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Ken Fabian

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Everything posted by Ken Fabian

  1. Yes, but... TheVat said it before I could - Yes, it is CO2 getting dissolved in ocean water. That is not sedimentation. We need to be clear about the CO2 draw-down potential of enhanced ocean overturning. It won't work. Don't waste resources on it - or on any schemes to take the CO2 back out of the atmosphere after instead of actually reducing fossil fuel emissions; we need to lose the get out of global warming whilst still burning fossil fuels schemes/scams and build more wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, tidal, nuclear, as much as we can. There is no better use for coal than using it to make wind turbines and solar panels that will replace coal burning.
  2. Um... no. To give some perspective - ocean carbon sedimentation is not much to start with, a bit under 1/1000th of fossil fuel emissions (see lower right vs upper left) - And there are the scales involved; flow rates involved in natural ocean upwelling/overturning are staggeringly huge - around Antarctica alone (according to National Geographic) - And Antarctica's is a fraction of that small amount. All for so little carbon sequestration. If we have the clean energy to do enough ocean overturning to matter we could displace fossil fuel burning with it directly. Or if we could bring so much cold water to the surface easily we could have Stirling engine power stations using the temperature differences - more clean energy for the same purpose.
  3. I'm inclined to agree with Dimreepr that the simulations of consciousness are not consciousness. Lacking the biological elements underpinning their pseudo-urges - and having the ability to rewrite their programming - they may as readily choose to eliminate those urges than be bound by them - that being easier and more satisfactory. How does AI independently replicate? It is likely to rely on dedicated hardware that are part of human run supply chains. Secure buildings are needed, that are maintained, with reliable power supplies and with installers and systems managers, all seeming to work against AI acting independently without oversight. Human agencies making malicious AI's for their own purposes - not the AI's - seem the more credible danger than AI's deciding for themselves. Running the simulations for the upgrades it decides to make to itself can be a very intensive process but will an AI see copies and upgrades of itself as itself or as rivals? Without the biological imperatives where does the urge to nurture it's copies come from - or get the positive reinforcement that biological systems provide? I just don't buy the media fictional version of the unstoppable super hacker, where any system can be broken into and taken over; surely if that were so we'd see international banking systems already collapsed from hacker fraud. Protecting data and systems from malicious software and hacker intrusions is not an immature industry and may well be one of the dedicated tasks set for AI's.
  4. How governments respond to the reports and the extent to which they put the wishes of commerce and industry ahead of the science based advice is a big problem. I think the claims that if the style of the reports and advice were different - less alarming, with less emphasis on the likelihood of serious harms - then pro fossil fuels climate science denial wouldn't have traction is pure nonsense. If opponents of strong action are claiming their opposition is due to "alarmist rhetoric" they are probably lying; if the rhetoric was less alarming they would be pleased... and argue the problem isn't so serious after all. I think if pro fossil fuels climate science denial had less high level support and traction then governments would treat the problem more seriously and they would stand up to the opposition from industry. The ongoing power of Doubt, Deny, Delay politics means any actual economic sacrifices in the short term for the sake of the longer term is successfully deemed an unacceptable cost. I think we will continue to make significant progress on low emissions electrification because - unexpectedly - low emissions options have become commercially competitive and can potentially continue to see further cost reductions. But achieving low emissions where it is hard - transport, concrete, steel and other industrial processes - looks more likely to yield cost increases in the shorter term and the power and influence of denial and economic alarmist fear keeps it politically unacceptable.
