AliG

Moronic headline in the Daily Mail

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Ah, the Daily Mail.

 

My son has a paper round and without fail the DM goes to pensioners, Telegraph to the posher ones. One lonely Guardian and a few Times.

 

Must take a lot of effort to be that perpetually outraged at everything. They seem a bit bored now that Brexit is done.

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It is a long running joke that the DM uses Celsius for cold temperatures and Fahrenheit for hot temperatures but today they are just trolling us by mixing them in the same headline.

 

Maybe I should do a stupid DM headline thread.

 

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That remeids me when I had the pleasure of 2 weeks in Chicago one January.  It was damned cold and lots of snow.   When one of the locals said to me "you wait till it gets below zero" it took me a while to realise he was talking of sub zero Fahrenheit.

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On 05/04/2021 at 14:25, SteamyTea said:

@SimonD So we end up not doing it.

 

Sadly, until we hit that proverbial wall.

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On 05/04/2021 at 17:36, Bitpipe said:

...

Must take a lot of effort to be that perpetually outraged at everything...

 

It keeps them warm: all that hot air. Offence  taken, re-manufactured, deepened, refined, spread further -  followed by ;  Charelottesvill , Charlie Hebdo , documented infamy. 

 

Bring back National Service - yeah for bloody Daily Mail reading pensioners.

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47 minutes ago, SimonD said:

 

Sadly, until we hit that proverbial wall.

If it was a wall it would be obvious.

Trouble is it is s slow change, that gets confused with weather.

Climate and weather are different things, why we have different words for them.

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9 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

Climate and weather are different things, why we have different words for them.

Is it like calling someone a twat and someone else a tosser ? 

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55 minutes ago, pocster said:

Is it like calling someone a twat and someone else a tosser

More like calling one a pig, and the other a snake.  Different species.

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When the Daily Mail asks a question in a headline e.g. "Is this the new blah.." the answer is always no.

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On 08/04/2021 at 12:32, SteamyTea said:

If it was a wall it would be obvious.

Trouble is it is s slow change

 

 

I think it depends on how you look at it. Failure to respond to change early enough is a typical human trait which leads us to wait until it's too late -the proverbial wall. Then we try everything we can to return to the status quo without appropriate change, and along comes another wall, perhaps in a slightly different guise.

 

For me the problem is mostly structural - how we behave and the various systems, such as political and economic, we've contrived to control and support that behaviour. Despite the obvious fallacies embedded in many of these current systems and their unsustainability, we persist with them. This I think is evident in that we're desperately  looking for technical solutions to the environment to simply carry on as we are. I find it pretty bizarre that we find it okay to seek and support experimental ways to play with our global ecosystem, in preference to actively redeveloping our relationship with the environment.

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1 hour ago, SimonD said:

This I think is evident in that we're desperately  looking for technical solutions to the environment to simply carry on as we are. I find it pretty bizarre that we find it okay to seek and support experimental ways to play with our global ecosystem, in preference to actively redeveloping our relationship with the environment.

This really comes down to if you think the ecosystems, other than the 'us' are more important that the current generation.

I am not willing to support, what would amount to genocide of the current generations, to save current, non anthropogenic, ecosystems.

Though there is a lot more we can do to make life better all round, those are the tings that need doing first.

So renewable energy is top of my list, then transport, then more productive farming and food distribution, then medical improvements, and way down the list is manufacturing.

Those are against a backdrop of education, which is the starting point of any change.

Trouble is, we seem to have things backwards.

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On 05/04/2021 at 14:42, ProDave said:

Didn't they say that about nuclear power, it would be so cheap there was no point in metering it?

Yes, they also said the same about North Sea gas!    Roll on fusion I say!  🙂

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22 hours ago, SteamyTea said:

This really comes down to if you think the ecosystems, other than the 'us' are more important that the current generation.

 

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by the current generation but assume you mean current generation of human beings. I see 'us,' as in human beings as being part of the global ecosystem so we rely on the ecosystem to sustain ourselves. If we destroy too much of our ecosystem, it will undermine both current and future generations.

 

22 hours ago, SteamyTea said:

I am not willing to support, what would amount to genocide of the current generations, to save current, non anthropogenic, ecosystems.

