The Blog




Looking at the Indian Sub-Continent as a whole, it appears to contain a perfect storm of chaos factors.

- 1.6b people growing at 20m/year. Maybe 2b by 2030.

- Nowhere to go since the land routes out all involve 15,000ft passes that are closed, easily defensible and that already have military presence. Or into Myanmar which is dense jungle. Or into Iran and that route's harsh and lawless. Or into Afghanistan which is an active war zone. The sea routes are difficult, long and the likely destinations uninviting. All of which makes any mass emigration very unlikely. 

- Pollution problems (see all the main cities but especially Delhi, Karachi)

- Large areas at risk of flooding from rising sea water when they're not being flooded by the monsoon.

- One country (India) that controls water flow to two others (Pakistan, Bangla Desh)

- Dysfunctional governments

- Religion

- Nuclear weapons

- Severe and increasing danger of Black Flag weather every year. That's a combination of heat and humidity that kills humans without air conditioning.

- Mass exposure to Black Swan weather. Bangla Desh in particular is densely populated and prone to flooding. But so are the poorest states in India.

- Very rich anarcho-capitalists, in control of technological industry, powered by very large reserves of coal but with little oil.

- A proxy war zone on one porous border with Afghanistan that keeps spilling over into Pakistan with the help of US drones.

That's quite a pressure cooker.
[from: Google+ Posts]




This is deeply disturbing, on so many levels.

[from: Google+ Posts]

A question for the #lazyweb. Is there a site online that gives a good summary of the state of borders round the world? I imagine this on several dimensions. It's a directed graph or matrix for each major country pair with sub-divisions for specific border crossings. But then with detail depending one one's home country, transport mechanism and a bunch of notes. So for instance, USA->Canada, Blaine-I5, for a German, by bus. Or AzerBaijan->Turkmenistan, Baku-Turkmenbashi, Ferry, Motorcycle.

This was prompted by watching the excellent "Walking the Himalayas" series on Channel 4 where Levison Wood attempts to walk from Afghanistan to Bhutan. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/walking-the-himalayas The first couple of episodes involved walking the Wakhan corridor to the Afghan-Pakistan border. Then helicoptering out, Kabul-Islamabad, Gilgit to continue walking from the Pakistan side of the same border post. Then repeating the exercise at the Burzil pass between Pakistan and Kashmir-India having to go Lahore-Amritsar-Srinigar-Dawar to continue the walk only a kilometre or two from where he got stuck and had to bug out. Both were 1500Km detours. The second event was the beginning of the end of the Schengen agreement in the EU where Germany->Denmark and then Denmark->Sweden are turning into check points. This is forced by the influx of middle eastern migrants but it's forcing everyone to carry ID and explain themselves. This is all symptomatic of a world where borders are not opening up. Increasingly they're closing down. And places where you used to be able to cross easily, are now blocked by armed guards. Where you used to be able to just cross, you now need a visa; or a paid guide.

Talking of Refugees. Just came across this, 
http://www.techfugees.com/
A bunch of UK tech journalists and commentators brainstorming apps for refugees. That sounds horrendous and easy to criticise but they're actually producing some useful stuff.
 Walking the Himalayas »
Explorer Levison Wood sets out to walk the length of the world's highest mountain range, from Afghanistan to Bhutan

[from: Google+ Posts]





[from: Librarything]


[from: Librarything]


[from: Librarything]


[from: Librarything]




I came across a new word today. "Declinist".

http://edge.org/annual-question/what-do-you-consider-the-most-interesting-recent-scientific-news-what-makes-it

Beware the fnords. Pop-Sci mixed in with Real-Sci.
 WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST INTERESTING RECENT [SCIENTIFIC] NEWS? WHAT MAKES IT IMPORTANT? | Edge.org »
Subscribe to Edge. ×. You can subscribe to Edge and receive e-mail versions of EdgeEditions as they are published on the web. Fill out the form, below, with your name and e-mail address and your subscription will be automatically processed. Email address *. Your name *. Country * ...

