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21 thoughts on “Monday Message Board”
Great radio show (long) – ” The formula – the new science of success – ABC Radio National ” . Scientific research showing (proving ?) how success in various different fields is not due to skill, intelligence or truth alone. Luck and relative position in existing networks play a huge role in most fields. Just one example from many – elite sports peoples birthdays cluster around months that meant they were a bit older and bigger than their peers at school in their country of origin .
Looks like Sinn Fein will be one of the government parties in Ireland, after the weekend elections.
A united Ireland, with an independent Scotland, look inevitable. It’s just a matter of timing. The Brexit Little Englanders will have got what they wanted. Congratulations to them.
We forget about what (d)lies beneath?
Fungi, 12Gt of carbon, where are you now? At 1bn yrs we now need to rewtite the tree of life. 2 to 3m species of fungi – 2-300k described!
“At governmental level, scientific neglect of Australian fungi continues: in the country’s National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for 2010-2030, fungi are mentioned only once, in the caption of one illustration,and some states currently lack mycologists in their respective fungal reference collections. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fungi_of_Australia
“Forest die-off following global-change-type drought alters rhizosphere fungal communities
Globally, forest die-off from global-change-type drought events (hotter droughts) are of increasing concern, with effects reported from every forested continent. While implications of global-change-type drought events have been explored for above-ground vegetation, below-ground organisms have received less attention, despite their essential contributions to plant growth, survival, and ecosystem function.
“Disruptions to rhizosphere fungal communities, such as altered functional groups, can have implications for ecosystem persistence and function, particularly in regions projected to experience increased global-change-type drought events.”
“Drought consistently alters the composition of soil fungal and bacterial communities in grasslands from two continents
The effects of short-term drought on soil microbial communities remain largely unexplored, particularly at large scales and under field conditions. We used seven experimental sites from two continents (North America and Australia) to evaluate the impacts of imposed extreme drought on the abundance, community composition, richness, and function of soil bacterial and fungal communities.
“Our results provide evidence that drought has a widespread effect on the assembly of microbial communities, one of the major drivers of soil function in terrestrial ecosystems. Such responses may have important implications for the provision of key ecosystem services, including nutrient cycling, and may result in the weakening of plant-microbial interactions and a greater incidence of certain soil-borne diseases.”…
Or Glob Chang Biol. 2018 Jul;24(7):2818-2827. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14113. Epub 2018 Mar 26.
“Water relations, drought and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis
Robert M Augé
Mycorrhiza 11 (1), 3-42, 2001
“Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi can affect the water balance of both amply watered and droughted host plants. This review summarizes these effects and possible causal mechanisms. Also discussed are host drought resistance and the influence of soil drying on the fungi.”
“The sum of the biomass across all taxa on Earth is ≈550 Gt C, of which ≈80% (≈450 Gt C;SI Appendix, Table S2) are plants, dominated by land plants (embryophytes). The second major biomass component is bacteria (≈70 Gt C; SI Appendix, Tables S3–S7), constituting ≈15% of the global biomass. Other groups, in descending order, are fungi, archaea, protists, animals, and viruses, which together account for the remaining <10%. Despite the large uncertainty associated with the total biomass of bacteria, we estimate that plants are the dominant kingdom in terms of biomass at an ≈90% probability (more details are provided in the SI Appendix). Above ground biomass (≈320 Gt C) represents ≈60% of global biomass, with below ground biomass composed mainly of plant roots (≈130 Gt C) and microbes residing in the soil and deep subsurface (≈100 Gt C).
Only a small amount of fungi marine, with most terrestrial.
"Other evidence shows trees use fungal networks to warn their neighbours about impending attacks from pests.
"When trees are attacked, they increase their defence against the invaders by upregulating their defence genes to make defence enzymes," says Simard.
"Research suggests they also send chemical signals down into their roots through their mycorrhizal networks to their neighbours, which then detect these signals and upregulate their own defence genes."
"Lab studies have recorded defence signals travelling between trees in as little as six hours, says Simard.
"She says when fungal networks are intact they allow a greater diversity of trees, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, to survive in the forest.
"This diversity is the basis for forests that are resilient to disease, pests and climate change, says Simard."
"One billion year old fungi found are Earth's oldest
"Fungi are among the most abundant organisms on the planet and are the third largest contributor to global biomass after plants and bacteria.
"They are six times heavier than the mass of all animals combined—including humans.
"The study was published in the journal Nature."This means that if fungi are already present around 900-1000 million years ago, so should animals have been," he told AFP.
"This is reshaping our vision of the world because those groups are still present today. Therefore, this distant past, although very different from today, may have been much more 'modern' than we thought."
BaU? As is? what next for an “economically sustainable network”?
