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thelurkerawakens  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 20, 2019

Haven't picked up Meditations for a while. Enjoyed it and likewise found a few sentiments that resonated. I couldn't however get out of my head how monumentally poor succession planning such a wise statesman made.

thelurkerawakens  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 20, 2019

I am actually in a pub waiting to meet a new guy joining my team at work in a month, so thought killing time with a pubski post makes sense. It is that or following the live developments of the self inflicted shit show that is Brexit unfolding.

I am totally preoccupied by Brexit. It effects my work, my hopes for the future and relations with the older elements of my family who show no regret for their vote despite decrying the current debacle. At work it was my job to give the Brexit preparation update and I tried to frame it as a mental health picture: knowing the difference between your circle of care and circle of influence - anxiety comes from focussing too much on the one you can't effect. It came across credibly enough but in reality I am finding it difficult to make the separation. This feels like a coup in slow motion by arrogant rent seeking public school boys.

In any event I have cashed in my one weekend off per year with my wife and have booked myself on a coach to London to join the march for another more informed referendum. In truth I would prefer a genuine soft Brexit that maintains trade in its current form and keeps consumer protection in place. But that is not on the table, so for the first time in my life I am taking to the streets. Wish me luck!

Don't fight it! Help the hair-loss and shave that cue-ball.

Spend the money and time you save trying to fight genetics or at the barbers and spend it at the gym. Bald men with good general figures age pretty well. Between the age of 35 and 55, few will be able to guess your age at all.

At least that is what I tell myself.

This article bothered me more than it should. After some reflection wondering why I think it breaks into a few things, some of which have already been mentioned.

Firstly, the author's casual disregard of the Laws of Thermodynamics in critiquing the implications of scaling up such technology is rather surprising given he holds a PhD in Geology. ThurberMingus already pointed out that the energy required to turn CO2 back into C + O2 would be AT LEAST (2nd Law, entropy sucks) as much as was generated by its first burning. Of course as Devac says it may hold up should you have a huge quantity of renewable energy at your finger tips, but while someone in the world is burning coal, then any energy you use to reverse the oxidation process of coals is going to be greater than was generated so you are simply going to make matters worse.

Secondly, the reason for getting excited about this apparently is that other sequestering technologies trialled by among others the author's former employer, Shell, are very expensive. So some discussion on why they are would be helpful. The general challenge with sequestering as I understand it is a combination of three tricky things: 1) CO2 in the atmosphere is very spread out, it doesn't collect conveniently in the corner of the room (Again, 2nd Law). 400 parts per million means you have to process through an awful low of air. The density of air is 1.2 kg/m3 of which by weight CO2 is 0.06% or 0.7g. So to even collect 1T of CO2 in the air - you need to get through 1.4 million cubic metres of air - fair enough a jet engine can suck this much up in half an hour or so, but that is hardly a cost effective machine. 2) Once you have collected the air you then have to scrub the CO2 out from it using some form of chemical reaction, so this air needs to be put through a reactive liquid or surfaces that can remove at a high degree of efficiency. If you can only scrub out 50% of the CO2 for example then you would need another 1.4million cubic metres of air to suck into your reactor. 3) Then in order to sequester the CO2 you need to take it into an inert non gaseous form through pressure, temperature, solvent or chemical transformation.

So based on these three challenges, this tech seems only to speak for problem 3). Of course if you put your reactor on the chimney of a power plant, 1) and 2) become much easier, but then you can't solve the energy problem with renewables. This is starting to sound a bit more like that perpetual motion machine I have in my attic or the cold fusion reactor in my car.

In any case the article is not specific on what problem the tech is trying to solve so hard to place it.

Finally the closing comment states "The international research team from Germany, China, the United States and Australia believes this is a first step toward an abundant and inexpensive method to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and repurpose it as solid coal." Well they would wouldn't they, research funding is so vital to their daily bread. In the end though I am left wondering whether articles like this just give enough of an excuse for folks to simply have faith in technology solving everything rather than confronting the tough choices now. Don't get me wrong, sequestering is going to be a vital tool. But like Applewood I feel, nature has provided us with both plants and the oceans - both huge carbon sinks, that promise more than reversing the combustion process.

Maybe I have got the wrong impression here, so please jump in and correct me. Wanted to test whether what was bothering me about this is just me.

thelurkerawakens  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Who Is Left on Hubski?

Name: Lurkerawakens. I did for a bit then went to sleep again.

Location: Manchester, UK

Age: not yet 40.

Current preoccupations:. Parliamentary procedure in response to a massive hubris filled experiment in crossing direct democracy with representational democracy in a post truth age (Brexit). That plus feeling I really need to get out of my current bizarre niche industry and do something that actually helps me sleep at night. Also got a couple of little ones - constantly anxious like any parent that we are not screwing them up.

Previous preoccupations: Ecology and Supply Chains, History, anything unexpected or counterintuitive, the road least travelled.

Role or Purpose? Wish I knew.

A "Sense of Justice" may well be universal and constant for any social being that forms communities with its peers.

