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How To Get There 12/01/20

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, January 12th, 2020 - 42 comments
Categories: Deep stuff - Tags:

 

This post is a place for positive discussion of the future.

An Open Mike for ideas, solutions and the discussion of the possible.

The Big Picture, rather than a snapshot of the day’s goings on. Topics rather than topical.

We’d like to think it’s success will be measured in the quality of comments rather than the quantity.

So have at it!

Let us know what you think …

42 comments on “How To Get There 12/01/20 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    A better path to the future is created by collaborating on the redesign of social media. Traditionally we leave it to entrepreneurs to invent new social tech – but the option of co-design is preferable. It may even be a necessity. Consider the consequences of current tech…

    “A dozen years after the invention of the printing press, the new technology had not yet left the city of Mainz.” “A dozen years after the invention of Facebook, by contrast, the new technology has spread to every corner of the globe. Some two billion people actively use the platform.” Thus saith Yascha Mounk, “Lecturer on Government at Harvard University and a Senior Fellow in the Political Reform Program at New America”.

    So we’re in phase two of globalisation now (phase one was corporate). Networks are replacing hierarchies. Stasis is giving way to anarchy. “Over recent years, it has been the populists who have exploited the new technology most effectively to undermine the basic elements of liberal democracy. Conservatives will say this is god’s will; realists will say this is the people’s choice.

    “The mechanisms that drive this transformation are laid bare in one of the most haunting studies on the rise of digital technology: a few years ago, Jan Pierskalla and Florian Hollenbach examined what effect the introduction of cell phone technology had had on remote African regions in which communication had previously been extremely difficult.”

    They discovered that “in areas where cell phone coverage with introduced, levels of political violence surged.” Why? How? Well, hostilities are organised via coordination. Government soldiers already have that, but rebels lack that capacity generally. Cell phones remedied the lack: they reduced the power differential. “All of a sudden, rebel groups rivaled government troops in fighting spirit and tactical agility. With many conflicts more evenly matched, they went on for much longer and proved considerably more deadly.”

    So, “in closing the gap between political insiders and political outsiders, it favoured rebels over the status quo, and the forces of instability over the forces of order.” This tilting of the balance in favour of chaos is a global effect of globalising techology. Humanity is challenged to think cleverly in response to this trend, to steer social media toward collaboration for peaceful coexistence. Less bitching, more fixing.

    Quotes are from the chapter on social media in Mounk’s 2018 book The People Vs Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save it.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      Nice comment Dennis.

      Networks are replacing hierarchies. Stasis is giving way to anarchy

      There are four classes of network; the first two minutes of this little video are a tidy explanation. The important takeaway is that there the form of governance needs to be matched to the context.

      While I understand how you were using the word 'hierarchy' above (in the context of the authoritarian or bureaucratic network models) it also has a broader meaning in the sense of 'an order of merit or competency'. For instance a medical specialist with decades of experience is innately further up the competency hierarchy than an intern fresh out of med school.

      Indeed whenever we create a system of values, then innately we are creating hierarchies, some things will align with and promote our values, others will not. The only way not to have hierarchy is not to have values … which normally for humans is impossible.

      • Ad 1.1.1

        Yes those first two minutes are great. Particularly liked the simple points of how each one has a negative when pushed too far.

        I'm convinced that the accelerated social media network technologies are disruptive to democracy. But we are well beyond the full dystopian or utopian phases of their meaning for us all.

        I'm sure the quote is hyperbole, but we've never had stasis.

        To me the key question you raise is:

        Which kind of network order best embeds the kind of value we are and we want?

        • RedLogix 1.1.1.1

          Which kind of network order best embeds the kind of value we are and we want?

          Well the simple answer is all of them, because the value system depends very much on context.

          The first and most primitive network was the authoritarian, highly useful because it meant groups of humans could be coordinated to respond very quickly to rapid threats in the environment. When confronted with a pack of predators, a human clan did not have the luxury of having a group hug and consultation … decisions, orders and actions had to be made within seconds. (And this only worked if there was loyalty to the leader.)

