Tue Aug 7th, 2018 at 06:56:25 PM EST
I first learned of Victor Klemperer's The Language of the Third Reich in a column Mike Godwin of Godwin's Law ("As an online discussion continues, the probability of a comparison to Hitler or to Nazis approaches one") wrote in June 2018 in the LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-godwin-godwins-law-20180624-story.html).
Godwin quoted Klemperer on how, at the beginning of the Nazi regime, he "was still so used to living in a state governed by the rule of law" that he couldn't imagine the horrors yet to come. "Regardless of how much worse it was going to get," he added, "everything which was later to emerge in terms of National Socialist attitudes, actions and language was already apparent in embryonic form in these first months." Klemperer was, by training, a philologist, the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is a combination of literary criticism, history, and linguistics, and kept a diary throughout the Third Reich which I've always meant to read.
This is a good introduction to Klemperer and seems to be very apt in these days when the public discourse is full of misinformation, propaganda, and outright downright lies. Klemperer classified the language of the Third Reich as LTI [Lingua Tertii Imperii]. Very interesting book which I'm still digesting. Thanks Mike Godwin.
Wed Jul 18th, 2018 at 01:48:58 AM EST
According to The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It... Every Time by Maria Konnikova (NY: Viking, 2016 ISBN 978-0-525-42741-4), there's a structure to the con:
The put-up picks out the mark
The play establish a bond
The rope lays out the pitch
The tale proffers the benefit
The convincer is where the conman lets us win
The breakdown is where we start to lose
The send is where the victim is recommitted
The touch is where the mark is completely fleeced.
The blow-off gets rid of the mark ASAP
The fix prevents marks from making official complaints
At this point, I think we're up to the touch in Trmp's confidence game and it seems to me he's going for a full bust-out:
"The bust-out is what happens when the mob moves in to take control of a business that's heavily indebted to a loan shark. As [William] Black [University of Missouri-Kansas City associate professor of economics and law] tells it, why the heck a mobster would ever want to take over a bar or liquor store in this way is incomprehensible to a classical economist. Why take over the business when you're already getting every cent of profit and more in your weekly vig?
"Except that in the real world, things don't work that way, explains Black, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The reason to take over the business is to loot it 1,000 ways to Sunday, from buying vast amounts of liquor on credit to, ultimately, torching the place for the insurance money. Prosecutors and mobsters know this. Economists who think the mob operates like a bank that happens to charge high interest rates miss it."
Fri Jun 8th, 2018 at 02:52:48 AM EST
How can coastal communities mitigate and adapt to climate change while developing and prospering?
Challenge deadline July 1, 2018
Over 30% of humanity lives near coasts, ranging from massive cities to key ports and naval bases to small islands. The effects of climate change - including sea level rise, stronger storms, ocean warming and acidification - are causing increasing negative impacts on these communities' lives and livelihoods. For the 600 million people supported by the fishing industry, a majority of them women, overfishing, pollution, and acidification threaten their livelihoods and the fragile ecosystems on which they depend. In cities and elsewhere, some communities already face regular flooding due to higher tides, some will see more frequent natural disasters, and others will see tourist-attracting coral reefs or surfing fade.
Further, as 60% of global GDP and 90% of global trade moves through coasts, increased flooding or damage to port infrastructure poses risks for communities and businesses alike, whether or not they are near the ocean. In addition, coastal and ocean ecosystems absorb 25% of our excess CO2, but are often degraded through coastal development, making climate change harder to mitigate.