 

This takes me back to my previous comment about not having either short or long-term solutions. We don't understand our ecosystem enough to make an informed decision about what elements of it are essential, important, or which we can afford to lose. History has mostly shown us that we tend to be overly optimistic about the potential of any interventions (although sometimes totally thoughtless) and then we're caught out by the unintended conequences. We simply have no idea the consequences of not saving current natural ecosystems, and I can't see how  saving them might amount to a risk of genocide. I think it would actually have a positive impact providing the necessary structural changes are part and parcel of that. It seems that pretty much all the major environmental problems we're experiencing are caused and/or perpetuated by anthropogenic systems so that's where the interventions need to be focussed.

 

22 hours ago, SteamyTea said:

So renewable energy is top of my list, then transport, then more productive farming and food distribution, then medical improvements, and way down the list is manufacturing.

Those are against a backdrop of education, which is the starting point of any change.

 

I certainly agree on the education part of this. But my first point would be to prioritise reducing energy consumption, ensuring all production is done on a circular basis - i.e. can be fixed, and can be recycled or repurposed cleanly - and minimising impact on the environment through our activities. I'd imagine it would only be sensible that renewable energy forms a part of that, but there is so much we can do that would not necessarily require renewable energy, or technology for that matter, but would significantly reduce the demand for it.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SimonD said:

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by the current generation but assume you mean current generation of human beings. I see 'us,' as in human beings as being part of the global ecosystem so we rely on the ecosystem to sustain ourselves. If we destroy too much of our ecosystem, it will undermine both current and future generations.

While humans, that are currently alive, are part of the Earth's ecosystem, we have to treat ourselves differently.

We are probably the only animal that is aware of our mortality, and what can cause and can be done to change it.

One of the questions that needs to be answered is how responsible we need to be to future generations of all species , that may, or many not exist, while at the same time blaming, or not blaming, past generations of humans that got us to where were are.

The trouble with this sort of philosophical question is that it easily gets into a loop, and all examples are generally extremes, the reality or idealist argument.  These get us nowhere.

I can well understand people wanting to build a better world for current generations, and being the optimist I am, I think we are on the correct track, I am not so sure if we need to do more for unborn generations.  There may be, in the future, a global paradigm shift in attitudes to population levels, or some extra-terrestrial global threat without sufficient warning.  It would be a shame to dismantle much of the good in our current economy just when it was needed, and could make a very low cost improvement.  Think medical innovations and relocating climate refugees to better designed homes.

1 hour ago, SimonD said:

We don't understand our ecosystem enough to make an informed decision about what elements of it are essential, important, or which we can afford to lose.

This is not my area of environmental science, I just had to spend a long year with people that were concerned about it.  One thing that did struck me early on, was that they tend to be idealists and alarmists, while often missing the big picture.  One was involved in returning a lake into a 'better shape'.  it was hard to pinpoint exactly what that meant, but seemed to be returning it to its pre-1930s state.  I suggest that a few barrels of arsenic and some lead would help that along, but he wanted Daphnia pulex and brown trout, the thugs of the river systems.

Humans have the ability to adapt very fast to a changing environment, just look at how quickly some places recover after a natural disaster (Japan) and how fast we can also recover after a man-made disaster (Europe after WW2).  I don't how much we should be concerned for, what is in reality, small scale ecological degradation.  I can remember kayaking in the Thames in the mid 1970's when dead fish were floating on the surface.  We cleaned that up pretty quickly, while at the same time as cleaning up our combustion technologies that were causing acid rain in the Scanwegian countries (this is contentious even today as some of the lakes may have been locally polluted).

So I think we do have enough knowledge to know what we can, and can't get away with.  Acting on it is a different matter.

1 hour ago, SimonD said:

But my first point would be to prioritise reducing energy consumption, ensuring all production is done on a circular basis

I am not sure if this is desirable.  We tend to be using legacy technologies, think heating systems and transport.  We would be better off dumping them (well recycling some of the cheaper to reclaim elements) than repairing them.  It is the same with many consumer parts.  If we redesigned them to be made repairable, we would probably end up with inferior products, that are more costly to make, with the need for a stock of spare parts distributed and stored around the world, using more energy.  My Kindle probably has a lower mass than the motherboard in my old DX4-100, the fuel injection on my car is certainly better, and more reliable, than the carburettor on my old MGB (the last carburettor car I had).  I binned my old toaster when it failed, just use the grill in the oven, so I in effect, had two toasters.

