglodyte-screeching dogmatists who wage war on science and hate the American tradition of steady, pragmatic reform, and who would impose their prescribed morality on you.

But today’s mad ENTIRE right CONSISTS of troglodyte-screeching dogmatists who wage war on science and hate the American tradition of steady, pragmatic reform, and who would impose their prescribed morality on you.

There is all the world’s difference between FAR and ENTIRE. As there is between CONTAINS and CONSISTS.

locumranch said...


Save your breath, Ilithi_D, the likes of Larry_H will never understand what you're saying.

They're akin to the Tiger Moms who abuse their children in the hopes of making them ever more successful & obedient, even though most children will respond to such abuse with resentment & antipathy, a few children will become eager-to-please overachievers, and even fewer will become Norman Bates from 'Psycho'.

Then, like an abusive Larry_H, they'll declare that all those resentful & reactionary children (which they create) were just born "deplorable", take full credit for the creation of a few model children, and then absolve themselves of all responsibility when Little Norman gets all stabby or shoots up a school.

Even David -- who defines his in-group as 'incredible', deliberately marginalises those who are not eager-to-please & inadvertently manufactures his own opposition -- will have trouble accepting this as a logical progression.

It's tragicomedy at it's best (or worst), depending on your perspective, as the Dismissive Progressive continues to create his or her own destroyer.


Best

David Brin said...

The tactic that will win this civil war phase is to rouse sane members of the confed coalition to realize that the elites they are talked into hating include EVERY profession of people who know stuff, and that their own side's elites include every single enemy of freedom and modernity.

We must find ways to corner them into admitting that FACTS MATTER. And that finding good ways to confront lies with facts will represent our best way out of this mess.

The military folks know this. They have crewcuts and have guns... but they know all this.

Larry Hart said...

If I were still reading locumranch's posts, I'd have to sue him for slander, as everything he says or even hints about me is the diametric opposite of true.

So it's a good thing I'm ignoring him.

locumranch said...


We must find ways to corner them into admitting that FACTS MATTER.

No, no, no. This is the wrong approach.

The tactic that will win this civil war phase is to convince the opposition that (1) THEY MATTER, (2) THEIR OPINIONS MATTER, and (3) THEIR DESIRES ARE VALID.

That's the best way to destroy your enemies: Befriend them.

Best

Ilithi Dragon said...

Dr. Brin,

I have no doubt that various interests that would wish to see us divided, would fund both sides of divisive issues to get us to divide ourselves.


Again, though, the point I'm trying to make is, why make it easy and do their jobs for them? How you talk about and present ideas has a huge impact on how people receive them, and how receptive they are to accepting them.

Plus, this is not me saying what I think the majority of Americans are or are not, on one side or the other. I'm talking about what the PERCEPTION is. There's a saying in the military (usually when referring to people looking squared away vice a bag of ass, but it applies to so much more), "perception is reality."

There is a significantly greater percentage of conservatives in the military, particularly on the enlisted side, than there are liberals. I have had conversations with them about this, and other issues, and other conservative friends outside of the military. The way the inequality issues are phrased as "white privilege" comes across as, at the least, an accusatory, if not an outright attack. Even when the issue is explained, selling the issue as "you have an advantage/unfair advantage over others" is a very hard pill to swallow, because most people don't feel they have such an advantage, and a LOT of poor whites feel that they are or have been at a significant DISadvantage. This makes them unreceptive, and even hostile to an issue that should be a no-brainer of what's right and wrong.

Change the phrasing, and you'll get a LOT more people receptive to the issue. Instead of attacking "white privilege" focus on giving everyone "a fair shake" and "equal treatment." Make it about stopping their neighbors from being trod on, lifting them up to equal treatment.


There are a lot of different hot-button issues like this, issues that conservatives don't really oppose, but they oppose what the issues are phrased like SOUND LIKE, and they are trained by propaganda to react negatively to keywords and phrases.

So if you're not getting traction on an issue, don't double-down and try to hammer the same words over and over! That's not going to work, because Conservatives are generally going to be more bull-headed and stubborn than you.

Instead, side-step! Shift directions! Change your language and rephrase the issue in different terms! If they don't like these terms, and you know you're falling into the rut of propaganda trigger words, USE DIFFERENT WORDS!

As Dr. Brin keeps saying, we need to use Judo over Sumo. Don't get stuck on one way of saying things, and get locked into a tussle over one single issue. Heh, as our Navigator likes to often say, "Semper Gumbi!" Always flexible!

Because if you shift your language, you can find a way of phrasing it that's more palatable and relatable to the people you're trying to convince, AND ON TOP OF THAT, it has the added benefit of forcing the propagandists to work harder and develop new trigger words and phrases.