“More (or less) economic limits of the blockchain
Joshua Gans, Neil Gandal 06 February 2020
“Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin rely on a ‘proof of work’ scheme to allow nodes in the network to ‘agree’ to append a block of transactions to the blockchain, but this scheme requires real resources (a cost) from the node. This column examines an alternative consensus mechanism in the form of proof-of-stake protocols. It finds that an will involve the same cost, regardless of whether it is proof of work or proof of stake. It also suggests that permissioned networks will not be able to economise on costs relative to permissionless networks.”…
Cue Guy McPherson yet again on the aerosol masking of climate heating underpinning his “nature bats last” thesis of unavoidable global ecological collapse, civilisation collapse, and human extinction – none of it pretty:
Aerosols have an outsized impact on extreme weather
Date: February 3, 2020
Source: California Institute of Technology
Summary: A reduction in manmade aerosols in Europe has been tied to a reduction in extreme winter weather in the region.
Re that ecological collapse, see same journal same day:
Past climate safe havens now most vulnerable
Date: February 3, 2020
Source: University of Adelaide
Summary: The profound threat of future climate change to biodiversity demands that scientists seek ever more effective ways to identify the most vulnerable species, communities, and ecosystems. Scientists have now shown that the most biodiverse regions on Earth are among the most vulnerable to future climate change.
Sandbag and Agora have issued their annual report on the European power sector in 2019, focussing on a 24% (!) one-year fall in coal generation. The executive summary (https://sandbag.org.uk/project/power-2019/) is nicely done, with lots of good charts.
Addendum to the map in section 5 on coal phase-out dates:
– The three non-EU Western European countries, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, are already coal-free.
– It’s true than Spain has not set a phaseout date, but it’s a sure thing. Teresa Ribera has already done the hard part, with an agreed and compensated shut-down of Spanish coal-mining. The surviving coal power stations run on imports dug by miners in Colombia etc. who don’t vote, so it’s just a haggle about money with the generating companies. These are now in a weak position as Spain finally has a non-caretaker if minority government, and the fractured opposition has SFIK abandoned denialism.
The collapse can only speed up. Even in Poland, the sector has fading political leverage along with its social licence. Many grid managers can get on very well without coal, which is annoyingly inflexible.
James, they state coal in western Europe fell 24%, but CO2 emissions fell by only 12% during 2019. Half the coal in western Europe was replaced by gas… they say. I don’t quite see how they are able to say “Europe’s transition avoided a bridge into gas”. Further to that is there reliable data (Russian old, and 2019 expanded imports?) on the fugitive emissions from that gas? There is next to no
reliabledata for fugitive gas emissions in Australia. I assume if at all possible that it is worse for Russian gas.
Spain also received a good mention in RollingStone by Greenpeace on the inside at Davos:
How to Tackle the Climate Crisis and (Hopefully) Save the Planet
Greenpeace Executive Director Jennifer Morgan explains that, while the fight against climate change may seem dire, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Namely: Europe, women, and young people
By Ryan Bort
Terrds Ribera is just as hawkish on climate as Nicolas Hulot, but he was out of his depth as a major minister and she is not. She didn’t work any miracles at COP25, moved from Chile to Madrid very late in the day, but did not let the side down either.
Svante “by Greenpeace on the inside at Davos:”
Here is rhe quantum supremo on Davos, and Just for this phrase; ” and recrudescent know-nothing authoritarianism.”
“Quantum supremo Scott Aaronson on Davos…
“(2) despite the headlines, the data show that the world really has been getting better along countless dimensions … except that it’s now being destroyed by climate change, general environmental degradation, and recrudescent know-nothing authoritarianism.
“The above, for me, represents the true spirit of Davos: a conference at a Swiss ski resort that costs $71,000 to attend, held on behalf of the ideal of human equality
“So, alright: having now attended Davos, do I have any insight about its role in shaping the future of the world, and whether that role is good or bad?
“Umm. The case against Davos is almost too obvious to state: namely, it’s a vehicle for the world’s super-mega-elite to preen about their own virtue and thereby absolve themselves of their sins. (Oddly enough, both liberals and conservatives have their own versions of this argument.)”…
Spain… The South Australia of Europe.
The problem is that the political class, along with much of the economics profession, have done worse than the Bourbons, of whom Talleyrand observed “they have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing”. Leading economist Paul Romer recently observed, echoing earlier comments by Robert Gordon, that macroeconomics has been going backwards since the early 1980s.
Much more in lengthy article…
“The Dismal Kingdom
Do Economists Have Too Much Power?
By Paul Romer
“One such failure is prescription drug regulation. In the United States in 1990, overdoses on legal and illegal drugs accounted for four deaths per 100,000. By 2017, they were causing 20 deaths per 100,000. A little math reveals that this increase is a major reason why average life expectancy in the United States lags so far behind that in western Europe today. A recent paper by four economists—Abby Alpert, William Evans, Ethan Lieber, and David Powell—concluded that OxyContin, the opioid-based painkiller that generated billions in revenue for the U.S. pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma, was responsible for a substantial fraction of those new drug overdoses.
“Imagine making the following proposal in the 1950s: Give for-profit firms the freedom to develop highly addictive painkillers and to promote them via sophisticated, aggressive, and very effective marketing campaigns targeted at doctors. Had one made this pitch to the bankers, the lawyers, and the hog farmer on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve back then, they would have rejected it outright. If pressed to justify their decision, they surely would not have been able to offer a cost-benefit analysis to back up their reasoning, nor would they have felt any need to. To know that it is morally wrong to let a company make a profit by killing people would have been enough.