While facing numerous impacts, coastal communities from Puerto Rico to Dhaka also have the potential to demonstrate resilient and sustainable ways of living near and with the ocean. Doing so will require people to have access to new technological solutions--along with new ways to envision and enact hard decisions about economies, society, and infrastructure. The Solve community aims to find innovative solutions to support and enhance coastal communities, while mitigating and adapting to climate change. To do so, Solve welcomes solutions from innovators around the world that:
Increase the viability and scale of sustainable economic activity from oceans, ranging from fishing to energy production to tourism
Provide cost-effective infrastructure approaches to improve resilience in the face of increased storm-, sea-, and tidewater
Rebuild or replicate mangroves, corals, and other ecosystems to restore historic functions, including storm surge absorption, carbon uptake, and stable fisheries
Enable coastal communities, governments, and corporations to use data to understand and make complex decisions around sustainable and resilient development
Sun May 20th, 2018 at 02:09:18 AM EST
With the news of Saudi and UAE meetings with the Trmp campaign, Jeet Heer, staff writer at the New Republic, points out that the "so called Russia story is a global plutocracy story" and I believe he is correct. In fact, the global plutocracy story is the key to many stories:
The global plutocracy story is also the story of fossil foolish companies burning everything they can now & soaking the public for "stranded assets" when climate change becomes undeniable.
The global plutocracy story is also the real estate story with kakistocratic kleptocrats buying multiple high-end properties in London, NYC, and other cities around the world as part of a money laundering operation and hollowing out once living neighborhoods on the side.
The global plutocracy story is also the story of media and audience commercialization with growing 24/7/365 surveillance capability now technologically available to governments, corporations, groups, & individuals.
The global plutocracy story is also .... ad almost infinitum.
Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 01:37:42 AM EST
Jeremy Corbyn really understands what the future of the grid needs to be in an age of anthropogenic climate change.
A green energy system will look radically different to the one we have today. The past is a centralised system with a few large plants. The future is decentralised, flexible and diverse with new sources of energy large and small, from tidal to solar.
Smart technologies will optimise usage so that instead of keeping gas plants running just in case there is a lull in renewable generation the system fulfils needs by identifying the greenest, most local energy source.
There will be much more use of local, micro grids and of batteries to store and balance fluctuating renewable energy.
We will still need a grid to match energy supply with demand and import and export renewable energy abroad because the wind won't always blow where energy is needed.
But it will be a smart grid, radically transformed.
What he is suggesting is not only practical now but also more reliable and more affordable than our present grid, according to the studies I've seen.
Tue Jan 23rd, 2018 at 06:13:17 PM EST
Clovis, CA net zero energy development
The Zero House - Zero net energy, Zero carbon footprint, Zero toxins, Zero construction waste
https:www.treehugger.com/slideshows/green-architecture/zero-house-big-nothing - slide show
Transforming the Real Estate Market: Scaling Net-Zero Energy Homes at No Additional Up-front Cost
REACT home produces its own energy and food
Net zero residence built out of recycled materials
Innenco says they can reduce existing buildings' energy use by 58-90% using the buildings' own thermal mass, heat pumps, and chillers
Oxford, UK plans zero emissions zone for vehicles
Passivhaus for 6,500 people
from the Eco Architect blog about all things Passivhaus http://theecoarchitect.com/#blog-home
Reversible tent design for homeless
Net zero building over-view 2018
More Than Housing in Zurich, Switzerland, with 13 buildings, nearly 400 housing units, 35 retail units and large shared community spaces built to 2000 Watt per person standard where 1,200 residents and 150 employees live and work
Maersk Tower in Copenhagen with "Denmark's most energy-efficient laboratories"
Editorial Comment: Living in Cambridge, MA, the energy-efficiency of laboratories is of increasing importance as we work towards becoming a zero emissions city
Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 04:16:46 AM EST
I like to see the maps of the Arctic Jet Stream every day or so (http://squall.sfsu.edu/gif/jetstream_norhem_00.gif).
They look like dragons and other creatures
chasing each other around the North Pole.
Then I look at the Global Map of Wind, Weather, and Ocean conditions (https:/earth.nullschool.net)
which animates the winds and ocean currents in what seems like real-time
in full color
coded according to the speed.
I look for where the rare red winds are.
Usually, last, I pull up the World Cloud Cover map (http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/data/comp/wv/LATEST_WV.gif)
to see how it relates to the other two images
and make sure the equatorial rainforests are
still making rain.