Mass production, in the cheapest places that can make things, is the way to go (division of labour and competitive advantage).  We have international standards for employment and environmental issues as part of global trading (not always adhered to, and less likely to be adhered to post BREXIT), but that is down to us to enforce them by not buying the goods, we can easily check where things are made, and how they are made, these days (though probably not on a DX4-100 PC that burned 300W on idle).

 

Energy is an interesting one from an economics point of view.  Should all energy be treated equally?

If it should be treated equally, would that be on a global currency, say the US Dollar, or on a purchase price parity basis?

I have always liked the idea of using energy as a global currency, with the MJ as the base unit.  There would be lots of problems with this as some energy is better than others, this would mean we need an entropy adjuster, but that is not insurmountable and could be easily automated.

Where the real problems come in is to do with food energy.  Should this be priced (PPP or no) at the same as thermal energy, or electrical energy (or even elastic energy)?

How would we deal with zero energy food product?  Water is vital, but has no calorific value, would it be free, just the processing, transport and storage cost, or a quid a bottle 'because it comes from volcanic rock'.

I think the trouble is if we move too fast down the renewables route, we would need to rely on governments subsiding technology, governments have never been good at picking 'winners'.  Our government sold off the worlds most profitable telecommunications network though a public share option, then crippled it with restrictive practices.

Governments really should be left to sort out the market failures and raise taxes to pay for them.  Park benches are not that expensive.

Edited by SteamyTea

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On 11/04/2021 at 14:45, SteamyTea said:

we have to treat ourselves differently.

We are probably the only animal that is aware of our mortality, and what can cause and can be done to change it.

 

Whilst this may be the case the problem is that we tend to be far too optimistic about our ability to control and know how to change complex systems to achieve the outcomes we plan/desire or try to predict. Often this leads to errant decisions that sound plausible, merely giving the illusion of progress. Generally we also tend to be very bad at making decisions for the long-term. Yeah, we can't predict the future, but with some forethought we can make decisions and do things that set us up better for the future.

 

On 11/04/2021 at 14:45, SteamyTea said:

One thing that did struck me early on, was that they tend to be idealists and alarmists, while often missing the big picture.  One was involved in returning a lake into a 'better shape'.  it was hard to pinpoint exactly what that meant, but seemed to be returning it to its pre-1930s state.

 

That kind of thing concerns me too. It is too localised and rather arbitrary.

 

On 11/04/2021 at 14:45, SteamyTea said:

Humans have the ability to adapt very fast to a changing environment, just look at how quickly some places recover after a natural disaster (Japan) and how fast we can also recover after a man-made disaster (Europe after WW2). 

 

Whilst we certainly did adapt, I'd question that it can be categorized as a recovery. There was economic regeneration, yes, but both financial and political systems we built as a consequence of WW2 were primary reactions to ensure it never happened again. As time has rolled on those systems are still racked with the same anxiety. I believe there is still a lot of trauma driving these social and economic systems.

 

On 11/04/2021 at 14:45, SteamyTea said:

we can easily check where things are made, and how they are made, these days

 

Modern supply chains seriously lack transparency, making it almost impossible for consumers to make fully informed decisions about what they're buying. In the construction industry it's just as bad. Some of the supply chains are so complex, the final manufacturer of a product doesn't even have full knowledge of some components, or the ethical/moral standing of all suppliers. Global supply chains and mass production from the cheapest source tend to bring big unintended ethical, moral, economic, social and environmental problems, many of which we've been experiencing in the west already.

 

On 11/04/2021 at 14:45, SteamyTea said:

governments have never been good at picking 'winners'.  Our government sold off the worlds most profitable telecommunications network though a public share option, then crippled it with restrictive practices.

Governments really should be left to sort out the market failures and raise taxes to pay for them.

 

Nah,  when the government sold off its valuable public network, it did this driven by the stupid neo-liberal ideology espousing the idea governments can't pick winners, not because it couldn't pick or create winners. 😉 This idea about governments not being able to pick winners and should stick to regulating failures is a myth which I think has been fairly well debunked in economics circles, even if it does still perpetuate in the popular press . In fact the 'free market' side of it has actually been found to reduce innovation and is no better at picking winners - it's just they keep quiet about all the losses and takes credit for winners off the back of government support. Also, investors tend to steer clear of the higher risk early stage innovations, especially those that require vast amounts of capital, like a lot of renewable tech. thus slowing down the development of new technology and business (Mariana Muzzucato wrote a good book on this).

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