          As larger social groups arose this authoritarian model was supplemented by the bureaucrats rule based network. Leadership decisions were now formalised and could be promulgated widely, greatly increasing their effectiveness. (But again this works if people respect authority)

          Then in the past 1000 years or so we started experimenting with the democrat model. As we grew even more complex, diverse societies at the scale of the nation, leadership elites were no longer the sole repositories of wisdom. We therefore layered on top the democracy model, we gave everyone some small capacity to determine the nature of the leadership decision making. (But again this only works if everyone has some sense of common boundaries and purpose)

          Now the internet has enabled the fully distributed network model at a global scale. We are dabbling with something wholly new and disruptive. In the old world most of our problems were because we didn't have enough information, now we typically have too much. Is the 'wisdom of crowds' the correct response? In isolation no. If we extend the structure of the argument I have made so far, distributed networks might be best seen as a fourth layer on top of the existing three … an enhancement if you like, not a replacement.

          • Ad 1.1.1.1.1

            After the invention of the printing press, the state survived and modernized faster, but became far more complex in its forms.

            Same for the Catholic Church. Broke up and effectively much of it democratized.

            Although both sets of changes took innumerable wars, millions dead, vast accumulations to wealth redistributed across continents, and about 400 years to settle.

            This interwebby thing has had 30 years to revolutionize society – but is it really?

            • RedLogix 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes, yes. That's exactly the kind of insight which helps. From what you are saying we could project two broad outcomes … a dystopian view which says the future will always be more of the past and we are in for another '400 years' of war and devastation' to settle it.

              Or we could be more optimistic and presuppose we have one small advantage our ancestors did not … that we are aware of the danger we are in. Maybe this knowledge will be just enough to save us?

              Will the internet be the network change needed? In the nascent forms of the past 30 years it's not obvious. But one development has recently emerged which Peterson has argued will outstrip the printing press in terms of social change … unlimited streaming video. YouTube.

      • Dennis Frank 1.1.2

        Unfortunately the vid didn't include an explanation of holonic construction but their concept of meta-modelling did intrigue me. I agree governance ought to be context-driven. That's where the Green Charter principle about appropriate decision-making came from.

        I get what you're implying re hierarchy of values, and yes, I was just using it in the traditional sense. In the '80s, the term holarchy achieved currency.

        It reframed users into an holistic consciousness in respect of power relations. Gaia is a holarchy. It systemises multiple sub-systems via down-ward cascading influences. Lovelock's books illuminated a new view of nature from the inside. Ecologists have fleshed out the details of how those influences create dynamic cycles in ecosystems, Margulis explained how symbiosis works. And of course the networks and hierarchies in nature are just two dimensions of the supersystem.

        • RedLogix 1.1.2.1

          It's a truly weird little set of videos that challenged even my capacity for meta-speculation. 🙂 I only linked to it for the concise network/governance explanation …

    • Ad 1.2

      Your point about co-design is pretty important in the field of large infrastructure works.

      The amount of proposal challenge and methodology rehearsal is often really intense for the first few months. Independent Estimators will come in whom are very experienced in their fields and will push and push your programme with challenge and it is relentless, and bruising.

      But what emerges out the other side – ideally – is a team who are deeply respectful of each others' expertise, and deeply cooperative. It means they face crises as if they were fascinating problems under a lot of time constraint.

      Not many jobs are as good as that, but the good ones really tilt the way whole networks operate, and in turn how whole strata of society behave within the network they are building.

      • Dennis Frank 1.2.1

        Yes, working models like that are the key to implementation. If folks observe how they work in one context, they can deduce the general features of the design and test the plan in other contexts.

        I think the point you make re collaboration & ensuing culture is vital. I recall the TVNZ workshop on Al Gore's information super-highway back in 92 while the internet was in take-off mode. It was voluntary but got a large attendance, and brainstorming options for how the corp ought to exploit it was worthwhile. Pay per view (on demand) can out of that. But implementation co-design was by experts of course, not involving most of us.