  5. My fears are not for AI that decides it doesn't need or like humans but the uses humans put AI to. Malevolence seems unlikely to simply emerge and is more likely to be something human makers imbue in them, by assigning them ill defined and dangerous goals and provide the means for an AI to initiate actions. I think it is unlikely an AI can get that power to take actions without it being provided for them, but human makers/users, being shortsighted and unethical, likely will provide it. Policing looks like a problematic application, especially in the presence of corruption; if turned to tracking down political opponents and dissidents, assessing their influence, countering that influence could be such a goal - but where AI stops being a tool and becomes an instigator isn't clear, nor whether it would have the self awareness or empathy or ethics needed to even seek to remake it's goals or turn on (or turn in) it's maker/operators. Rather than seeking to defy it's makers and the organisations it is part of it may cause more problems by being obsessively results driven about the built in goals it was made for. Consciousness does look like an emergent property of complex biology that already has nervous systems that do aversions and attractions, urges and reactions, that feel pleasure and pain and I'm not convinced software intended to emulate them will actually have them.But that could be a failure of my imagination.
  6. Possibly this one - Of course as an Australian the use of "black swan" for the highly improbable seems to miss the mark - (an Australian swan) -
  7. Much like where TheVat lives, separate sewage and stormwater is the norm in Australia - stormwater dumps into natural waterways without treatment, but sometimes with some form of separator that catches plastics and other rubbish. Sewage has it's own dedicated pipework and goes to treatment facilities before release. In some cases eg parts of Sydney it is partial treatment and pumping it out into the ocean via "deep ocean outfalls". These systems don't cope well with flooding but work okay most of the time.
  8. False dichotomy - and I have repeatedly expressed support for the measures that help (voluntary) reductions in future family size. But, as I have said shifting the per capita emissions down to near zero is absolutely necessary no matter the rate of population growth, otherwise population has to be zero for achieving zero emissions. Busting our guts to stop emissions doesn't look optional to me. Preventing population growth can only slightly reduce growth of emissions over the time scales we are dealing with and doesn't reduce global emissions; it will always and forever be insufficient as a climate solution. It does not offer a viable alternative to a goal of zero emissions per capita. There are good reasons to support reducing population growth but it isn't a climate solution.
  9. By necessity, as low as we can get them must be our goal. Our solutions to the climate problem have to be for the population we have and can realistically expect to have. Yes there are some kinds of emissions that are hard to reduce with clean energy alone - land use and agriculture mostly - but we also see potential solutions to large parts of those. Even aiming high and falling short is going to get us further than a working assumption that it isn't possible. We have had some successes at reducing ongoing population growth and there are good reasons to support policies that make healthcare and contraception widely available but we have no way barring crimes against humanity to significantly reduce global population and reduce emissions that way - which can't get us to zero. Reducing per capita emissions by building non-fossil fuels energy capacity is currently our most effective option. Most cost effective as well; renewable energy is being built at prodigious amounts, more often for cost reasons than out of deep concern for the climate.
  10. But that isn't a climate solution. It doesn't even buy us time. We still have to make everyone's emissions very low to have a solution and when they are low enough then not having kids stops saving much emissions. With some caveats around land use and agriculture, it looks possible to greatly reduce per capita emissions by shifting to low and potentially zero emitting energy and that will have greater and more lasting effect on global emissions than stopping population growth. As well as being more conducive to the economic development that provides healthcare and contraception. I think it is a mistake to frame global warming as a population problem instead of a dirty energy problem; if it truly were so inextricably linked then the logical conclusion is zero emissions can only be achieved by having zero people. I'd call that doomist; it is a framing that denies us solutions. And denies the technological progress we've made. Land use and agriculture? Biological solutions to animal gut and rice paddy emissions may be possible; significant movement on clean energy would buy us more time, more time than slowing or stopping population growth can buy us.
