Random Thoughts in Alphabetical Order (please scroll down so that you do not miss anything…). Consists of three sets: main or Pareto-esque, subtle or frames, and domains as occurs:
MAIN OR PARETO
Huge problems with universities exist all over. Way too much bureaucracy, and corporate control. Tuition fees are ever increasing, but the money goes mostly to top-end bureaucrats and then to research and very little trickles into teaching. Most universities have a dirty secret; to maximize profits they have fewer faculty teaching and over 50% of the courses are taught by low wage temporary sessionals with no job security, living course to course.
The public does not realize this. Another problem is that the silo effect is extremely counterproductive to solving societies key problems like climate change, overpopulation, resource scarcity and increasing risks of food supply disruptions and societal chaos, even collapses. For example, in climate change very few scientists look at the overall picture.
The glaciologist does not know what the oceanographer or the atmospheric physicist or the permafrost or methane person are doing. Contributing to this is the generalization that the vast majority of scientists are introverted in psyche and are not good communicators.
Up to now, global food supply increases have kept pace with population rise. Countries that lack food do so as a result of distributional problems and poverty. Agricultural crop yields (tons per hectare) have increased an order of magnitude in prior decades for many varieties in the so called “Green Revolution”.
This has reversed in the recent decade. Crops are stressed around the world and yields have flattened while population still rises exponentially. A simple equation that does not compute, and can only end in collapse if it is not resolved.
Wind and solar have been growing tremendously as economies of scale drive down costs per watt to levels that are competitive with fossil fuel power plants. This needs to continue at ever increasing rates; a recent study by Mark Jaccard shows that we could have 80% reductions in fossil fuel emissions by 2030 and complete phase out by 2050.
Still to slow to singularly avoid abrupt climate change, but a necessary piece of the pie (other pieces are Solar Radiation Management (SRM) to cool the Arctic, and Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) to remove CO2 from the atmosphere/and or oceans.
Atmosphere, Click to go to world ‘CO2 Now‘ page, active links.
Basic Materials, Mining
Rare earth metals are vital for our transition to a renewable energy society, having vital importance for computers, smartphones, batteries, etc. Mining has been squeezed out of most of North America due to lower cost Chinese and Russian extraction.
This reduction of source diversity can lead to global shortages in the event of geopolitical instability. Mining of coal is on its way out, with once enormous companies like Archer in dire positions. Australia is in trouble by huge emphasis on coal extraction.
Capital Goods (Overlaps Industrial)
Consume, consume, consume. This has occurred to supply the vast increase in population and standard of living mostly in India and China. It cannot continue. The huge globalization effort to outsource manufacturing to China has reduced diversity of suppliers and thus resiliency in the rest of the world. Globalization collapses when the costs of transportation are too high.
Climate in a nutshell, Weather:
Climate is destabilizing due to nonlinear cascading feedbacks. Weather weirding and whiplashing is occurring. Extreme weather events are rapidly increasing in severity, frequency and duration. The root cause is Arctic temperature amplification from our fossil fuel emissions.
Democratic Socialism, US Senator: Bernie Sanders Explains Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared Of The Term ‘Socialism'”.
Student debt is at unsustainable levels. Countries like Norway have free post-secondary education for everybody, not just for Norwegian students. A highly educated workforce has a much better chance of building resilience and facing global problems.
Energy is to society as blood is to the human body. It is the lifeblood, and vast amounts can be harvested directly from the sun, and also indirectly (wind, water waves and currents, etc.). Thomas Homer-Dixon has written extensively on this topic.
US Debt Clock
We all have to eat. When global food shortages occur from abrupt climate change (only question is when) we will be in great trouble. Ironically, there is a buffer of about 30% in wasted food today that will get us through the initial shocks, and then a transition to vegetarian diets will keep us going for a while. Remember that in times of great food shortages and rationing in World Wars all green space transitioned into growing vegetables and grains to feed urban regions.
Getting Things Done
Globalism has been highly effective at driving down costs of goods and services, but breaks down when scarcity occurs. Then countries become selfish and block trade and tribalism instincts take over. Watch out when this happens, it becomes survival of the strongest and a free for all scramble for limited resources.
Right wing neo-liberalism has taken over many western governments in the past decade. Just think Canada and Australia and the UK; meanwhile the GOP in the US are anti-science idealogues. Fortunately, Canada has broken free of Harper’s shackles and can quickly become a model example to the world in many aspects.