        Not everyone wants to be a player in the game of co-designing a better future, but if we had forums for that at least those motivated could get stuck in.

    • Ad 1.3

      Denis,

      Before RedL and I disappear up our own fufu valves, why don't you just do a post of the effect of network technology on the evolution of the democratized state.

      The Mounk book looks intriguing, but I am sure you could stretch your legs and apply it to New Zealand without going too dystopic.

      • Dennis Frank 1.3.1

        It's a great idea. I appreciate the vote of confidence yet I'm not well-placed to deliver at present (for various reasons) – am able to contribute small efforts but anything more ambitious would take more time than I have available. I will retain a focus on this perspective, for sure, since it is the zeitgeist, and will post piecemeal from time to time. I agree a synthesis & overview for Aotearoa would be an excellent project for someone with ambition & intellect. Better done by a middle-aged person!

        • Ad 1.3.1.1

          Well then, send a few paragraphs through to MickeyS and that can be sent on to me to co-write if you like. I think I fit the age bracket you want.

  2. David Slack (Stuff): Is it hot enough for you yet?

    We have just two choices, they both take us into the unknown, and we have to pick one: give up fossil fuels and move to sustainability, or remain unsustainable and live with the consequences.

    We don't have "just two choices".

    If we "give up fossil fuels" (and some go as far as saying or implying this should be immediate and total) the consequences would be enormous. Virtually no more flying. Virtually no more shipping. Drastically reduced private and public transport. Countries that rely a lot on on fossil fuels, like the US, China and Australia, would have extreme energy deficiencies, with no way of switching to electric transport to any degree.

    The flow on effects of these changes alone would have a massive impact on our way of life – and would cost lives. We rely on fossil fuels for emergency services.

    There would be massive impacts on food production and distribution.

    Any sort of rapid change away from fossil fuels would cause far more problems than continuing on much as we are.

    Slack has omitted the obvious choice – work towards alternative energy options as as quickly as we can – far more quickly than we are at present – but without putting civilisation on Earth at risk of catastrophic collapse.

    https://yournz.org/2020/01/12/just-two-choices-fossil-fuels-or-sustainability-no/

    • Robert Guyton 2.1

      David Slack though, didn't say, "(and some go as far as saying or implying this should be immediate and total) ", did he?

      • Sacha 2.1.1

        Must be how he missed the truly awful impact on all our emergency services. Will someone think of the children!

    • Robert Guyton 2.2

      Councillor raises concerns over oil drilling in Great South Basin

      "An OMV oil rig has begun drilling in the Great South Basin this week.

      The COSL Prospector is in place off the coast of Otago, between Dunedin and Invercargill, and in the process of drilling its first of what could be up to 10 exploration and appraisal wells.

      Environment Southland councillor Robert Guyton has raised concerns over the exploratory operation, which he said shows a disregard for the climate crisis.

      "All the fossil fuel they extract will end up as in the atmosphere as gigatons of greenhouse gases," he said. "

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/118711128/councillor-raises-concerns-over-oil-drilling-in-great-south-basin

    • RedLogix 2.3

      That's a good argument Pete. After decades of distrust and polarisation the boundaries on the debate are becoming clearer. Business as usual is ruled out; despite all the efforts of the fossil fuel companies to protect their profits … nature is batting last and she will take us down if we make no change.

      At the other extreme, the idea that AGW was somehow the opportunity to dismantle our industrial economies, power down and/or die-off needs to be clearly ruled out of bounds as well. The life of billions depends on them in a myriad of complex daily functions that most people have little awareness of. We will take ourselves down if we try to change everything.

      Nature provides the template, the correct response to a changing environment is adaptation. We take what we have, and use it to build systems better adapted. From an engineering perspective quite the opposite of 'power-down', we need vastly more high quality energy sources that will allows us to stop exploiting natural ones. It's not so much a case of merely substituting fossil carbon energy sources with renewables (although there is nothing wrong in that) … but to transition our entire industrial systems of production away from a dependence on consuming natural resources altogether. And that is quite a radical vision.