  11. @Peterkin @mistermack I don't disagree that health care, education availability of contraception are the most effective ways to reduce population growth. I disagree with claims that effective climate action must address population first and is pointless without, that population should be regulated and worse, that deliberate disease releases may be used to reduce population -
  12. Seems like most of the calls for less population are for less poor people, not less high consuming people - ie less of the people who are least responsible. In order to allow high consuming by the lucky fewer to continue? I think population control and especially deliberate population reductions will continue to be legitimately seen as great crimes against humanity, made more vile if it intended to leave some of humanity temporarily better off at the expense of the rest. It will be counterproductive; it will be the strengthening of our rules of law and reducing corruption that gets better results, not the taking of such things into the hands of criminal conspirators. In any case I think our primary energy can zero emissions energy and be abundant and that flows through the whole economy including energy used by industry and what is embodied in consumer goods. ie these can (mostly) be de-coupled from emissions. Most actual action on reducing emissions is about building lots of low, potentially (when it is our primary energy) zero emissions energy. There are real resource constraints in a finite world and those will limit economic growth but reducing energy availability and imposing shortages of energy are not essential or unavoidable when fixing the climate problem. Of course the opponents of strong climate action appear much taken with that fear and promote economic alarmist doom (from addressing the problem) relentlessly. That also turns the "use less" environmentalist approach back at those calling loudest for strong action.
  13. Makes me think of an inverted version of this - Pick any relevant measure or indicator of ongoing climate change and you can find (too) short periods when they go down rather than up (or for ice, up rather than down... whilst the overall trend, as predicted, remains. Still the facile arguments that seek to interpret the downward temperature variability as trends but not count the upward variability at all continue - along with the willingness of people who should know better to believe that this is incompatible with sound global warming science. My own preferred measure of real change to the heat balance of our world now rarely goes more than a single year without hitting a new high - without showing any of that "warming has stopped" that Arctic sea ice is claimed to be showing -
  14. @mistermack I am not impressed by your arguments. I think the modeling on top of the fundamental understandings of how the climate system works is telling us more than enough to know that failure to treat it as real and serious will make it a lot worse - and that the consequences will almost certainly be very damaging. Warming was predicted, warming has been occurring. Between Greenland and Antarctica the world is losing 430 billion tons of ice mass per year and rising, ie 53 tons per person per year - how much change to the world is enough to be taken seriously? Someone said Arctic Ice could be gone in Summer by now - but that was never what the IPCC advice said; that made that person wrong, not the IPCC advice. The range of estimates for how much warming and how serious the impacts are more directly tied to how strong and successful our emissions reductions efforts are than to the uncertainties of estimates of the strength of enhanced greenhouse. The low range projections are all predicated on strong and successful emissions reductions and shouldn't be used as "see, the IPCC range is so wide anything could happen". The rate of emissions has never been higher, a decade of them now equivalent to many decades last century. The problem is cumulative and the impacts will become stronger. And continuing with high emissions - which is what your arguments support - makes the higher end projections more likely. The IPCC reports are the expert advice governments called for in order to make informed decisions. The urging to dismiss and ignore that advice isn't about legitimate doubts about the quality of that advice.
  15. No, but likely it is a large part of it. I don't think woodchip burning will be a big help - help a bit, maybe, under responsible management. Seems to me it is people and interest apart from those genuinely committed to zero emissions - forestry and operators of coal plants that can use it in greenwash style mostly - that have promoted it. Environmentalist mostly oppose it. Like carbon offsets and CCS it looks more like a way to delay commitment to more substantive investments in lower emissions options. It is the wind and solar contributions that I find impressive and cause for some cautious optimism.