[from: Google+ Posts]




The "Best (club) Music of 2015" Meta-list of lists.

If you only read one and want to broaden your musical horizons, try this. 
"Forget the squeezed middle, most of the music we love at The Quietus is from the fucked bottom."
http://thequietus.com/articles/19350-best-albums-2015

https://bleep.com/albums-of-the-year-2015
https://boomkat.com/charts/2015/119
http://dangerousminds.net/comments/graham_duffs_epic_best_albums_of_2015_mega-post
http://djmag.com/features/top-10-albums-2015
http://www.djmag.com/features/tunes-2015
http://drownedinsound.com/in_depth/4149636-our-50-favourite-uk-albums-of-2015
http://www.dummymag.com/lists/the-30-best-albums-of-2015-dummy
http://www.dummymag.com/lists/the-50-best-tracks-of-2015-dummy
http://www.dummymag.com/lists/the-10-best-12s-of-2015-according-to-semtek
http://www.dummymag.com/lists/the-25-best-remixes-of-2015
http://www.dummymag.com/lists/the-20-best-music-videos-of-2015
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153283178480095&set=a.10150094394895095.273899.626640094&type=3&theater
http://www.factmag.com/2015/12/01/best-record-labels-of-2015/
http://www.factmag.com/2015/12/09/the-50-best-albums-of-2015/
http://www.factmag.com/2015/12/10/best-club-tracks-2015/
http://www.factmag.com/2015/12/16/best-house-and-techno-tracks-2015/2/
http://www.factmag.com/2015/12/22/artists-favorites-of-2015/
http://www.factmag.com/2015/12/23/fact-contributors-best-of-2015/
http://www.theguardian.com/music/ng-interactive/2015/dec/02/best-albums-of-2015
http://includemeout2.blogspot.com/2015/12/best-of-2015-mix.html
http://inverted-audio.com/feature/best-tracks-of-2015/
http://inverted-audio.com/feature/best-albums-of-2015/
http://www.junodownload.com/plus/2015/12/08/best-of-2015-top-12-albums/
http://www.loudandquiet.com/2015/12/top-40-albums-of-2015/
http://marcelandshorty.com/2015/12/20/top-albums-2015/
http://www.mixmag.net/feature/top-50-albums-of-2015
http://www.mixmag.net/feature/top-100-tunes
http://www.npr.org/2015/12/11/458828330/npr-musics-10-favorite-electronic-albums-of-2015
http://www.npr.org/2015/12/18/460052323/recommended-dose-our-favorite-dance-tracks-of-2015
http://onehouronedj.com/wordpress/the-ohod-2015-awards/
http://www.phonicarecords.com/page/phonica-records-best-singles-of-2015-25-1-82
http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/9758-guest-list-best-of-2015/
http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/9765-the-100-best-tracks-of-2015/
http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/9764-the-50-best-albums-of-2015/
http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/9773-the-best-experimental-albums-of-2015/
http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?2571 DJs
http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?2572 Live acts
http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?2575 Albums
http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?2576 Tracks
http://www.self-titledmag.com/2015/12/14/steve-hauschildts-top-5-records/
http://soyoungmagazine.com/journal-top-10-songs-2015/
http://www.stampthewax.com/2015/12/09/tracks-of-2015-electronic-2/
http://www.stampthewax.com/2015/12/10/tracks-of-2015-remixes/
http://www.stampthewax.com/2015/12/15/tracks-of-2015-best-of-the-rest/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/what-to-listen-to/the-best-pop-and-rock-albums-of-2015/
http://thequietus.com/articles/19346-spools-out-best-of-2015-tape-reviews
http://thequietus.com/articles/19396-best-reissues-mixes-2015
http://thequietus.com/articles/19458-tracks-of-the-year-2015
http://thequietus.com/articles/19424-the-best-jazz-of-2015
http://thequietus.com/articles/19478-rum-music-best-of-2015-mix
http://theweekid.com/best-albums-of-2015/
http://theweekid.com/best-remixes-2015/
http://www.thewire.co.uk/audio/tracks/2015-releases-of-the-year Recommended
http://www.tinymixtapes.com/features/2015-favorite-50-songs
http://www.uncut.co.uk/uncut-editors-diary/my-favourite-albums-of-2015-71856
http://www.wearesoundspace.com/top-50-dance-tracks-2015/
http://whitenoisereview.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/best-albums-of-2015.html Recommended
https://www.xlr8r.com/podcasts/2015/12/xlr8rs-best-of-2015-podcasts/
https://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/12/xlr8rs-best-of-2015-releases/
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIbTx8bnlxOzB7befwygKe3vIN_B5PW-Q