Guns in America
The Oregon school shooting and America’s brutal society // 03 oct 2015
‘Domestically, a society riven by growing economic inequality has at the same time been increasingly militarized, with military service glorified at every possible moment as the highest service to the nation. Police forces have been armed to the teeth with armored vehicles and assault rifles making them indistinguishable from military units. Killings and brutality are routine, with nearly 900 people murdered in encounters with the police so far this year.
‘The United States remains the last economically advanced country that imposes the death penalty. Since 1976, 1,416 people have cruelly and inhumanely been put to their death. So far this year there have been twenty-two such state-sanctioned murders.
The solutions routinely advanced in the wake of such shootings will do nothing to address the causes of mass killings that are rooted, in the final analysis, in America’s brutal society’.
Biodiversity is collapsing around the world. Many people are saying that the Earth is presently undergoing the 6th mass extinction in history, and the cause is humans in the Anthropocene. Flora and fauna are migrating to the poles in a scramble to survive. Real-time evolution is occurring as species adapt from one generation to the next. Why is something so obvious being ignored by politicians around the planet?
Housing/Building, Construction, Engineering I
I have strived to make my century old house energy efficient. The most effective improvement per dollar to do this is put copious amounts of insulation in the attic, and seal the house (have a blower door test to determine leakage rates and locations).
Apart from that a super high efficiency furnace (boiler in my case), LED lighting throughout (including the light inside the fridge and freezer), and a drain water heat recovery system are all good. Monitor your electricity and heating energy usage so you can be amazed at the size of the bill reductions. Improving energy efficiency of building structures can result in enormous cost savings, and greenhouse gas reduction.
Apocalypse, Man: Michael C. Ruppert on World’s End (Part 1)
VERY HARD TO GET HEDGES UNDER AN HOUR OR NINETY MINUTES AT TIME. RAREST 17:38, PURE, FULL ON HEDGES UNBRIDLED–RARE FIND. Left Forum 2015: Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges at ‘The Earth at Risk Conference 2014 and the Moral Imperative to Resist’.
Chris Hedges – “The Myth of Human Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies” – Full Speech
Kaizen, Continuous Business Improvement
Very important video, on how Marissa Meyer, 20th employee at Google, now CEO at Yahoo, did what she did. Very high value explication, relative to social media and messaging: ‘A Yahoo Search Calls Up a Chief From Google‘.
CELD, ‘The Democracy School’
CELDF on Rights Of Nature Legal Frameworks around the World
Leisure, Entertainment I, Discretionary Spending
Chess, movies (Netflix and Cinemas), books, exercise and travel. Family most important, of course.
Manufacturing, Consumer Products, Engineering II
In Canada, especially Ontario the manufacturing sector has been hollowed out due to the Conservative government obsession with fossil fuel development, leading to a petrodollar and collapse of manufacturing.
With the oil price collapse, Canada is paying through-the-nose with the collapse of the Canadian dollar, but this will revive manufacturing. Canada has an enormous opportunity in clean technology now.
Media, Content (Telecommunication II-Distribution), Broadcast, Entertainment II (overlap above)
In Canada, on the weekend before the federal election on October 19th, 2015 almost every paper in Canada had a full front page insert in bright yellow telling Canadians that the Liberals were crap and people should vote for Harper. Talk about propaganda. This was disgraceful for media across Canada to do this, and indicative of their complete bias for Conservatives. Media must be impartial, or democracy fails.
Canada has had a public healthcare system, and it is vital that this system be protected. It is great that the USA with Obamacare has gone this route. It only works, of course if there are checks and balances in the system so that people do not game the system.
THE HISTORY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY IN ONE, SINGLE VIDEO. PERHAPS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT MOVIE OF THE 20TH CENTURY. TOTALLY ENLIGHTENING: The Fog of War – Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
RIVETING: ‘The ocean is broken‘, By Greg Ray, Oct. 18, 2013, 10 p.m.
‘What was missing was the cries of the seabirds which, on all previous similar voyages, had surrounded the boat. The birds were missing because the fish were missing. Exactly 10 years before, when Newcastle yachtsman Ivan Macfadyen had sailed exactly the same course from Melbourne to Osaka, all he’d had to do to catch a fish from the ocean between Brisbane and Japan was throw out a baited line.
“There was not one of the 28 days on that portion of the trip when we didn’t catch a good-sized fish to cook up and eat with some rice,” Macfadyen recalled. But this time, on that whole long leg of sea journey, the total catch was two. No fish. No birds. Hardly a sign of life at all.’