Sometimes, late at night
I look at the Northern Lights
from the Churchill, Manitoba Northern Studies Centre live camera (https:/youtu.be/kDWh0ijwCp0).
Even when the Northern Lights aren't shining,
I'll often just
listen to the sounds
of that distant wind.
It reminds me where I live.
Tue Nov 21st, 2017 at 06:29:54 PM EST
I've been reading a little about Poland while thinking about the results of the climate discussions from Bonn and the talks next year in Katowice.
One of my thoughts is that it might be good for the climate change community to devote some time over the next year to visualizing a zero carbon transition for Poland's coal economy that the Polish people and perhaps even the Polish government can recognize as a significant step forward without sacrificing their jobs or security. This would go a long way towards heading off any difficulties from climate deniers and those of the authoritarian nationalist persuasion who'd like to make trouble.
I've contacted Mark Z Jacobson of Stanford University who has produced 100% renewable roadmaps for over 100 countries and all 50 states of the USA. He would be a primary resource for such an enterprise and now I've done my best to make sure he considers the possibility.
Mon Nov 6th, 2017 at 05:00:48 AM EST
The MIT Energy Hackathon began on Friday night, November 3 and ended Sunday morning, November 5. 9 energy challenges were presented to about 300 people for 2 minutes each. After a take-out dinner, each presenter had the chance to talk with individual and small groups of students for an hour and a half and to check back in over the weekend. I presented my challenge, Rebuilding Energy Infrastructure in the Caribbean After the Hurricanes (https:/www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/10/29/1710825-MIT-Energy-Hackathon-Challenge-Rebuilding-Energ
y-Infrastructure-in-the-Caribbean-After-the-Hurrica), the only one submitted by an individual not a corporation, as best I could. There were over 40 teams at the Hackathon working on problems with Shell and GM's and other' climate goals, beer and other food and beverage waste treatment, drilling fluids, building energy use, and other topics.
Three teams took the hurricane reconstruction challenge up. Each of them concentrated on Puerto Rico although I had specifically reminded them of the situation on Barbuda which was a much smaller scale, about 2000 people rather than more than 3 million. One team redesigned Puerto Rico's electrical system as modular micro-grids with energy storage to provide 40% of the island's power from renewables within a reasonable time period. Hawaii, with a population of about 1.5 million, is planning on 70% of its energy from renewables by 2030. This team intends to keep working on their proposal for another upcoming hackathon.
The second team proposed an app to identify what areas had electricity and what areas didn't and then link people with energy suppliers and systems, an app which is applicable not only to Puerto Rico but any disaster or emergency aftermath. The third team would use SolarCoin (https://solarcoin.org/en/node/6), an existing online currency, and blockchain using Mycroft, "an open source Alexa" or Siri, to bootstrap and crowd fund a solar transition for individual and groups as well as community solar installations. The first team was also thinking of electrical current as currency with blockchain, an authentication or accounting system, something that can lead to what I call a solar swadeshi (http://solarray.blogspot.com/2005/05/solar-swadeshi-hand-made-electricity.html) and, possibly, Gandhian economics (http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2014/04/inclusive-economics-gandhian-method-and.html).
There were nine finalists. Two of the finalists were teams that took up the challenge of Puerto Rico: the app team and the SolarCoin team. Neither won any of the three top prizes but the SolarCoin team won the best in its challenge.
This particular challenge, building and rebuilding our energy and communications infrastructure in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and here in the USA, is an ongoing challenge, a problem that won't go away without a lot of work.
Tue Oct 31st, 2017 at 06:19:05 PM EST
The content committee for the MIT Energy Hackathon, November 3-5, has accepted my challenge on "Rebuilding Energy Infrastructure in the Caribbean After the Hurricanes." With luck, an extremely
knowledgeable and expert team of MIT and other students will study this question and propose solutions.