Sure, they're always going to try and counter with that, but don't make it easy for them! Besides, that tactic makes it easy to defeat - you know what the trigger words and phrases are, SO JUST DON'T USE THEM. Avoid those words and phrases, and you bypass the trigger mechanisms of those propaganda traps.

Ilithi Dragon said...

You know, I usually disregard most of what Locum says, but in his latest post... he's not entirely wrong.

It's hard to befriend someone who's been calling you unamerican retard traitors for thirty+ years, BUT there is something to be said for making the effort to convince the other side that you ARE, in fact, listening to them and their concerns, and DO, in fact, care about and value their opinions and feelings.

It's actually one of the best ways to convince people of things, or rather, make them RECEPTIVE to listening to you and being convinced by what you have to say.

Which goes along with the point that I'm trying to make about being intelligent with how you pitch and phrase issues.

David Brin said...

"That's the best way to destroy your enemies: Befriend them."

So says someone who cuts every hand reaching out to him. Whose EVERY posting here is not just hostile, but composed of deceitful incantations and strawman assertions that people beleve things opposite to their actual beliefs.

"It's hard to befriend someone who's been calling you unamerican retard traitors for thirty+ years"

Who has said that? Other than a few dozen anecdotal idiots? What would be far more accurate is that our dear confed neighbors culturally cannot resist sucking up to their class oppressors - as they did when a million poor white males fought and died for the privileges of plantation lords. And those same lords send them out again against every "elite" that knows something.

"something to be said for making the effort to convince the other side that you ARE, in fact, listening to them and their concerns, and DO, in fact, care about and value their opinions and feelings."

I am fine with reforming the modernist messages to address the needs of such folks. But when their reflex is to scream hatred at "socialized medicine" then yell when the GOP pragmatically tries to take away the things about Obamacare that helped them... then what role has persuasion in any of this?

Sorry. But the confederate ground troops are riled up with UTTER hatred for every fact-using profession at "look down on them," and while yes, we must refine messages to reach out the hand...

...that hand needs to wear rings that smart when teeth always, always close on it.

Fact, I have made more headway with wagers, cornering confeds with how unmanly it is to writhe away from fact-centered bets, that I ever got by appealing to their higher values.

donzelion said...

locum: "The tactic that will win this civil war phase is to convince the opposition that (1) THEY MATTER, (2) THEIR OPINIONS MATTER, and (3) THEIR DESIRES ARE VALID."

Odd. The right wing is already convinced of all three of these items, as is the left. The problem is that someone has discovered how to profit by proclaiming 'the other hates you and wants to destroy you, elect me and I will protect you from THEM!'

Compare Fox with CNN/MSNBC (and every other 'mainstream' media outlet): one proclaims "we're honest and they're liars who hate you" - the rest proclaim "we try our best, and fix our errors!" From that tiny posture, so much else follows...

The best way to destroy enemies is to befriend them, but sometimes, a powerful system profits by blocking friendships from forming. One can deal with that by buying it and coopting it, by destroying it, or bypassing it.

I favor the last strategy. In CA, armies of volunteers came out to knock on doors, cutting through the universe of attack ads, simply knocking on the doors of strangers and trying to have conversations. Something like 30k more volunteers did so in 2018 in CA alone than tried this in 2016. I probably had about 1000+ political conversations with strangers (exact numbers aren't available; since I knocked on about 5,000 doors, 20% is about right.

Only one was so vehemently hostile that he slammed his door in my face with a curse. The rest? Some agree, some disagree, most just want to be left alone - but we're all neighbors, driving the same roads, breathing the same air, drinking the same water. Simply conversing with strangers (myself, and the other 30k of us) changed the political map of California - without a single bullet fired on either side in this civil war. It may do even more in 2020.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin quoting Ilithi Dragon quoting locumranch:

"That's the best way to destroy your enemies: Befriend them."

So says someone who cuts every hand reaching out to him. Whose EVERY posting here is not just hostile, but composed of deceitful incantations and strawman assertions that people beleve things opposite to their actual beliefs.


That's exactly what my response would be if I was still reading his posts. I don't know what's funnier--loc giving us advice on how best to "destroy" his compatriots or the fact that he never follows his own advice.


"It's hard to befriend someone who's been calling you unamerican retard traitors for thirty+ years"

Who has said that?


I think you confused yourself. That wasn't loc "speaking"; it was Ilithi saying that the rural Red-State Republicans have been calling us libtard traitors for decades.


"something to be said for making the effort to convince the other side that you ARE, in fact, listening to them and their concerns, and DO, in fact, care about and value their opinions and feelings."


