• Member Since 28th Oct, 2012
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Pineta


Particle Physics and Pony Fiction Experimentalist

More Blog Posts315

  • Sunday
    Polar Vortex

    Preparing for my next story. Tell me, dear readers, what do you think the Polar Vortex is in Equestria?

    1. A band of westerly wind that swirls around 50km above the polar cap during summer months. Usually stable, but can be disturbed by disruptive weather created by inexperienced weather ponies, with unforeseen consequences?

    Read More

    14 comments · 107 views
  • 1 week
    Preparing for the Apocalypse

    There are now less than twenty days until Britain will leave the European Union. There is no agreement between the UK and EU as to how this will happen, or even any agreement among British politicians about what sort of agreement they want. There is some agreement that the deal Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated, which is not so much a deal as an agreement to agree all the details later,

    Read More

    22 comments · 206 views
  • 2 weeks
    Pinkie Pie Guide to Building a Fusion Reactor

    Anyone see this story in the news a couple of weeks ago about a 12-year old who built a fusion reactor? This is a well-established DIY project. The design is a Farnsworth-Hirsch fusor, which uses high electric fields to force hydrogen atoms into fusing together.

    Read More

    12 comments · 357 views
  • 3 weeks
    I won something!

    This post is excessively self-congratulatory. Should I try to be as cool as Rainbow Dash?

    Or should I declare myself the Greatest and Most Powerfullest physics-themed pony fanfiction writer in Oxford University?

    Read More

    34 comments · 221 views
  • 4 weeks
    More on Clouds

    On Friday, while thousands of school students were taking to the streets to call for radical action to fight global warming, I went to a lecture by Bjorn Stevens from the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, who is widely regarded as a world leading expert on clouds. This was a physics talk, mostly about the way clouds interact with radiation, the role they play in transporting water

    Read More

    8 comments · 156 views
Jun
8th
2017

Peak Stupidity? · 10:13am Jun 8th, 2017

Last week Donald Trump decided to pull the US out of the Paris climate change agreement. Which was expected, although as it is a pretty stupid move even by his standards, there was hope that he might not actually do it. As Twilight Sparkle explained to Rainbow Dash in my blog post at the time, the Paris agreement is an essential plan to tackle one of the biggest global challenges of our era. As Rainbow pointed out, what was agreed may be woefully insufficient, but it is significant in providing a framework, and with the US and China committed to the process, things were moving in the right direction.

Let’s try to put an optimistic spin on this. Evidently the world is now completely and utterly bonkers, but we must be getting close to the turning point where things will start getting more sensible again and we will return to a rational evidence-based public policy, which respects scientific research even when it says reality does not align with the preferred political agenda.

The encouraging sign is that the rest of the world, and much of America, is simply choosing to ignore Trump and carry on fighting climate change regardless.

You never know. Maybe we have already passed peak stupidity.

Meanwhile we have a general election in the UK, which just might return a more representative government. We just might be able to steer away from a course leading to somewhere between hard-Brexit and train-crash-Brexit towards a softer landing and a happier future.

You never know.

Report Pineta · 380 views · #stupidity
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Comments ( 19 )

It’s my sincerest hope that the world will eventually forgive us for electing Trump, and all of the abject nonsense that has followed and has yet to hit the fan. I have a particularly strong worm of unbridled disdain for DeVos nesting in my chest. I hope we’ve hit peak stupid, too. But, I thought “this has to be the limit” when Trump ended up the Republican front runner, and when Brexit was even put on the table.

A global moratorium of shenanigans on this level for the next several generations would be nice. If I have to keep correcting the same family members about the same stuff every single day I’m going to blow a heart valve, and I don’t have insurance so it’ll probably kill me or bankrupt me.

To my everlasting sadness, nothing that has happened in the US since the election has really surprised me. This is all basically what I expected, on the reasoning that if any of the institutions who were supposed to prevent it were strong enough to do so then he would never have been elected in the first place: they already failed, and could not be counted on to prevent any of his, and the Republican party at large’s excesses.