My cunning plan is to see whether Hackathon weekend can snowball into a global brainstorm on the topic, sorta kinda like a World Game or World Peace Game for all those who want to participate, "for the benefit of all who will allow the benefit of all," as my friend Milt Raymond used to say. I think renewables are mature enough and affordable enough now to be a feasible alternative to the fossil fuel economy if you start from scratch. And there are islands like Barbuda and areas of Puerto Rico which are doing just that. This is an opportunity to design an accelerated renewable transition, something that was already buiding before disaster struck.
Here is the challenge proposal I submitted:
Sun Sep 24th, 2017 at 03:18:56 AM EST
Solar lights and cell phone chargers are now $1or less production costs and selling around the world for $5 or less retail. Add bicycle generators and you have independent indigenous emergency power now, day or night. AA battery to car battery and better microgrids.
It is conceivable that we could crowd fund a basic emergency electrical system (lights, cell phones or radio, computers) for Puerto Rico (as well as the other islands destroyed by the recent hurricanes) within less time than the established grid can come back on line.
There are examples of islands which are planning and working toward 100% renewable power:
El Hierro, 7,000 people, one of the Spanish Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, uses wind and pumped hydro energy storage to supply 50% of its power
Kodiak Island, 15,000 people, in Alaska has been running its grid with wind and hydro power since 2012
Samsø, 4,000 people, in Denmark has spent over the last decade moving towards zero carbon with wind, solar, and biomass
Bornholm, 14,000 people, also in Denmark, is working towards a CO2-neutral society based on renewable and sustainable energy by 2025 and was the site of the EU's Grid 2.0 project
and Hawaii, 1,400,000 people, has the goal of using renewables like wind, sun, ocean, geothermal, and bioenergy to supply 70 percent or more of Hawaii's energy needs by 2030en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_Hawaii#Hawaii_Clean_Energy_Initiative
How about an ad hoc global online design charette and hackathon to rebuild Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin / St. Maarten, the US Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos, Dominica... ?
That might be a good thought experiment. Perhaps we could run it through the Small Island and Developing States UN organization /en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Island_Developing_States
Tue Sep 19th, 2017 at 04:35:45 PM EST
Always useful to start with A Guide to Crap Detection Resources
Then to look at what just happened. The Shorenstein Center at Harvard's Kennedy School tracked the 2016 election and published what they found.
Media Coverage of the 2016 Election
Combatting Fake News: An Agenda for Research and Action
Exploring the Role of Algorithms in Online Harmful Speech
Another academic report from Harvard comes from the Berkman Klein Center at the Law School
Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
The Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan, transatlantic initiative housed at The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), is studying how foreign state and other actors are undermining democracy around the world and developing tools to cope.
Tue Jun 13th, 2017 at 07:32:16 PM EST
InFarm for supermarkets who want to grow their own food
Editorial Comment: This may be my favorite of the shipping container farms now as they seem to be thinking most seriously about reducing energy and water requirements
Forest cities to fight air pollution in China
Greenhouse for the Moon and Mars
World's largest vertical garden in Bogata, Colombia
Hong Kong'a rooftop farms
Plenty - an indoor vertical growing system aiming for high efficiency in both input and output
Seoul's Skygarden - urban overpass to greenspace transformation
Editorial Comment: Seoul has also resurrected a formerly buried river: https:/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheonggyecheon
Texas supermarket chain to grow its own produce in shipping "Growtainers"
Chinese plant factories to grow clean food in dirty cities
hat tip Fred Hapgood
Taipei "Forest Bus," with turf-lined seats,hanging orchids and ferns that continued to run as a mode of transport from florist Alfie Lin and designer Xiao Qing-Yang
See through garden house in Ho Chi Minh City
Editorial Comment: Vietnamese architects and designers are doing some very good work on urban agriculture.
Google's million square foot "Landscraper" for London - rooftop gardens over multiple storeys with "plateau," "gardens," and "fields" planted with strawberries, gooseberries and sage
200 square meters, 3500 kg per year production in Gaza hydroponic urban farm
Terrill: solar weeding robot, Roomba for your garden
hat tip Michel Selva
Editorial Comment: I, for one, welcome our new robot gardening overlords
Also archived at http://cityag.blogspot.com/2017/06/city-agriculture-june.html where you can find all my City Agriculture links list posts.