Some of the web sites have multiple lists beyond the ones here. Follow the links.
 The Quietus | Features | The Quietus Albums Of 2015, In Association With Norman Records »
Forget the squeezed middle, most of the music we love at The Quietus is from the fucked bottom. Yet with the music business coin situation still appalling, our albums of the year list 2015 proves the underground is alive and screaming

[from: Google+ Posts]




You know I'm born to lose, and gambling's for fools,
But that's the way I like it baby,
I don't wanna live for ever,
And don't forget the joker!

Keith's mum has some stories about seeing you in the Hawkwind tent at the Isle of Wight festival.

But nobody really believes she was there.

[from: Google+ Posts]




http://robertscribbler.com/2015/12/27/warm-arctic-storm-to-hurl-hurricane-force-winds-at-uk-and-iceland-push-temps-to-72-degrees-f-above-normal-at-north-pole/

30 Dec 2015, North Pole expected to peak at +1C
Whisky-Tango-Foxtrot! 
 Warm Arctic Storm To Hurl Hurricane Force Winds at UK and Iceland, Push Temps to 72+ Degrees (F) Above Normal at North Pole »
We've probably never seen weather like what's being predicted for a vast region stretching from the North Atlantic to the North Pole and on into the broader Arctic this coming week. But it's all in...

[from: Google+ Posts]




Now the Paris Climate Change talks are over. We got the deal, now we actually have to do something. Starting today. 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/13/paris-climate-talks-15c-marathon-negotiating-physics

Small personal efficiencies all help but they won't solve the problem. Which does raise the question of what we expected to happen in Paris, and what we expect politicians (or anyone really) to do next.

Politicians (in all countries worldwide) can do some big macro things by setting rules, regulations and putting processes in place. And by investing public money in big infrastructure.

So as a start this should be penalising fossil fuels instead of subsidising them. Taxing fossil fuel use and using the funds generated to change the game and to push the market. And subsidising renewables to encourage deployment. With low structural inflation and low oil prices this is a perfect time to to be introducing aggressive carbon taxes.

Now.

Not in 2016 or 2020 or 2030 or 2050.

Now.


--
From the article:-

you don’t get to go drilling or mining in new areas, even if you think it might make you lots of money. The Arctic will have to be completely off limits, as will the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming. The pre-salt formations off Brazil, and the oil off the coasts of north America too.

You’ve got to stop fracking right away (in fact, that may be the greatest imperative of all, since methane gas does its climate damage so fast). You have to start installing solar panels and windmills at a breakneck pace – and all over the world. The huge subsidies doled out to fossil fuel have to end yesterday, and the huge subsidies to renewable energy had better begin tomorrow. You have to raise the price of carbon steeply and quickly, so everyone gets a clear signal to get off of it.

At the moment the world has no real plan to do any of those things. It continues to pretend that merely setting the goal has been work enough for the last two decades. 

--

And this kind of thing really doesn't help.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/13/conservatives-energy-green-cuts-policies-paris-deal

The UK Conservatives’ attacks on wind, solar and other ‘clean’ technologies has undermined ability to meet CO2 targets, experts say

The government has been warned that a major U-turn in energy policy is required if it is to avoid charges of blatant hypocrisy following the commitments it made in the Paris climate deal this weekend.