The good news is that I have been encouraged by how European leaders have responded. I never considered them paragons of courage, and feared that without the US to back them up, Europe would not be able to stand up for itself. Yet so far they have responded by standing together. And that gives me some hope.

:facehoof::facehoof::facehoof::facehoof::facehoof::facehoof:

the Paris agreement is an essential plan to tackle one of the biggest global challenges of our era.

It was a nonbinding agreement under which US taxpayers subsidized other nations to its own economic harm. It wouldn’t even make a difference to the climate change problem -- without binding agreements to significant emissions improvements from India (third largest contributor) and China (by far the largest contributor), NOTHING ANYONE DOES REALLY MATTERS. The US has, on its own, reduced emissions significantly thanks to constantly improving technology, and that trend will continue regardless of the existence of any agreement.

4564270
One doesn’t have to have an agreement be binding to mean that it will be followed through on.

without binding agreements to significant emissions improvements from India (third largest contributor) and China (by far the largest contributor), NOTHING ANYONE DOES REALLY MATTERS.

That’s paradoxical there. I mean, if nothing anyone does matters, who cares if they emit? Otoh, if you care they emit, clearly what they do matters.

You are right that, thankfully, it looks like things will drop - but if we’d had better leadership we could be 10+ years ahead of where we are now with minimal economic harm. If, say, we’d never invaded Iraq, and spent that trillion dollars on scientific research? That’s a shitton of advancements not just in climate but everywhere.

Yea. Government policy does matter.

4564104

It’s my sincerest hope that the world will eventually forgive us for electing Trump

The majority of the rest of the world doesn’t understand that our election system is fundamentally broken and grossly disengaged, and that Trump was elected by only about 26% of the total electorate. They genuinely think he won by popular mandate, and that we really are a nation of blithering idiots.

Maybe we are, when you look at how many people view the political process as either a sporting event where the other team is a bunch of losers, a silly popularity contest with no purpose or consequence, or “not my problem”.

4564311
Re-read that a little closer. That’s a comma and not a period -- a single thought, not two separate ones. I said that without those nations cooperation, nothing we do matters. It IS possible to make a real difference, if only that sort of cooperation could be had.

Mind you, at the scale of climate change, ten years is really almost nothing. Since 1880 we’ve seen 0.85 Degrees Celsius warming.

The problem with thinking stupidity solves problems, is that eventually you get a stupid for which MAD is just a word. :twilightoops:

4564485
On the flipside, 10 years does rather matter since the vast bulk of the emitting population is alive now and using more energy per capita.

China/India are already chasing renewables hard, and even if non-binding the more countries that do anything at all, the faster the technology develops which everyone will take advantage of. Yea, some may end up being free riders or not contribute as much now - but on the other hand, China doesn’t have 200 years of carte blanche industrial pollution like the US & Western Europe do.

What gets me, is that we can move off coal energy without really hurting the coal mining industry that bad, if we just worked to revitalize the American Steel Industry. Almost all domestic produced steel now is made in mini-mills, which as I understand it, recycles old steel. Which is good, recycling is always good, but we could probably do well to ramp up production from the big mills. And coal is, as far as I know, the best source of carbon for making pig iron and steel.

Georg #10 · Jun 8th, 2017 · · 4 ·

4564270 Far worse than that. Using an unreliable forecasting method that can’t even be validated with historical data that is most certainly ‘bent’ to the bias of the climate activists, and severely back-weighted to the future in which even greater expenses are assumed, the amount of hypothetical reduction in the global temperature that the US will contribute by 2100 is....

0.057 degrees F.

To put a handle on the larger numbers, even after spending over a trillion dollars a year world wide with higher taxes and economic restrictions (of which China and other major competitors of the US are exempted for several decades in the accords), the grand galactic total of projected world temperature reduction on Jan 1, 2117 will be eliminated by Jan 1, 2120.

So simple cost-benefit analysis:
Cost - Trillions of dollars
Benefits- Negligible for ordinary people, massive for recipients of tax dollars.