      • Robert Guyton 2.3.1

        But, but…RedLogix! You write: "Nature provides the template, the correct response to a changing environment is adaptation." This is valid when the "changing environment" is the result of "something/someone else" but when it's happening because of your own exhausts, you do something about that: stop creating them , reduce them to the point where they're not going to kill you or divert them elsewhere. Our deadliest exhaust comes from our fossil fuel consumption. I agree with the proposal that we rally the resource and use it to forge a new, liable environment, but there's precious little evidence that we are doing that or are going to do that; air travel is increasing, sales of petrol powered vehicles increasing etc. Seems more likely that, while engineering solutions are vastly preferable, rough and ready, pretty ugly outcomes will be the change we should expect. The "pragmatists" you described last week only act when the chips are down and by that time, opportunities to engineer our way out of the calamity are lost, yes?

        • RedLogix 2.3.1.1

          My comment above takes a high level, long-term view of the challenge. In the short term I agree with everything you say; it's damned discouraging to say the least.

          We are all to some degree (even the marvellous Greta) part of the problem, we are all inextricably part of industrial system that is the problem. Ditch the shame and blame, it's not your fault. Engineers know that 99% of the time when there is an industrial accident the proximate cause may well be some individual fuckup, but the root cause often lies in systemic decisions and processes that happened years earlier.

          Ditch the ideologies; this is a complex challenge with many moving parts. There is no single silver bullet (not even the MSR machines I've been describing on another thread). Atmospheric CO2 balance is for all of it's depressing magnitude only part of the problem. How we manage the planet's living systems, oceans, forests and savannah's is an equally massive question. We need more wilderness not less.

          No single individual has all the answers, but collectively we have many, many levers available to us … we need to try them all and see which ones work, which ones don't. Again that's natural selection … how nature does it.

          I understand and deeply respect your skill with permaculture; it's not opposed to my skill at industry at all. The two must be made to complement each other, not oppose. At the moment us industrialists are still struggling with legacy systems from our biological past. For millions of years our sole source of energy was the sun, and the very low quality, diffuse energy we got from photosynthesis. Then we discovered coal and oil, a legacy from millions of years stored in a magically concentrated form, but still tightly coupled to the natural world.

          Then we discovered nuclear fission and within a century we will likely have fusion … the source of energy from the heart of the sun itself. At this point we will have a concentrated, virtually unlimited source of energy that is highly decoupled from the natural world. We will have transitioned from being children of the natural world, to being it's custodians. And then men and women like yourself will assume your rightful, honoured place.

          • Robert Guyton 2.3.1.1.1

            Thank for expanding your original ideas, RedLogix. I have a son who is a talented mechanical engineer and very astute thinker who blends engineer-think with wild-think and creates exquisite solutions to all manner of challenges, so I'm able to understand (I hope) what you are driving at. At the same time, I'm a councillor on a regional council where the engineers, the (ghosts of) catchment guys who designed the stop banks, changed the course of rivers, straightened and drained etc. still influence thinking around resource management, giving me cause to question whether the answers to present challenges can come from engineers at all. I'm conflicted. Should I give credence to the mechanical guys or the indigenous shamans, plant my potatoes in heaped rows or naturalise them under the canopy of a forest? Energy is seen as the centre the issue; do we need to replace fossil fuels with an equivalent sustainable/non-destructive energy source, or is changing our culture of excessive consumption of energy the only realistic way forward? I enjoyed your proposals re; left-meets-right, visionaries-hold-hands-with-pragmatists presented here on TS the other day and while I'm backing your conclusion and determination to back cooperation for the win, I'm not feeling yet, that we have the will, the time, the intellect, to make it fly.

            • RedLogix 2.3.1.1.1.1

              LOL … yes us engineers are the usual mixed bunch, innovators and 'arrggh the old ways are the best' (in broadest Scottish brogue) all mixed up in the same profession. What we all share however is an abiding pragmatism … to a fault.