"Justice" itself however is formed from these communities and can only be effective within them with a single sovereign power (Monarch or Constitutional Office (e.g. The President)). For more on this read Hobbes' Leviathan and subsequent enlightenment thinkers.

Therefore it is clear that Justice in our mortal experience is neither constant nor universal as there are many communities with different degrees of justice that are inconsistent with each other.

So effectively your question leads the answer towards concepts that only a Monotheist would argue for, needing a sovereign, omnipotent and eternal power in which Justice could flow in an existence beyond our mortal experience.

Interestingly what came first do we think? Our ideas of Justice or Monotheism?

Within the logistics fraternity all the focus is on shifting more onto water from air, road and rail. eCO2 per Tonne-km is roughly 1% of airfreight, 10% road and 50% of rail. I think this fact has allowed the Sea-freight community to keep off the hook until now. So great to see the realization that complacency of being the most efficient mode of transport should not get in the way of radical improvement. There are some appallingly old and inefficient shipping stock on the seas and the economics of the industry sometimes create odd conditions where lanes can be underutilized despite there being cargo available at a price above marginal cost.

That being said if it was my choice to invest a tonne of CO2 anywhere it would be on shipping. Compared to Air transport which either moves only the wealthy or the goods and services that the wealthy consume, Sea freight impacts the lives and well being of almost everyone on the planet.

So the question is... what the hell are we going to do about aviation?

This article reminded me of the excellent BBC Radio series "A History of Britain in Numbers" from a few years back where it illustrated quite excellently just how far we have come in 150 years. The presenter was the Head of the UK statistics agency and one of his summary statements near the end of the series was so good I had to transcribe it:

"It’s easier to romanticise the past than the present. People know every blemish on the here and now and we dwell on them our daily toils and woes with a foul cry of injustice over the late running of the 8:03. At the same time, familiarity can create the habit of taking the good for granted. It doesn’t make for a balanced judgement of how we are doing [….]

To me the groaners have it the wrong way round. Today we live beyond the dreams of our ancestors. If you doubt that: pull out half your teeth; solve your pension problem by dying early; contract TB; quarter your income; make your home more affordable by stripping out the toilet, hot water, heating, phone line and let it grow damp, dark, cold and overcrowded; cancel all leave bar bank holidays and work, WORK, HARD until you drop. If you are a woman give up all hope of the same freedoms and opportunities as men and have four or five extra kids the mourn the death of a few of them in infancy."

thelurkerawakens  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Would you rent a watch?

I would have rented a Seiko Kinetic only on the basis that they seem to die just after the warranty period and in operating rental models that is the problem of the asset owner. It would force them to actually make them to last! (That's how my last two watches died and three years on I haven't missed having a watch.)

From what I read on the Circular Economy this is the key sustainability benefit of renting... making the manufacturer design things with life cycle costs fully optimized, not just to limp over the warranty window at the point that someone will be stuck into buying an upgrade.

The article ends comparing Social Media with the early car industry, suggesting that a suitable response is specific regulatory requirements (Seat belts, lead free paint, etc…). It finishes with the point that the conversation needs to start now… Then says nothing. Another “something must be done” article.

So in the interests of actually doing something. I wonder what ideas we have?

Here are my straw men, ready for you all to burn them to ashes:

1) Responsibility to retract. It is too much to expect an independent body to fact check anything looking like news before it is published. But this is the case with old fashioned newspapers as well. After the fact allow a mechanism for a particular article to be brought before a judicial review board and if judged intentionally incorrect then the media company must issue a retraction to any feed that got fed that particular article. Applied today then every other feed would probably be a retraction notice rendering social media suddenly less engaging. In turn this incentivises FB, etc… to exercise judgement in what they take on rather than sitting on the side lines going “Free Speech. Not our job to regulate.”

2) Visible sponsor. On any article that is “Sponsored” full traceability needs to be provided to find who commissioned the article. Admittedly this would probably end up being an innocuous sounding shell company (Friends for Free Information and Kittens inc.) and inevitably you would end up running into Dark Money, but at least to the discerning consumer it would erect an additional defence against the BS.

3) Commentary is less clear and I have few ideas, but that being said any commentator that re-tweets/reposts an article in effect binds themselves and the social media platform to the responsibility to retract in the future. In the end though one’s own comments are less dangerous as I suspect most savvy social media consumers can spot trolls and shills quite easily.

For once the Brits get to see something well before the US! The whole series is stunning - wait for the Octopus!

The BBC can sometimes create some amazing content, only the blockbuster stuff like this, Dr Who and some other stuff gets marketed outside the UK. There are some seriously excellent radio programmes that go into some great depth into subjects and connect to some of the best minds in the field. For those who digest info by audio book, there are some amazing resources like "In Our Time" and "The Life Scientific" that can't be found anywhere else.

I usually have no idea what I am talking about either, but given this is rumination....

Reading around it seems a lot of analysts are taking the same approach. There is some debate around the velocity of Bitcoin (how many transactions in a year would a single unit account for). Interestingly many pundits are suggesting Bitcoin should be measured with a velocity of ten, which is similar to hard cash in many cases. Velocity of 10 * 21 million BTC asymptote gets 210million transactions per year or $3tn at current valuation.

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