4564706

China/India are already chasing renewables hard

http://time.com/4607605/china-beijing-pollution-smog-environment-video/

I’m sorry, but you genuinely made me laugh there. It’s not so bad in India, but ... have you ever been to Beijing? That city has, by a wide margin, the worst air pollution anywhere on earth. The air is genuinely dangerous to breathe. China is coal, coal, and more coal right now, and its not clean coal, either. The Chinese care about China, and if they harm the rest of the world? Well, many the Chinese authorities consider that a bonus. It’s a pretty common belief there that international economics (and politics, for that matter) are a zero-sum game. And if it hurts the common man in China? That’s just the cost of economic superiority. You see, the Chinese tend to believe that Right means what’s best for China collectively, regardless of individuals or other nations.

This is why the Chinese go forward with projects like the Three Gorges Dam when they know it will cause then-critically-endangered species like the chinese river dolphin and the chinese paddlefish to finally tip over into extinction. They have chosen other priorities. Until they understand that this is harming themselves, they will continue.

This really is unfortunate, because at the rate that they’re increasing emissions, they’re negating any changes the rest of us might make while simultaneously placing themselves at an (arguably unfair) economic advantage. The Paris Climate Accord would have lowered temperatures 0.05 Degrees Celsius over about eighty years -- so small it cannot actually be measured in the real world -- at a cost of trillions of dollars. That is NOT a viable solution. It’s not even trying. The Paris accord was heavily criticized at its signing by environmentalist groups for its inadequacies. Its sudden popularity is, I believe, largely attributable to the fact that leaving it lets journalists write headlines about how horrible Trump is and how he wants to destroy the world for the evulz, I guess. He’s an acceptable target.

I think the Paris Climate Accord was over-hyped by both sides, but leaving it was still a terrible decision. The whole speech Trump gave did not sit well with fact checkers. One would think that as president, he’d be better informed, but no... he’d rather eschew his advisors and normal intelligence channels in favor of TV, hyper-partisan news, and general covfefe. Ugh.

In other news, exit polls in the UK suggest that you just elected a hung parliament, in which no single political party has a governing majority. I don’t know if that’s an improvement, but it is a huge setback for Theresa May.

4564893
Oh, I’m well aware China is horrible right now. They’re also spending tons of money to chase renewables

They’re well, well aware they can’t continue under coal exactly because of cities like Beijing. And yea, I’m well aware of Zero-Sum IR policies, but...they’re wrong. I mean, the entire reason to advocate globalization is to leverage comparative advantage to maximize the benefit for everyone. Doing what’s best for any one country oftentimes means doing things that are good for all countries on net, at least if you are looking at long term over short term gains.

The world is, in grossly simplified terms, an eternal iterated prisoner’s dilemma and mathematically speaking the most optimal strategy in the prisoner’s dilemma is Tough But Fair with Occasional Forgiveness Opportunities.

Though regardless, if I’m honest, I’m not worried about climate change much; not because I doubt it, as it is very much real, but because if there is one thing humanity is good at, it is triumphing when backed up against a wall - especially the US.

I will not at all be surprised if we see within the next 30 years some form of robust CC&S technology deployed to begin de-carbonizing the atmosphere, and potentially subspace sulfides as a stopgap measure while such gets up and running.

Woke up this morning to see that May is out and good frigging riddance. Congratulations!

4564967

The world is, in grossly simplified terms, an eternal iterated prisoner’s dilemma and mathematically speaking the most optimal strategy in the prisoner’s dilemma is Tough But Fair with Occasional Forgiveness Opportunities.

This is likely the single greatest distillation of international politics I’ve ever read.

4565492
Theresa May says she won’t resign... So there’s a good chance she will resign by lunchtime. This result has helped restore my faith in humanity. Hopefully this will put a stop to hard Brexit. :pinkiehappy:

4565629
I may have overshot in my earlier statement: I see on twitter the latest news is she’ll try to form a coalition with DUP, which will give her a majority of... one seat. Yeah. Okay. Sounds awesome.

4565638
All hail the new DUP overlords. Forget Brussels - power now transferred to Belfast.

4565558
Assuming that is serious, then thank you :twilightblush:

4565721
Not even, since they're not doing a coalition but minority government! 2 people defect and the No Confidence motion passes, boom.

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