              Energy is seen as the centre the issue; do we need to replace fossil fuels with an equivalent sustainable/non-destructive energy source, or is changing our culture of excessive consumption of energy the only realistic way forward?

              Yes energy is the central issue, or at least a big meta-narrative shortcut to a whole bundle of issues. Can I suggest an answer that's implicit in your question … yes we consume a lot of energy and resources … but what if we could do this in a manner that was not harmful to the planet, and therefore not excessive?

              • Robert Guyton

                " but what if we could do this in a manner that was not harmful to the planet, and therefore not excessive?"

                Of course. Mind you, given the harm we've already done, we'd better devise systems that improve the state of the planet, rather than simply not harm her any more than we already have. I struggle to agree that replacing fossil fuels with something harmless will a. happen, b. do much good, in that it'll allow all of our other degradations to continue at pace; if we can get away with transitioning seamlessly to a new wonder energy supply, why would we stop cutting down forests, pillaging the oceans etc?

                • RedLogix

                  Good challenging points.

                  if we can get away with transitioning seamlessly to a new wonder energy supply, why would we stop cutting down forests, pillaging the oceans etc?

                  Looking back into our history the main reason why we make big transitional technology changes is that the new tech is cheaper and more efficient. It's why buggy whips are now consigned to museums and online BDSM stores. Similarly we will stop flogging the planet for resources when we can access them in more efficient ways.

                  Let me spell out my thoughts on 'how to get there'. A sort of summary of the past week or two.

                  For most of our evolution we relied on photosynthesis, a dilute and very low quality energy source. The societies we built on this basis were often very clever and quite sophisticated, but always ran into the hard limits of their energy supply. Once they got to a certain size they outgrew the carrying capacity of the territory available to them.

                  Then we learned how to burn coal in efficient steam boilers (the Babcock Wilcox steam tube boilers are an often underappreciated breakthrough tech that dramatically improved the thermodynamic efficiency of coal burning, these are the machines which really powered industrialisation.) This enabled us to bootstrap an industrial civilisation that has so far outstripped anything prior, and at the same time human population has increased at least six-fold. But coal and oil are just stored, concentrated sunlight from millions of years ago, they remain part of the carbon cycle. We cannot use them indefinitely, they have served their role as transitional energy sources but the end must be planned for aggressively.

                  Solar PV and wind are also great transitional technologies, they enable us to create high quality energy directly from the sun without unbalancing the carbon cycle, but they remain diffuse and require vast amounts of land and resources to implement at the scale necessary.

                  Nuclear fission and fusion both promise to break this trap, they offer energy sources that are high quality, concentrated and zero carbon. By tapping the energy of the sun directly, instead of the indirect, diffuse and weak forms that arrive as sunlight we finally decouple from the need to exploit nature in order to build civilisations. It's my view the advantages will be so compelling that all prior tech will simply fade away.

                  I realise this is a restatement of much I've already said above. I'm also aware in vivid detail of exactly how we fucked up the opportunity to do nuclear fission safely and effectively; it's a very long and sobering story that I could write a small book on. Others have. I don't want to be seen minimising the very real fears and often justified objections people do have toward existing fission tech. I long understood it to be flawed and my view on that has never changed, if some idiot proposed building a PWR station in NZ I'd be in the queue to lie down in front of the bulldozers. But I truly believe MSR’s are our second chance at getting this right.

                  Eventually we will solve the nuclear fusion puzzle. That has to be the destination to keep in mind. It would change everything, it would reshape how we do everything technical and industrial in ways I can only dimly glimpse. But for instance, it would mean we could directly extract excess CO2 from the atmosphere at a meaningful rate to get climate back into balance far sooner. Or we could extract bulk metals directly from the ocean, and recycle materials close to 100%.

                  For decades now the left has trapped itself into an apparently hopeless bind; we knew that we couldn't continue to consume resources as the developed world was doing, but leaving the developing world in poverty was neither morally supportable, nor sustainable for the environment anyway. What I'm suggesting here may be a path through this.

