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5 years ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Hurricane season again · 1 reply · +3 points

SRM geoengineering should certainly be researched, to create an option if all else fails. There are two problems: it's very risky and you can't run useful small pilots (Royal Society report from 2009); it's world government, even if carried out unilaterally by a hegemon (who would then own all the fallout). The politics are harder than the technology.

Prayer? This should be taken seriously, in a religious country like the USA. You can misuse prayer as an abdication of personal responsibility, or use it properly as a way of reinforcing it by sorting out what's up to you in the situation (vaccinate your children, build the bloody Ark, defy the Sanhedrin) and what is out of your control and up to God (stopping the deluge).

May I suggest you think about what I discovered above (discovered, not speculated) about US attitudes to renewable energy. The large majority in favour does not only consist of the minority of climate hawks, but includes supporters for many other reasons. And early deployment subsidies, for EVs or solar panels, necessarily benefit the better-off first: but they are the best and proven way to drive prices down the learning curve, and become money-savers for the poorer. California's mandate for solar on new construction (at under $2/watt) will benefit all classes. Cleantech subsidies are not equivalent to those for grand opera.

5 years ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Hurricane season again · 0 replies · +2 points

The like/ dislike buttons seem to disappear on a smartphone.

5 years ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Hurricane season again · 8 replies · +8 points

Maybe the householders flooded out by Florence will continue to be receptive to talk of "more R&D and more realistic discussion". But if I were were you I would stay out their way, especially as their chainsaws still probably work.

Photo credit WP/Getty

The call for delay through R&D, touted by Bill Gates as well as you, is especially tiresome. Mark Jacobson's 100% renewable scenarios rely largely on existing technology. He fudges a little in specific areas like steel, cement, shipping and aviation, but the technology roadmap is clear and plausible even there. In his bad-tempered spat with the pro-nuclear Clack, the ready feasibility of an 80% decarbonised electric grid was common ground. the disagreements were over the role of nuclear (Clack) and the conversion of dams to large-capacity burst mode (Jacobson). 80% is a decade away in any case, and the menu of options will be wider when it becomes a practical issue.

No, what's needed is not debate but more action on multiple fronts, using the tools to hand: wind, solar, CSP, batteries, pumped hydro, demand response, HVDC interconnectors, electric cars, buses, and trucks, low-emission traffic zones, heat pumps, smart controls for homes and commercial buildings. And an end to legacy subsidies for fossil fuels, if we can't have a proper carbon tax.

R&D can bring us further cost reductions in all these technologies, which will be a nice bonus and speed up the transition, even if the current state of the art will do. Where we still absolutely need R&D is on sequestration: beyond net zero, gigatonnes of carbon will have to be sucked back out of the atmosphere. There are plenty of good ideas, but only reafforestation is shovel-ready, and its scope is limited by conflicting land uses.

5 years ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Manafort Matters · 1 reply · +1 points

“Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.”

5 years ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Ahead of My Time? · 2 replies · +2 points

Hey! I made this fatuous point first! Get your rubber tanks off my lawn this instant!

While we're OT, the inflatable tanks strewn across Kent by Operation Fortitude in 1944 were an extremely risky ploy. Had the Germans a single spy or fifth columnist in the area with a bicycle, he could rapidly have found them. and unmasked the deception. The whole inflatable ziggurat of Patton's First Army would have been breached, and the Wehrmacht very probably drawn the right conclusion that the invasion was to be in Normandy. Luckily (though it wasn't really luck) the Abwehr did not have so much as a bike on the ground.

A gun of the type envisaged in the Second Amendment: http://howtosurviveit.com/wp-content/uploads/2014...

5 years ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Ahead of My Time? · 2 replies · +2 points

Tut, tut, but Levine talked of gunpowder which hasn't been used in ammunition for a century. Therefore his views on gun control are plainly completely worthless, cf. libruls going on about "machine guns" and "assault rifles". /gun nut rant.

Trace chemicals can also be used to track shipments of explosives, though that problem has receded,

5 years ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - The free lunch revisited · 1 reply · +3 points

IIRC a great number of these impressive coats of arms were fabricated under the Tudors to meet the demands from nouveaux riches who'd done well from the suppression of the monasteries. One of the court heralds providing this remunerative service was a Dutchman, who started by fabricating his own device. The Wimberley coat of arms fits this story perfectly. When William Wimberley was a fighting man, he fought under the banner of the Stanleys, not his own. The independent coat of arms (we made it!) came only after the fighting was over.

5 years ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - The free lunch revisited · 0 replies · +1 points

No apology called for - it was I who overrreacted. (Or should it be me who over-reacted?). Grammar is a curiously explosive subject. They almost came to blows in France over a plan to abolish the circonflex accent. Being a traditionalist, I stick to the classique spellchecker. The diacritic does cue for a difference in pronunciation, inherited from the vanished letter s.

5 years ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - The free lunch revisited · 6 replies · +1 points

That is a head scratcher. Who's right, some of the greatest writers in the English language or the arbitrary rulebooks cooked up by ignorant fusspots like Strunk and White?

Americans seem peculiarly susceptible to the snake oil touted by grammar peeves from their soapboxes in schoolrooms, newspapers, and social media; no doubt expressing the anxiety of a nation of immigrants determined to show their mastery of a new language to be accepted. (I use the subjunctive and future simple in French, but few native speakers bother.) It's less toxic than the Australian Cringe that inflicted Rupert Murdoch on a suffering world, but still annoying.

James Wimberley, M.A. (Oxon). I confess I am tempted by the snobbish view probably held by my marginally genteel ancestors since 1485: English is our language, made by us, and we can do what we like with her.

5 years ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - The free lunch revisited · 9 replies · +1 points

I am perfectly in order, Sir. To quote an informed Economist piece (https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2016/04/06/why-both-i-and-me-can-be-right):
"Taller than me is not some recent grammatical laziness; it has deep and sturdy roots in the finest English. Prepositional than appears in the 1560 "Geneva Bible" translation ("a fool's wrath is heavier than them both"), Shakespeare ("a man no mightier than thyself or me"), Swift ("she suffers hourly more than me"), Samuel Johnson ("No man had ever more discernment than him") and so on."