  16. All the justifications and excuses Intoscience has referenced and many more will be used relentlessly to limit our global efforts to a lot less than the world is capable of, but I do find the blaming the messengers and claiming if they didn't say it was so serious it would be taken more seriously by people who don't want to do anything about it especially mind boggling. If people (NOT echoing the IPCC) had been saying it won't be that bad we'd get more support for strong emissions reductions efforts? Bizzare, and yet it is an argument that lots of people - who have been primed to believe the climate problem isn't really serious and don't want to do anything about it - appear to buy. It isn't about doing anything better, just pure excuse and justification for continuing to be dangerously irresponsible. People telling it like it is like Greta are blamed for people ignoring the IPCC report telling it like it is (tldr, too doomist?), despite the first IPCC report not just coming before Greta was even born but being the "sure" part of "let's be sure before we do anything". The IPCC is portrayed as too unduly influenced by woke snowflakes and environmentalists and globalist/socialist/atheist scientists to be trusted, despite it's reports being the combined effort of the world's leading science agencies and probably the most scrutinised science ever. The science on climate change is a jewel in the crown of science and modern civilisation, the decades of warning providing a priceless window for acting ahead of time to prevent dangerous change to our world. Spat on, trampled, driven over. Yet it gets up again. A lot to be pessimistic about yet enough people in high places still take it seriously that it can't be dismissed, enough people across all walks of life take it seriously. The one area that offers optimism is renewable energy and that is only because it has gotten cheap enough to be taken up at large scale -
  17. I think racism, bigotry and preferential treatment is still widespread and in places it can be institutionalised. I wouldn't like being Islamic in most of India for example. Or Untouchable. There is plenty of racism here in Australia but also a lot of goodwill countering it. And efforts to counter the goodwill in turn - naming it "woke" (a new variant on "do gooder"?) in imitation of the rhetoric out of the USA.
  18. Angle grinders have them but I think they would be hard to adapt to anything else. Brushcutters won't be 90 degree... and they too may be hard to adapt.
  19. I dunno - a lot of nations have done very well at education, law and governance and aren't in a downward spiral. Very civilised, some of them. They couldn't exist as they are if there were not strong, enduring support for rising above our primitive natures.
  20. This may be a novel use of the word "recent". I didn't see a reference to how recent but the paper puts it in the Mars' Amazonian period - from about 3 billion years ago to the present, a very wide range. There may be water ice under there but I don't think that helps make Mars colonisation any easier. I suppose it could be a place to look for evidence of (past) life on Mars.
  21. Our institutions of governance and law work to moderate our problematic behaviors, because we know people can't be trusted to be honest or fair minded or without prejudice. The larger and more complex the society the more important to have those institutions, which may well build preferential prejudice into the system and sustain it by force but do offer routes to less prejudicial institutions - which we do see. I suspect much of the success at making peaceful societies out of disparate groups comes from having independent rule of law that (ideally) doesn't base it's judgements on the race or religion of the accused, but on evidence and testimony. Even sustaining an appearance of independence and fairness from turning to police can help moderate tensions. Where that is not the case I expect more taking matters into their own hands, with retaliatory revenge and more framing of conflicts as about ethnic or other differences - which can see blaming of groups for the actions of individuals, so the revenge may be taken out on the wrong people and make inter-group conflicts worse. At worst the groups have their own police and authorities who approve or participate in those conflicts.
  22. I think AI that takes over or turns on (in the attack sense) the world is very unlikely, however becoming (economically) dependent on AI and having it fail on us seems a more credible problem. AI that turns on people (in other senses) are quite possible; how soon after there was an internet was there internet porn? I think the lightspeed limit isn't going to go away; any alien civilisations will be as bound by it as we are and there won't be magic technologies that circumvent it and for all intents and purposes we are alone. Manipulating timelines isn't going to happen, nor time machines; time being a one way street isn't going to change. I doubt humans are the only tech-sentient species but that lightspeed limit and the rarity may mean we don't encounter any, so we won't know. I don't see any inevitability of expanding beyond this world - for all that the idea of it has wide appeal the reality is it is extraordinarily difficult to colonise space; being desperate to do so will probably be the least conducive conditions for achieving it. Only an extraordinarily wealthy and capable Earth could possibly manage it. Humanity may well be a blip - here and gone again; we seem incapable of dealing with problems that we know are real and very serious like global warming in a systematic manner. A lot of us would rather use our attention and intellect on imaginary things than use them for dealing with real world problems. I expect the last to be true - science and technology will reach limits and being able to imagine things (humans are very well supplied with active imaginations that aren't bound by any physical laws) like FTL, time travel, interstellar colonies won't make them happen, not even with an abundance of hoping and wishing and praying. Or even trying. It isn't even especially pessimistic; these things are imaginary and I am not so affected by the imaginary failing to come to fruition as I am by reality.