That was Ilithi, and in fact, despite loc's slanderous lying characterization of me, I do in fact listen to conservative opinions and feelings. The problem is that while their concerns are legitimate, their reaction is usually counterproductive to what they care about (or say they care about). They're angry that corporate interests are valued above human ones, so they vote Republican. They're good salt-of-the-earth union workers tired of losing jobs to China or Mexico, so they vote Republican. I realize it's counterproductive to ask why they are acting so idiotic, but there's got to be a non-offensive way to explain, "If you want what you say you want, then you might consider joining the Democrats."

donzelion said...

Illithi: "The way the inequality issues are phrased as "white privilege" comes across as, at the least, an accusatory, if not an outright attack."

Of course it's an attack, and was designed and publicized largely to achieve that goal. Pundits jockey to phrase their rival's arguments in ways that hurt their rivals, just as militaries strive to choose the perfect ground in a struggle. 'White privilege' is a term conservatives adopted to divert otherwise reasonable discussions (equal protection, discriminatory police stops, etc.).

"a LOT of poor whites feel that they are or have been at a significant DISadvantage."
Very rich whites figured out long ago that one trick to get and keep what they have is to tell poor whites that someone else threatens them - unless they give all they have to defend their white guardians, they'll lose to those others. Our host doesn't dwell upon tribalism, but it is the only nasty form of governance that predates feudalism (and indeed, coexisted with feudalism throughout all 6 millennia - just as feudalism coexists with capitalism today).

"Instead, side-step!"
Indeed! A feudal king would do precisely that: if two tribes of barons controlled different lands, he could split the difference between them or bring in a new tribe, or take any number of actions to quell the threat they posed to his monarchy. Similarly, side-stepping today means bypassing the mediated forms of communication, and going for the old-fashioned 'face-to-face' contact: a person hears words from a television differently than from a neighbor or a colleague.

Or put differently, the simple fact that you speak your mind (sometimes) with your friends with whom you serve is far more important than what you say, or how you say it. A silver-tongued civilian with the perfect rhetoric will not affect those nearest to you as much as you will, whether your words be perfect or no.

"we need to use Judo over Sumo."
There's a time for judo, sumo, UFC, boxing, karate, grappling, and every other art. The key isn't to fixate upon one tactic, but to embrace suppleness. Part of that means respecting how hard it is to shift an argument to preferred terminology, and why. The other side here knows its people quite well. But they don't know everything about them.

By the way, in the race I've been killing myself over the last 8 months (has it really been so long?), is now 50/50 (other side leads by 122 votes - we'll pass them tomorrow or Friday). I'm a little giddy.

Larry Hart said...

donzelion:

By the way, in the race I've been killing myself over the last 8 months (has it really been so long?), is now 50/50 (other side leads by 122 votes - we'll pass them tomorrow or Friday). I'm a little giddy.


Did you ever see the episode of The West Wing where Josh Malina's character successfully works to elect a Democrat to a district in Orange County? You sound a lot like he did.

locumranch said...


As usual, David obfuscates by confusing value-neutral facts with value-laden conclusions about what those facts 'should', 'ought to' or are 'supposed to' mean to the enlightened (as in 'good') or deplorable (as in 'bad') individual.

Facts just ARE, being value-neutral.

Isolated facts are essentially meaningless until we superimpose meaning upon them through the application of evaluation, correlation & comparison.

I gather data (facts) after a patient comes to me with a list of medical complaints and, through the application of evaluation, correlation & comparison, I try to offer them a fact-based diagnostic OPINION that is value-neutral.

David looks at climate data (fact), correlates it within an idiosyncratic moral & theoretical framework, perceives it as 'bad', and OPINES that it requires drastic collective action on all our parts.

Being intelligent & extremely compassionate, Larry_H mostly emotes.

Their conclusions are their opinions. Their opinions are NOT facts -- not ever -- and not even an overwhelming CONSENSUS of opinion can transmute these opinions into facts.

Donzelion observes that both the right-wing & left-leaning ideologies appear utterly convinced of the correctness of their own divergent opinions, believing the other side to be absolutely wrong or even insane, even when they may agree on the relevant facts (which is why I say most facts don't really matter).

Civil War Part II appears to be a likely outcome -- that's my humble opinion -- but I believe that it can be avoided quite easily if both sides just accept each other's position as a potentially valid OPINION, and allow balkanisation to choose the winner via the test of time.

Consider it a WAGER.


Best
____

In the sense that unearned privilege is a form of cheating, the racist term 'white privilege' in an accusation that all whites are cheating liars. Would it be PC to level the same charge against any other minority?

David Brin said...

I am back to rolling past without reading the howls. Again, give us your prescription and a method to arbitrate facts. Till then, the hate-ravings are predictable, mewling whines and ... zzzzzzzzz

onward
onward