Mon May 29th, 2017 at 09:48:31 PM EST
In my political fantasy life (no resemblance to persons living or dead), I like to play with the idea of deep conspiracies wondering, "What if?" from different directions, a variation of umpteeump dimensional chess. I don't believe any of it but just like to consider the possibilities.
What if Ivana Zelníčková Trmp was the original Russian/Soviet/espionage honeypot?
What if the Trmp's are actually "The Americans," deep cover sleeper agents like the ones in that show?
What if Ivanka and her siblings are the second generation of the operation? (Hello, Jared.)
That's one thread.
What if Fred Kch, father of the Kch Bros, who made his first millions with Stalin back in the 1930s, cooked up a long-term Fifth Column operation from the Right at some desk in the Kremlin back in those bad old days? What if the Jhn Brch Socity was funded to destabilize American democracy (such as it is) as much as the Communist Party USA, a Rightwing/Leftwing combination?
Fact of the matter is, with the 2016 Rpblcn Party, the "Eisenhower is a Commie" and "Impeach Earl Warren" Jhn Brch Socity of the 1950s won. It is the Rpblcn Party today, with a healthy helping of Christianist Dominionism added, all those preaching theocrats who are happy to ignore President Trmp's public behavior. This religious strain (take that any way you want) hearkens back and forward to Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here and Robert Heinlein's Revolt in 2100 as well as Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale.
And that's a whole nother group of conspiracies to play. Lotsa conspiracies and dystopias to go around.
Wed Mar 15th, 2017 at 01:43:56 AM EST
To Earth [also known as Gaia], Mother of All
I shall sing of well-formed Earth, mother of all
and oldest of all, who nourishes all things living on land.
Her beauty nurtures all creatures that walk upon the land,
and all that move in the deep or fly in the air.
O mighty one, you are the source of fair children and goodly fruit,
and on you it depends to give life to, or take it away from,
mortal men. Blessed is the man you favor
with willing heart, for he will have everything in abundance.
His life-giving land teems with crops, and on his fields
his flocks thrive while his house is filled with goods.
Such men with just laws rule a city
of beautiful women, while much prosperity and wealth attend them.
Their sons glory in youthful glee
and their daughters with cheerful hearts in flower-dances.
from The Homeric Hymns
Apostolos N Athanassakis, translator
Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press, 1976
Sat Dec 24th, 2016 at 06:16:15 PM EST
Notes from China's National Cap-and-Trade Program: The Promise and the Reality Wednesday, November 9
3:30PM TO 4:45PM
Harvard, 100F Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge
Wang Pu, Fellow at the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, HKS.
Co-sponsored by the China Project, SEAS, and the Environment and Natural Resources Program, HKS.
China Project Seminar Series
Contact Name: Tiffany Chan firstname.lastname@example.org
China started 7 different pilot programs with local administration of carbon trading in 2013, covering electricity and heavy industry but also including buildings in the Shenzhen pilot program. The average carbon price was $4-5 per ton. Problems included lack of consistency and transparency, weak legal enforcement, and lack of accurate emission data, but there was very high compliance, up to 98% participation by the entities covered.
The national program has no specified emission reduction goals, projections, or trajectory for carbon reduction. It is a bottom up approach with the national cap to be based on the sum of facility data. The national carbon trading administration identifies industry sectors and thresholds while the regions identify the covered facilities: steel, electricity, petrochemical, cement, nonferrous metal, paper mills and aviation. Around 10,000 firms are included, covering 30-40% of national carbon emissions. The allowance allocation is similarly two tiered with provincial authorities allocating allowances based upon the national allowances using a combination of benchmarking, grandfathering, and auctions.
State-owned enterprises control 50% of electricity capacity and much of heavy industry. The electricity sector has generation quotas and prices set by the government so market mechanisms don't necessarily work. Steel, cement and glass production are decreasing but becoming more efficient. The electricity and petrochemical industries may buy up their allowances to create inequities and reduce emission effects. Climate policy is thus being used to force manufacturing to upgrade technology and improve energy efficiency to reduce air pollution, a pressing political issue around the country. (And one becoming increasingly urgent given the most recent news in December 2016.)