World Population Clock, live, here.
There is always an “elephant in the room”, and when we talk about climate change solutions this is that elephant. Nobody wants to talk about global population.
The fact is, the population is today is over 7.3 billion, and the growth rate is about 1.3% per year. When something grows by a certain percentage each year then by definition it is exponential growth. Clearly, on a finite planet with finite resources, it is absolute MADNESS to allow the population to continue to grow like this.
So what do we do? [Paul continues this discussion critically and in more detail on Population, here. dk]
Our consumeristic, throw-away society is obviously not sustainable.
Security, Surveillance, Guns:
Texas Professor Quits Rather Than Tolerate Armed Students, by Blake Neff
‘A professor emeritus at the University of Texas-Austin (UT) has announced that he is resigning his post in protest against a recent law allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campus, saying the law drastically increases his chances of being murdered.
“As much as I have loved the experience of teaching and introducing these students to economics at the university, I have decided not to continue,” economics professor Daniel Hamermesh said in a letter to university administrators this week. “With a huge group of students my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law.”’
Society, Conflict, Terror, Aggression, Unity:
During the Cold War, the Soviets were the “enemy” and this was justification for enormous military budgets. After the breakup of the Soviet Union the “enemy” vacuum was filled up with “terrorism” in various forms, resulting in huge expansion in military budgets, reaching well over $700 billion in the US alone. It is long past the time when the extreme threat of abrupt climate change be recognized. I anticipate entire military budgets being retargeted to adapt, mitigate and fight abrupt climate change disruption in the very near future.
Technology, Internet, Semiconductors, Systems Integration, Software, Telecommunications I (Equipment)
Many people think that technology can get us out of our abrupt climate change pickle. Maybe so, but only if huge portions the size of military budgets are redirected for this purpose.
Many leading thinkers including Stephen Hawking are very concerned about robots with advanced Artificial Intelligence surpassing human capabilities will become a threat to humanity. Perhaps that threat may be realized if we manage to address the threat of abrupt climate change collapsing our food supply and thus civilizations.
Toxicity // Derrick Jensen
Cities, like Ottawa, keep building more and more roads at huge expense, with huge ongoing maintenance costs. Talk about dumb. The internal combustion engine is following the path of horse drawn buggies, as electric cars undergo huge price drops from economies of scale.
Globally, has passed 50%, in Canada has passed 80%, Bermuda has 100%. Global population rise is out of control.
Water. Water Quality:
Vast parts of the US southwest will become virtually uninhabitable deserts with decade to century droughts. Vast migration of people out of these areas will occur, unless water pipelines feed the cities there. Many Americans in those regions will migrate northward up to Canada where there is much more fresh water.
SUBTLE OR FRAMES
I think that the probability that life exists elsewhere in the universe is unity. Have a look at the Drake equation to get some interesting ideas on this yourself.
Culture: Asia, Oceania,
Latin America, North America,
Europe, Mideast, Africa:
Globalization has led to homogenization across the planet, and threatened many cultures. The pendulum has swung too far, and is swinging back now. Many languages across the planet are going extinct due to this homogenization.
Engineering as an Endeavour as distinct from a domain: mechanical, civil, electrical, chemical, industrial:
We have incredible engineers across the planet who are getting the latest and greatest technological tools to do incredible things. However they are only as good as their bosses/corporations who pay their salaries.
We need to direct them towards activities that are healthy for human long-term viability/survival on our planet. This is not happening yet, but is slowly heading there. I write this on the day Obama killed the Keystone XL pipeline.
Never in history has humanity been in such a precarious position. Our long-term (medium-term and short-term) viability on this planet is in grave danger. Never in history have we had the technological smarts to mitigate the risks of abrupt climate change. I love history. I hated it when I was younger.
I am fascinated in deep Earth history, and on how humans came to dominate the planet. Also, needless to say, on paleo–records for climate data.
Science: Math, Physics, Biology:
I was completely immersed in the nuts and bolts of science and engineering in my past life. Now I interested just as much on the societal issues.
DOMAINS AS OCCURS
Friends and Family:
What is really more important than this?
Contacts, Acquaintances //seeds of future muses:
Ottawa has grown on me over the years. The Glebe is a fantastic community.
Communities of Knowledge, Learning Communities:
One can never know enough. Lifelong learning is wonderful.
Communications Channels, How We and Others Occur in the World // more seeds:
Meetings, in person