                  I've focused here on just restating my vision from an energy perspective, but this is only one layer to the narrative. Every time we progress to a new technology, huge social and political upheaval and transformation comes along for the ride. But this comment is way overlong already.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Thanks, RedLogix…but…I think I understand your reasoning and certainly I admire your faith in energy technologies and humans' ability to increase its sophistication, but I gotta say, and this is a big sticking point for me, if there's no metanoiac change in
                    human culture, the next iteration of "energised humans" will just hasten our demise through the effects of our other, associated behaviours. I don't see, and I can't see where you've explained, how our culture (dissociated from other living things, selfishly exploitative etc.) will change. You wrote: "Similarly we will stop flogging the planet for resources when we can access them in more efficient ways." but I find that impossible to believe; old habits, old, old, old habits especially, are seemingly impossible to break. Why, for example, would a society stop favouring tourism, with it's peripheral damages; poo on the roadsides, homogenising of cultures, exploitation of locals, desecration of previously pristine sites, simply because we can power our "tourist vehicles" with safe renewable energy? I can't see that replacing a destructive energy with a benign one would change those other, equally planet-destroying "habits" we've developed. You state your confidence in the transformative power of … the new power, by saying: "Every time we progress to a new technology, huge social and political upheaval and transformation comes along for the ride. " and perhaps you might cite some of the benevolent, world-enhancing changes that occurred when humans shifted from say, wood to coal; changes that didn't simply exacerbate the problem that is the humans race. I know advances in medicine etc. can be thought of as "good" but have they helped or hindered us/humankind in our "mission" to live sustainably, or for that matter live for any length of time, on the earth?

                    • RedLogix

                      and perhaps you might cite some of the benevolent, world-enhancing changes that occurred when humans shifted from say, wood to coal;

                      Our wood burning permaculture ancestors were very smart, tough people, I admire them intensely. But no matter how good they were, they could never break the tyranny of photosynthesis.

                      When we got coal, we got far more besides. Our culture, our politics and our sensibilities changed as well. We got the end of chattel slavery. The emancipation of women from domestic drudgery. The provision of safe water and sewerage treatment. Universal education and suffrage. A doubling of human life expectancy.

                      With oil we got a freedom to travel and our personal horizons became global. The narrow boundaries of our villages and cities were overcome by global trade, communication and the movement of services and capital.

                      Yet in the view I outline above, all of this is a transitional phase, albeit a turbulent one. The 'energy miracle' I'm proposing would almost certainly have a profound social and moral impact. While I can dimly visualise it's industrial implications, I can only broadly guess at it's political ones. But it's my guess that it would become the platform to enable us to do globalisation properly …

                      Your question has gotten me thinking though. Jonathon Haidt has written about a proposed sixth moral value … liberty. A much misunderstood virtue, most people imagine this to be the freedom to do anything you please. In truth quite the opposite, true freedom is found in submission to ethical constraints. Maybe a society released from the tyranny of ancient natural constraints, must indeed adopt new ones of a higher order that it might survive at all.

                    • Graeme

                      Here you get to the reality of our problem Robert.

                      At some point in our evolution we went from being Homo sapiens, the wise, to Homo destructor, the destroyer. (I've taken the liberty of re-clasifing our species as Varroa has been re-clasified) If we don't change our intrinsic behaviour we will destroy our host environment in the same way that Varroa will destroy a bee colony if left to it.

                      The question is how is that behaviour changed and is it possible with out quite drastic intervention. Maintaining a bee colony certainly requires pretty drastic intervention.

                      What interventions would you propose, and how would you rate their chances of success?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Thanks to the desperate natural enthusiasm of a few to break the bonds of (sometimes poorly understood) natural limits ("the tyranny of photosynthesis"; "the tyranny of ancient natural constraints"), humankind has achieved amazing understanding at breakneck pace.

