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Ken Fabian

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Ken Fabian last won the day on June 1

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About Ken Fabian

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    Climate Science: Climate Politics: Energy technologies: Human Evolution

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  1. CO2 that is dissolved in water allows reactions that involve Carbon to occur that don't occur in air. Life chemistry is all (mostly?) chemistry within liquid water. eg Aqueous carbon dioxide, CO2 (aq), reacts with water forming carbonic acid, H2CO3 (aq). Carbonic acid may lose protons to form bicarbonate, HCO3- , and carbonate, CO32-. Reactions involving those ions are not so difficult to initiate.
  2. Bog standard climate science deniers memes, not worth the rebutting. Goodbye Drumbo.
  3. Climate models have done very well - it is just a matter of faith amongst climate science deniers that they have not. Most people taken in by that rhetoric are not going to check. There are technologies currently existing that will allow high levels of prosperity with low emissions - it is just a matter of faith that they do not exist or using them will result in dark age poverty. It is a much promoted and nasty stereotype of climate concerned extremists that we want people to go without stuff and would welcome de-industrialisation. The reality is we can see a profound risk to long term prosperity - that would lead to widescale poverty and misery and is effectively irreversible - and we seek to address it... to prevent dark age style poverty. And the means we are pressing ahead with involve more industrialisation, not less, more technology, not less - and the technologies are best done by free enterprise industrialists and work best in democracies with the rule of law.
  4. "Habitable for humans" rather than habitable in the sense of being able to support it's own biology. Habitable for humans is going to be a very narrow subset of "capable of supporting life that is like life on Earth". Any native life would not only be of exceptional scientific interest it seems like a big assumption that human life would be compatible with the biochemistry. Surely life throws up more complex poisons and allergenic compounds than lifeless processes - besides the more obvious hazards like wrong atmosphere or getting eaten or parasitised. If we have the technology to get to the planets of other stars we won't need planets for survival purposes - but that urge to find new pastures, to occupy and possess, is a primitive one and I would not trust humans from Earth to restrain themselves if they are within landing distance of a world they thought they could conquer and occupy. Although humans with a long history of life in artificial habitats/spacecraft may not find planets or life supporting moons attractive.
  5. I think claiming CO2 decline is a current existential risk and we need mass burning of fossil fuels to save us is about on par with the "global warming is saving the world from the next ice age (glaciation)" argument; they sound convincing to people who don't want to have to deal with global warming (and don't care if the science is right or wrong) or otherwise have no clue. I am not convinced that Happer himself has done any serious research to reach that conclusion or even necessarily believes it - he doesn't accept climate science (and that is telling) and/or the predicted consequences of rising CO2 levels. Perhaps he feels that his physics background puts his guesses ahead of the expert knowledge of "lesser" scientists. His putting his oar in is a statement of political position, not science. A bit like Dyson. There is no Loss of CO2 crisis - there wasn't at the start of the Industrial revolution and we have a lot more CO2 now. It looks like an attempt to raise up a false crisis in mockery of the climate crisis, by people convinced that the climate crisis is a fake crisis.
  6. If you can find one science institution that studies climate and says it is a hoax fabricated by socialists and feminists I will be very, very surprised. You will struggle to find one that thinks the seriousness of global warming in the reports and studies commissioned by governments, including the IPCC reports, is being overstated. That they are in agreement is due to multiple independent studies reaching the same conclusions, not conspiracy. We have had more than 3 decades of governments choosing stepping back and re-examination of the issue rather than face up to it; doesn't matter if they are Progressives or Conservatives, the science advice remains effectively the same. If you cannot bring yourself to read the IPCC's reports - or just the summaries - you could try the UK's Royal Society or US National Academy of Sciences - both long running science institutions with well earned reputations for integrity as well as competence; they draw on the very best experts in the world to make sense of complex science for policy makers and public. If you want sources that tell you it is a hoax fabricated by socialists and feminists I'm sure you can find them and you are probably entitled to choose to believe whatever you like - but for people holding positions of high trust and responsibility to turn aside from science based expert advice it is seriously irresponsible and negligent. I think encouraging the kinds of conspiratorial thinking that seeks to blame socialists and feminists and environmentalists and globalists and scientists in place of facing up to it - for political or personal advantage - goes beyond simple negligence and becomes potentially criminal negligence.
  7. Leaving aside the commercial opportunities from satellites - Earth based investors, Earth based customers, no (very expensive) astronauts - where are the private enterprise opportunities that subsidising space industry is intending to open up? It is still all (but for a tiny unsustainable part) payed for by taxpayers - and I am not seeing this emergence of private enterprise commercial opportunities from manned spaceflight apart from competing for government contracts. The big contracts they appear to be tooling up to chase are manned Moon and Mars missions, largely justified as steps on the way to colonies. They are not chasing real commercial opportunities on Moon or Mars; there aren't any - they are money sinks. The companies involved are sources and promoters of Moon and Mars colony hype in a circular arrangement. I don't think that is a good foundation to build on. Popularity of grand space dreams drives the taxpayer funding. The private industry part is built on chasing government contracts, with strong incentive not to look too closely at the assumptions built into those dreams. I really want to see some genuine commercial opportunities that can make space enterprises self sustaining, not taxpayer funded grand space reality TV.
  8. That is a fair point. Although I think not all government contracting is equal; I think fire hose makers and cleaning companies would exist outside of government contracting but launch capabilities for astronauts would not. Whether it is good use of tax money, like Prometheus said, becomes the question. Cleaning offices and supplying fire hoses gives tangible and prosaic benefits.