--
 
Say one thing, do another. Amber Rudd and the Tories will tell you "The UK will deliver" while cutting subsidies to and blocking renewables, subsidising fossil fuels and wasting huge amounts of money on unrealistic nuclear projects.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35087059
 Climate deal: the pistol has fired, so why aren’t we running? | Bill McKibben »
There can be no complacency after the Paris talks. Hitting even the 1.5C target will need drastic, rapid action

[from: Google+ Posts]




Climate change modelling based on the rate of carbon emissions, their effect on CO2 concentration and the resultant global average temperature.

vs
The Limits to Growth revisited on their 40th anniversary. An attempt to model the world economy via at least 8 interdependent variables. Where only one of them is pollution and where CO2 is only part of that.   


It's not clear at the moment which of the 3 obvious scenarios we'll follow. It's likely to be a mix of the three in different times and places.
1) Continue with business as usual and blow the #terafart of 1TtC into the atmosphere as fast as possible. For all the talk, this is what we're actually doing, following the worst case scenario from the IPCC.
2) Voluntarily reduce our carbon emissions along the lines of the Paris agreement. Too little, too late resulting in 4oC increase by 2100
3) Overshoot, crash and burn as we hit a whole series of fundamental limits before 2100. The actual detail is messy and unpredictable. This is where we don't blow all the carbon as other factors strike first. 

One way in which this will be modified is that we will deploy large quantities of Solar, Wind and other renewable energy sources along with increased efficiencies. And it's not clear if this helps or if it simply hardens demand.

Or as somebody said last month, "Since we can't fix it as individuals and we can't get off the planet we might as well point out the interesting bits to each other as the ship sinks." and somebody else replied, "that doesn't sound terribly cheerful. I've got kids on that thing"

via
https://www.climateinteractive.org/
https://www.climateinteractive.org/tools/scoreboard/
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328462-100-boom-and-doom-revisiting-prophecies-of-collapse/
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[from: Librarything]




Assume a small spherical planet in a vacuum.

With perfect elasticity?
[from: Google+ Posts]




Happy Winter Day! The first day of UK meteorological winter.

Don't panic. It'll all be over soon.
[from: Google+ Posts]




Meet the UK's "Committee on Climate Change", A balanced response to the risks of dangerous climate change, Independent, evidence-based advice to the UK Government and Parliament
https://www.theccc.org.uk/

Yes, Minister? It's one of those delightfully dry UK civil service productions. Some entertaining reading in there. Especially the last entry in the FAQ. Can you see the fnords? 

12) Despite reports of falling UK emissions, hasn’t our real carbon footprint actually risen?
The fall in emissions within the UK is real, reflecting- for example – reductions in emissions from power generation. But if we look at consumption emissions, then yes, our analysis suggests that our carbon footprint has increased since 1993, as growth in imported emissions has more than offset the reduction in emissions produced within the UK.
This increase in imported emissions is largely a result of rising incomes, with associated increased demand for consumer goods, many of them imported. This emphasises the need for policies globally to reduce emissions. It is very encouraging in this respect that countries, including China and the US*, have made ambitious commitments to reduce emissions. There is now widespread coverage by low-carbon policies of major emitting sectors around the world. The UK is not acting alone.
*China and US together made up about 45% of world CO2 emissions in 2011.

They're recommending to the Government to target 57% reduction in carbon emmissions by 2030
https://www.theccc.org.uk/2015/11/26/next-step-towards-low-carbon-economy-requires-57-emissions-reduction-by-2030/

Meanwhile the BBC is reporting that global public support for any action at all is falling.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34900474
And the UN thinks that all the pledges so far should only result in a warming of 2.7C in 2100 down from 3.1C. Which is not enough. 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34668957

Although, really, the scientists are lying to themselves and us by being publicly overly optimistic even while in private they are deeply pessimistic. Here's a meta analysis of what they're saying and an aggregation of how their models look.
https://www.skepticalscience.com/Anderson.html

Anderson’s case, in summary, is that most of us, whether scientists, policy makers or citizens, are suffering from cognitive dissonance. We acknowledge the mathematics of carbon budgets compatible with the 2°C target, yet are unable to face the revolutionary implications of what we need to do to get there. Put simply, our entire way of life for most of us in rich countries—and for an increasing number of rich people in poor countries—has to change radically, starting now.