                      The application of this knowledge has led to humankind's greatest achievement – no, it's not the ability to goes charging up pristine streams in gas-guzzling 4WD vehicles; the 'achievement' is 7.8 billion and counting. The planet, and all its other inhabitants have been figuratively bent over backwards to suffer the growing pains of 'our' increasingly unnatural existence – what are ‘we‘ transitioning to?

                      A recent fictitious advertisement urges (very wealthy) prospective clients to live in "A world of fantasy", "A world without consequences"; to "Live without limits" – so appealing; what could possibly go wrong?!!!

                    • RedLogix

                      @Drowsy

                      I see that you still find 7.8b humans an inconvenient and bothersome number. I have a link for you.

                      And yes the world we already live in is beyond the wildest imaginings of our great grandparents. What makes you think another 200 years will not see even more change?

                    • pat

                      @ Drowsy

                      not a Fallon Worldwide campaign by any chance?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Red, as one of the 7.8 billion I personally find that number neither inconvenient nor bothersome, although I can understand why it would be convenient for you to believe this. Whether or not ‘7.8 billion‘ is “inconvenient” for the other amazing species of planet earth is something we could consider asking together.

                      Do you find natural limits inconvenient and bothersome? I don't – "A man's got to know his limitations." wink

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      @pat: Thanks; needed some tracking down, and yes, "Less is More", not to mention "Small is Beautiful".

                      https://iwmarketing.wordpress.com/tag/fallon/

                      A contrarian opinion might be "Go Big or Go Home", except we're already home.

                      I gave the dice a roll
                      And then we lost control
                      You know we're lucky that we survived
                      'Cause when we jumped the ship
                      Oh, man, that boat, it flipped
                      But we should do it all again tonight

                      I'm thinking life's too short it's passing by
                      So if we're gonna go at all
                      Go big or go

                      go big or go home
                      (Go go) go big or go home
                      (Go go) go big or go home
                      (Go go) go big or go home
                      (Go go) go big or go home

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_Big_or_Go_Home_(song)

                    • pat

                      @ Drowsy

                      Just realised its not a real ad though its theme echoes Citibank's (by Fallon Worldwide) "live richly" campaign….just before the GFC and their bailout

                    • RedLogix

                      @Drowsy

                      Just small tug on your chain 🙂

                      And that 7.8b is slated to rise about another 20% or so before it peaks at around 10b. Assuming nothing catastrophic happens.

                      As I've said earlier, that means that for every 1 person already stressing the planet from an industrial resource perspective, there are going to be another 9 demanding to join us. Excluding them is not morally supportable, and doesn't help much because the poor are tough on the environment in different ways.

                      I think we agree on what a profound paradox and challenge this represents. It's my view the only way forward is to transform our industrial civilisation so that it can support 10b people living fully developed lives, fully engaged in the modern world. And the only way to achieve that is to develop clean, concentrated, high quality energy sources at massive scale.

                      Yes it could all go wrong, but in my view it's our best bet.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "It's my view the only way forward is to transform our industrial civilisation so that it can support 10b people living fully developed lives, fully engaged in the modern world."

                      @Red: We agree that's a great goal; such ambitions for the future set humankind on the path to where we are now, and it's been a great path for me.

                      There are several ways to transform our civilisation(s) now; IMHO it would seem unwise to have no backup for a path that relies on limitless clean energy, just in case that energy generation isn’t realised, or is realised and doesn’t solve ‘our‘ other ‘disbelief in limits‘ problems.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Graeme. I appreciate your reclassification suggestions, but don't quite agree with what you've come up with smiley You said:

                      "At some point in our evolution we went from being Homo sapiens, the wise, to Homo destructor, the destroyer."

                      I wonder if a better model might be the Matriarchal/Patriarchal model, where the homogenous "wise" Goddess societies are contrasted with the hierarchical "destructor" God-King societies; the former being holistically linked to and mindful of all living things and the latter being what we have now in the Western World.