  9. It can make space programs less wasteful of taxpayer funds but it doesn't produce anything. Upstream eddies in a flow of taxpayer funds that goes downhill is how it looks to me; there is no market for manned launches except taxpayer funded and I am not convinced that doing it more will create commercial opportunities. It comes back to colonising The Moon and Mars as objectives - and those are hype driven populism, not rational or reasonable objectives. Possibly some extreme priced sightseeing might happen but that is servicing purely Earth based opportunities, a very limited market. It doesn't look like a foundation that serious self supporting space enterprise can be built upon. I see Mars colonies as a pointless waste and see bulk asteroid resources for the Earth market as the best opportunity there is (beyond near Earth purposes using Earth resources) - and I would probably start with crude, minimally processed nickel-iron and even that will still be very, very difficult and ambitious goal. Making it economically viable will mean putting the least equipment into space, with the least human presence. Some work for astronauts may be necessary - but it will be an emergent outcome of making a mining/transport/delivery operation least cost, ie astronauts will be used to save costs, not be a underlying goal, that adds costs. Most enthusiasts have putting the most equipment and most people into space as a principle goals and I think that is putting cart before horse.
  10. Resident space enterprise sceptic here - It looks like a private enterprise achievement but American taxpayers paid for it. If a business depends on taxpayer funded programs for it's commercial viability is truly Private Enterprise? It doesn't look like a big step from private contractors developing and supplying the components for NASA. As is standard space enterprise PR, it is presented as a significant step towards The Moon and Mars - which offer no commercial opportunities and that look like money sinks for no real purpose. To me it looks like those programs are the commercial opportunities, not The Moon or Mars. Which leaves us without any commercially driven space activities beyond communications and ground sensing, neither requiring or even benefiting from putting astronauts in space.
  11. Post coronavirus investment decisions could involve significant divestment from coal but I think that is more a continuation of pre-pandemic changes. Renewable energy can be a beneficiary of governments providing short term economic stimulus - projects tend to have relatively short planning and build times and that will make them appealing, whilst avoiding the opposition that new coal or gas investments will attract. A big element of gesture politics; I remain doubtful it will be deep political commitment to the transition to low emissions driving such choices. The growth of RE hasn't been built on deep mainstream political commitment; imo it looked more like a combination of "give em enough rope" and gesture politics, both of which tended to reinforce the popular (and politically expedient) perception that the issue was driven by fringe politics, and especially by unreasonable and unreasoning Environmentalists. Very few pundits expected wind and solar to deliver useful electricity, let alone do it at costs competitive with fossil fuels but once that line got crossed all presumptions that electricity producers would not willingly take it up went out the window. Certainly no cost comparisons (and predictions) based on historic data - even more than a few years old - remains valid in the face of that. Myself, I think Environmentalists have done what Environmentalists should when science confirmed we have a serious problem with modern humanity's biggest waste stream - CO2 waste; ie made a huge fuss about it. It is mainstream politics that has been unreasonable and unreasoning and has failed to live up to minimum expectations for trust, responsibility and accountability.
  12. Spotting the fallacies on the fly - during a heated debate - is not my strong point. Face to face is not my strong point and expect that dealing with any experienced debater with a full bag of rhetorical tricks would go badly for me. I can only suggest that doing your homework - including being familiar with the commonly used but false arguments as well as knowing the subject itself - will be essential. But be aware of the fallacy of the fallacy - ie that just because someone uses a fallacious argument it doesn't mean the conclusion is wrong, eg it may be a logical fallacy to argue that something is true because expert authorities say so, but it is also a logical fallacy to presume those experts are wrong; what the expert authorities say is most often correct, and will be based in turn on evidence and reason with more substance.
  13. Perhaps - But perhaps the most significant reason to engage in affirmative action is selfish - a society with unresolved conflict and division incurs significant costs, from higher levels of policing and home security all the way to riots causing widespread property destruction. Social division is expensive - potentially a lot more expensive than affirmative action. I don't know that missed out potential, from people living without straightforward pathways to educational and economic opportunities, strictly counts as a cost but it adds to everyday costs.
  14. I may not have worded it well, but I was not condoning police doing non-judicial "punishment"; quite the opposite. It is more evidence of failure of good governance. I expect that because of the primary reason for the protest there is a lot of ill will, more than many protests for other causes, no doubt from both directions - loyalty and sympathy to the police involved, irrespective of circumstances by many of their colleagues amongst police, distrust and anger at the police amongst protesters. That is not a good start, even for those intent on peaceful but determined protest or for police who think they have a point. There will be hotheads, even where there are not organised provocateurs or smash and grab criminals or police who think a show of overwhelming force - which is likely to be as ill aimed as random rocks thrown at police lines - is the correct response. Which can inflame rather than quell. If police want to operate with a de-facto blanket immunity from prosecution - and from the outside it looks like they do - they have to police their own internally, with zero tolerance that, if they cannot stomach criminal prosecution of their own, forces the unsuitable, incompetent and criminal out before they do too much damage. I have not seen much evidence of that in the police where I live, nor in the USA.
  15. I doubt there was intent to murder and likely the cop thought what he was doing would not kill the man - especially with bystanders recording. A bit of time honored unofficial "teach the scum a lesson", perhaps intended for the bystanders more than George Floyd, but gone wrong? Perhaps every attempt George made to struggle and shift to get a breath was taken as defiance - and so he was held down harder and longer? The rioting and destruction of property is counterproductive of course - and it won't matter that the vast majority of protest was/is peaceful. I don't know how Americans will reconcile their own history re Boston Tea Party being celebrated with property destruction as protest being innately wrong now; my own view is it WAS wrong back then too. I tend to see social unrest as inherently chaotic and easily incited to destruction and violence and it is potentially hugely expensive - that if legitimate and widespread grievances are not dealt with that kind of outcome becomes more likely. Not that property destruction is legitimate or that it will get the results wanted, but that it is a predictable outcome that good governance prevents.
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