CO2 is not categorized as a pollutant and the trading is supported only by administrative documents, with the climate department outranked by many state-owned enterprises and a very small staff, about 30 people in the NDRC (National Development and Research Commission). Emission data is very weak, a problem of credibility more than technology, with self-reporting, third party verification and emission data checked against production data for consistency. As China has strong regional differences in emissions and economic benefits - high emission/middle income (North), low emission/high income (South coast) and low emission/low income sectors (Western provinces), the calculations for each province of air pollution co-benefits range from $2 to $200 per unit of carbon capped, extremely unequally across the country.
This cap and trade program may simply be symbolic, a gesture to the international community, but it can also serve as an experiment to build institutional capacity, and a market based policy for reform. It's the only policy control on CO2, more flexible than command and control, and can help toward an economic soft landing by driving the less efficient businesses out without a big shock. It also certainly builds the public awareness of climate change. However, the speaker, Wang Pu, believes the program will not provide all the advertised benefits.
If Alex Steffen is right in this article Trump, Putin, and the Pipelines to Nowhere (https:medium.com@AlexSteffen/trump-putin-and-the-pipelines-to-nowhere-742d745ce8fd#.k2tuyyh7g ), and I believe he is correct in identifying what is happening as a global carbon coup to monetize as much fossil fuel as possible before climate change becomes undeniable, then I suspect the Trumpian USA and Putin's Russia will try to distract China from its own climate change activities like this national cap and trade program. Might be good to keep that in mind as we descend into the depths of the fossil fools.
More information on the current cost of carbon at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/8/16/1412568/-The-Current-Cost-of-Carbon
Sat Dec 17th, 2016 at 12:20:52 AM EST
Guizhou - Mountain Forest Hotel: a vertical forest hotel so green that it may also purify the surrounding air
Paris "Mille Arbres" or Thousand Trees building with an urban park on the ground and a forest in the sky
Vertical farming and urban ag tech article
Living wall in London for construction site
Amsterdam - redesigning Amsterdam for urban agriculture and more
Artisan Moss - moss for green walls - I wonder if they are doing edible mosses too
Mississauga Food Bank starts an aquaponics food farm
Living Food Bank - their first is in Haiti at the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission in St. Louis Du Nord
Agora Gardens in Taipei - a green building that absorbs CO2
Michigan Urban Farming Initiative - America's First Sustainable Urban Agrihood is "two-acre urban garden, a 200-tree fruit orchard, a children's sensory garden, and more. Annually, the urban garden provides fresh, free produce to about 2,000 households within two square miles of the farm."
Mobile greenhouse for urban farming
Tue Dec 6th, 2016 at 10:49:57 PM EST
On November 21, 2016 Scott Nyquist of McKinsey & Company (http://www.mckinsey.com) spoke to the public at MIT's Sloan School (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeTLrGhwLlrx3wx3eTYcnTX6pIS6iziw4RTLiYNL9uP0dWmVQ/viewform
Over the next 20 years, there are projections for 80% more demand on resources as a result of growing populations and growing economic production. However, higher energy intensity, efficiency, and slower GDP growth leads McKinsey and Company to consider a less than base case view.
McKinsey sees 74% of our energy still coming from fossil fuels by 2050, with an energy related CO2 peak by 2035, and a similar peak in transportation by 2025. COP 21, the Paris Agreement, has businesses going ahead and beyond waiting for negotiation, regulations and governments. Nyquist pointed us toward not only the Energy Transitions Commission (http://www.energy-transitions.org), 28 leaders from business who recognize that COP21 is not enough and are setting zero carbon as a planning goal but also the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (http://www.oilandgasclimateinitiative.com), 10 companies with 20% of global oil and gas production, which has pledged $1 billion for low carbon technology.