                      You also wrote:

                      " If we don't change our intrinsic behaviour we will destroy our host environment " and it's the word "intrinsic" that cried out to me there: what is our nature? As primates, we functioned as other primates do today, primarily as a male-dominated hierarchy; the males have bigger bodies, teeth and doses of testosterone (this is rough science, I'm sure there will be exceptions) Perhaps we are bound to behave this way until we are extinct, but perhaps not (I think, not) as there have been and are examples of "goddess" societies throughout our development from little primates to what we are now, where cooperation, altruism, kindness; love essentially, was the essential quality. To me, this is where the solution to our present predicament lies.

                      You ask: "What interventions would you propose, and how would you rate their chances of success? "

                      I propose that we adopt the ways of the goddess societies, think like them, feel like them, behave like them, talk like them, use their language, do as they do/did and see what eventuates. I know this sounds entirely un-pragmatic and frustrating to the civilised humans that we now are, but the model we're presently using and have been victim to for the past 10 000 years isn't serving us very well, is it.

    • Robert Guyton 2.4

      I followed your "selfie-link" Pete. You wrote,

      "We also have problems on both sides of the climate change debate."

      Like you said of David Slack, "We don't have "just two choices"."

      • Pete George 2.4.1

        I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

        But of course the important choices need to be made somewhere between the extremes of doing nothing, and stopping using fossil fuels and changing the world's democratic and economic systems.

        It isn't clear what choices will be best for us – it's impossible to be sure how changes will pan out.

        The noise on the extremes seems to dominate. I think our Government should be doing much more to lead discussion about which choices we should be making, and should be doing much more to initiate changes much quicker than seems apparent.

    • weka 2.5

      My reply to you turned into a post,

      How fast can we transition off fossil fuels?

  3. Robert Guyton 3

    Lord Monckton on " the childish myth that global warming caused the bushfires in Australia."

    Using the phrase, "swivel-eyed loon" as a tag would be childish, I suppose.

    Here's the dnl smiley

    https://archive.md/umEZH

    • RedLogix 3.1

      Childish maybe, I'd go much further. Monckton crossed over the line years ago; he is an outsider.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Yascha Mounk just got a new job. "Late last year, he was hired by Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies as an associate professor of the practice of International Affairs." https://theoutline.com/post/7123/yascha-mounk-tells-people-what-they-want-to-hear?zd=1&zi=g2jdqdru

    Having ascended to the pinnacle of global influence by age 36, he has attracted the wealthy & powerful enough to warrant an in-depth examination of his cultural impact.

    "His canny embrace of the thought-leader hustle has coincided with the rise of what political theorist Corey Robin recently called the Historovox, a “complex of scholars and journalists” colluding to produce a “new genre of journalism that forgoes the pedestrian task of reporting the news in favor of explaining it through the lens of academic research.” These explainers — as frequently published in the New York Times and Washington Post as at Vox or Slate — combine the news cycle’s myopic presentism with a pseudo-academic appreciation for longue durée, a frothy mixture that cheapens the value of empirical reporting and historical analysis both, perfectly suited for an audience intoxicated by “context.”"

    "Mounk, with an academic background in political theory and a perch from which to opine on the day’s news, is well positioned to play both sides of this game. It doesn’t really matter, in the Historovox, whether Mounk’s theories about liberalism or his ramshackle historiography are correct or well-regarded in the academy. The important thing is that they’re intelligible to a general audience and reducible to 1,500 words."

    "But it’s not only writing and speaking gigs that have kept Mounk busy. In March 2017, Tony Blair funnelled £10 million ($13.2 million) from his foundation into a “non-party platform” called “Renewing the Centre” to be run out of his eponymous Institute for Global Change, and hired Mounk to oversee it. “Renewing the Centre” is the newest of the Blair Institute’s four pillars, which also include “Co-existence,” “Governance,” and “Middle East.”"

    Best way to renew the centre is by making it genuinely progressive. I wonder if Mounk will think of that? His profile writer is unimpressed. Not having read much of the book (see #1) yet, I'm reserving judgment.

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