9 Sep 2014

Anything but water

US laws "impede" transfers from Saudi to
NL but not to the US. Protectionist Fail.
  1. Amartya Sen puts some perspective on global warming, i.e., how shall we consider the plight of the poor who do not even have access to energy (or water)?

  2. I've said for years that US governance is troubled because a hetergeneous (decentralized) culture is being managed by a homogenizing (centralized) system. Francis Fukuyama says something similar in this essay, with WAY more theoretical and historical context. Bad news: "the decay of American politics will probably continue until some external shock comes along to catalyze a true reform coalition and galvanize it into action." Slightly related: US government raises fee for renouncing citizenship by 400+ percent, citing "excess demand" from soon-to-be ex-Americans

  3. No duh: Australia's carbon emissions rise for the first time in 8 years as its government dumps its carbon tax and renewable program in favor of Big Coal. A terrible blow for efforts to coordinate carbon reductions

  4. Yes, we should study history... if only to know how unpredictable history turns out to be. (I'd predict that Putin will turn out to be a huge failure -- like Chavez -- for his people. I'm wondering how climate change will affect different countries. I fear a future in which militarized police and feckless spies dominate the US.)

  5. UNC Chapel Hill adds more statistics to student transcripts, to help readers understand the difference between the easy A and tough A classes. This is a useful step towards a measuring system I'd prefer -- "curve grading" for every class -- that reduces the impact of "professor and major bias" on grades and focuses on relative student performance. Is this system "fair" for students taking art or chemistry? I think yes, because you want students to get degrees in the subjects they master, not degrees in which everyone gets an A and nobody is pushed to achieve
H/T to RM


Naor Deleanu said...

From the New Republic piece:
"The dangers of nuclear energy have received astonishingly little systematic attention in scientific and policy discussions."

Really? I think quite the opposite. Good points about bringing power to poor countries, but falling into the same trap other of environmentalists in reasoning that we can easily convert to solar and wind. Also harping on about the dangers of nuclear while not emphasizing how bad coal is, even in the absence of disaster. I don't have the data for this, but I would guess that more people have died from coal mining accidents alone than from nuclear power.

David Zetland said...

@Naor -- you're right. I can't find the figure now, but the death rate from coal mining and burning is 100-1000x the rate for nuclear.

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