There's that 1000Gt figure again, except this time it's 1000GtCO2 to stay under 2C of which 300GtCO2 is probably already gone. That's 0.3TtC. Much more likely is that mankind blows the full 1TtC   #terafart  of accessible fossil fuels over the next 100 years.

--

Thre was no pause. And warming is accelerating again.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/25/climate-change-makes-past-five-year-period-the-warmest-on-record-wmo

Support your local artists
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/27/world-artists-call-on-climate-negotiators-to-reach-ambitious-deal-in-paris

Go on the March on Sunday. It'll make you feel better.
http://globalclimatemarch.org/en/
 Committee on Climate Change | Independent, evidence-based advice to the UK Government and Parliament »
A balanced response to the risks of dangerous climate change. Independent, evidence-based advice to the UK Government and Parliament. Search for: Skip to content. Home · About us · News · Tackling climate change · Publications · Blog · FAQs · Charts & data · Contacts ...

[from: Google+ Posts]




Stanford and MIT reckon we can ditch fossil fuels globally and go 100% renewable by 2050.

What can I say, except that this needs fact checking.

Note that 2050 is the new 30 years out, again.

You've got to love those techno-optimists.
 
http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/stanford-study-says-world-could-be-fully-powered-renewables-2050.html
 Stanford study says world could be fully powered by renewables by 2050 »
A mix of wind, solar and hydro power could replace fossil fuels in every country in the world.

[from: Google+ Posts]

Instead of using humans to colonise and terraform Mars into Planet B, I think we should use Tardigrade water bears. They can go on the generation ships to the nearest star system with a goldilocks planet as well. With some mushroom spores. It shouldn't take more than half a billion years or so to result in some intelligent life that can talk back. 

http://www.sciencealert.com/the-tardigrade-genome-has-been-sequenced-and-it-has-the-most-foreign-dna-of-any-animal
 The tardigrade genome has been sequenced, and it has the most foreign DNA of any animal »
Scientists have sequenced the entire genome of the tardigrade , AKA the water bear, for the first time. And it turns out that this weird little creature has the most foreign genes of any animal studied so far – or to put it another way, roughly...

[from: Google+ Posts]

What are these Paris Climate Change talks anyway? 
Here's one of those fast talking youtube guys telling it like it is with the aid of plenty of nouns in a large font face. It's only 4 minutes. You can find 4 minutes, right. 
https://youtu.be/oo5ca1dMbEc

As one commentator says, "And the better news is that even if Paris totally flops, and everyone is just hurling brie and baguette at one another, cities and private companies can take action to cut emissions and make a difference. In fact, they're the real key players here, because diplomacy isn't real climate action. How does any treaty matter if no one does what is says?" 

Holy pea-huck, hipster man! That's the better news?

Via one of those essays about Uncharted Territory in FlatLand (where be dragon kings, and black swans).
http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2015/11/uncharted-territory.html

- This year will undoubtedly be the hottest year on record
- Before the start of the Paris climate talks, negotiators working to craft an international agreement that will curb rising global greenhouse gas emissions are staring into a wide gulf between what countries are willing to do and what they need to do.
- Not only are we humans unable to verify INDC emissions pledges after the Paris talks conclude, but we are also unable to take into account all of the GHG emissions our global civilization creates and has already created. But we can measure the resulting CO2. And that's at an all time high.

Another facebook commentator said: "Are you people. For. Real. We're. On. The verge. Of ww3 and your On about. This. BOLLOX." 
Hey ho. What's below the emergent behaviour? Oh, it's emergent behaviour all the way down. Thing is, we're all doing our best. Just because one aspect of modern life is rubbish doesn't mean we can't put effort into trying to deal with some other aspect that's rubbish.
http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2015/11/05/ive-changed-my-mind/
so
http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2015/11/20/know-yourself-heal-self-liberate-experiment-build-community/


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