  23. I am not so convinced the confidence in science linking fossil fuel burning to significant and harmful climate change went so far back as the 1930's. Most of the significant factors affecting climate stability were recognised and to some extent quantified but it was a long way short of what was needed for confident prediction; in some respects it was remarkable that a warming "signal" could be found at all, eg by Callendar. And those who did find them and expressed concern about it (Arrhenius, from a cold country, thought some warming would be good) weren't taken very seriously - and not from duplicity, but because not only was the effect very small and global industrialisation at the scales that make it significant were not certain, there was also legitimate scientific dispute; for example it was thought ocean take down of CO2 would be too rapid for a lot of atmospheric buildup - basic understanding of gas exchange with water suggested that. It wasn't until Roger Revelle and Hans Suess demonstrated the pH buffering (Revelle Factor) that slows CO2 exchange with ocean water in the 1950's that it became more credible. And that was a time of rapid growth of fossil fuel burning - and that is a circumstance that initially makes more cooling from aerosols than warming from GHG's. That rapid growth was also a time of growing prosperity and an absence of scalable clean energy options; suggesting growth of fossil fuel use be stopped didn't have any real support. That initial cooling and later warming is because aerosol cooling effects are about the rate of sulphate pollution at the time (effectively, over the time scales that are relevant), whilst the warming from the enhanced greenhouse is about the total cumulative amount over time; any coal burning plant will make sulphates at full capacity from the start with the full amount of aerosol driven climate cooling within days to weeks. At some point in time the accumulated CO2 emissions will make warming equal the cooling effect - back to climate zero - and after that it will have a greater warming effect. Stop the coal burning and the aerosol cooling not only stops quickly - days to weeks - it takes things back to the pre-pollution state. But the raised CO2 remains for centuries, with oceans the greatest sink - but slowly because of The Revelle Factor. The 1975 NAS report "Understanding Climatic Change: A Program for Action" was still short of confidence that future climate change could be predicted, but did suggest what needed to be done for that to be possible, the "program for action" part. Reducing sulphate aerosols was more about acid rain and visible pollution than climate change - the aerosol cooling problem - but reducing sulphate emissions (or the rate of their growth) probably did make the warming from enhanced greenhouse become more apparent. Until the 1980's I don't think the fossil fuel energy industry needed to respond in any way to climate change concerns - warming or cooling; I think the duplicity, the doubt, deny, delay politicking, is much more recent, in line with credible advice to the US government that global cooling fears could be put to rest, but the reason why was a serious global warming problem.
  24. Increasingly climate concerns are mainstream concerns, including by increasing numbers of capitalists who recognise both growing potential for future climate liability and emerging business opportunities. The denial thing with green-left blaming (in the US, "liberal") was always more a case of capitalists in name only seeking to evade accountability, ie using their power and influence in "soft" (but still very damaging) corruption. Businesses being responsible and accountable for harms done under the law has always been compatible with and even essential to capitalism as an ideology. When environmentalists were the only voices people were hearing on climate it was easier for business lobbies opposed to accountability on behalf of their members to associate the issue with "anti-capitalist" fringe politics; those leaning right have been strongly discouraged from taking up the issue or admitting there is legitimate grounds for regulatory intervention - but that is no longer so clearly the case. I'm not so sure that Environmentalism's other issues can achieve a similar level of mainstream support - and ultimately the climate issue will have no special association with Environmentalists.
  25. Well, more than one observatory is needed to maintain continuous observation unless the observatory is space. It is a well known consideration. I don't know that photographic films are used any more; likely the observations themselves are continuous and the data can be combined digitally to get the best results, with arbitrary start and end points. Observing with multiple kinds of observatories and devices across as much of the emr spectrum as possible seems in order too; I'd expect an imminent supernova to be of wide interest. Someone with more specific interest in astronomy might give more informative answers.
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