“In a 2010 settlement with the SEC, Goldman conceded that in marketing the product to clients, it had omitted both the role of Paulson & Company in designing the product and the hedge fund’s bet against it. According to the SEC, investors soon lost over $1 billion; Paulson & Company, by taking the opposite position, earned approximately the same amount.
“Jensen quickly realized that Goldman’s behavior was cause for concern, and he inveighed against the cultural changes that had eroded the firm’s erstwhile commitment to integrity in its long-term relationships with its clients. Banks were, Lemann quotes him as saying, “lying, cheating, stealing.” It “sickened” Jensen that senior executives had avoided jail time in the wake of the financial crisis that followed.
“He [Jensen] seems not to have lost his faith that one more adjustment to the system might restore the miracle of the market. But he has not found that adjustment. He ended his professional career preaching the gospel of corporate integrity to empty pews.”
“The alternative is to make honesty and humility prerequisites for membership in the community of economists. The easy part is to challenge the pretenders. The hard part is to say no when government officials look to economists for an answer to a normative question. Scientific authority never conveys moral authority. No economist has a privileged insight into questions of right and wrong, and none deserves a special say in fundamental decisions about how society should operate. Economists who argue otherwise and exert undue influence in public debates about right and wrong should be exposed for what they are: frauds.”
“…According to a civil lawsuit later filed against Goldman (but not against Paulson & Company) by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman had included in the investment product mortgages that Paulson & Company believed were likely to end in default…
Voters, too, have their doubts, in the United States and beyond.”
..Hence the ongoing dumping of the Clintonite Dems, traditional GOP conservatives, and the turn to Trump. Hence the voters turning away from the same old rubbish still served up by major parties here and turns toward the populist minors and independents.
This morning I heard CBA share price jumped 2% immediately after it informed the Ponzi driven bubble that it will maintain its dividend. It’s Goldman Sachs economists et al there, and here, 3rd best performing economy in the world yet ranking 65th for complexity behind Uganda, it’s RBA, APRA, ASIC, ATO, ALP, LP, NP, Goldman Sachs’ Malware Haynes et al. As always it’s falling watermelons. Cue the classic:
Different hobby-horse. ARM have just released designs for its latest embedded microprocessor, along with a specialised machine learning adjunct. (https://www.anandtech.com/show/15494/arm-announces-cortexm55-core-and-ethosu55-micronpu) These are tiny – “we’re essentially talking about fractions of a mm²” – and intended for devices much simpler than ARM’s mainstay, smartphone CPUs and GPUs. Think of a toaster or remote control that responds to your voice.
Why does this matter? There is an evolutionary battle going on, not only over the direction of AI, but over its *location*. Siri, Cortana and Alexa mostly run in the cloud, in the huge server complexes of their creators, respectively Apple, Microsoft and Amazon. They may appear to be at your service, but it’s their owners that control what they do for you. ARM designs chips for the edge not the cloud; it is making a play for this market too, but making slow progress against Intel. A typical edge device is one the user (you) owns and controls. ARM is a profit-seeking corporation and not a champion of your liberty, but it is at least neutral, and its chips have the potential (no more) for AI at the service of individual citizens rather than plutocracy. This won’t come automatically, we will have to fight for it. At the moment it’s as if Jeeves’ ultimate loyalty is to Aunt Agatha not Bertie Wooster.
There are luckily strong technical reasons for pushing AI to the edge. It’s very risky to rely on a connection to the cloud for an application where safety is essential, like driving. That’s why Tesla’s self-driving software uses the cloud for learning from the masses of data reported daily by every Tesla car, but the latest instance of the operational program resides fully in each separate vehicle. Engineers will certainly deploy ARM’s devices in a host of appliances.
Time series analysis of ambient air pollution effects on dynamic stroke mortality
Li Luo, Yuting Dai, Fengyi Zhang, Mei Chen, Fang Chen and Fang Qing
International Journal of Health Planning and Management, 2020, vol. 35, issue 1, 79-103
“… The results indicated that PM2.5, PM10, O3, and CO had significant effects on dynamic stroke mortality, which were stronger for older people and during the cold season. This study helps hospital managers, patients, and governments seeking to prevent and control the effects of air pollution on the risks of stroke.”
Do they?…”Their maps of family ties, respect for parents et cetera coincide with the global map of economic growth today.”
Hofstede, Inglehart and beyond. New directions in empirical global value research
Tausch, Arno (2015): Hofstede, Inglehart and beyond. New directions in empirical global value research.
“Today, societal and economic development is discontinuous; regional centers of the world economy shift at an enormous speed; and above all, religion and family values can be an important assett in the stability of capitalist development. Economic growth inexorably shifts away from the North Atlantic arena towards new centers of gravitation of the world economy. Alberto Alesina’s and Paola Giuliano’s new maps of global values (Alesina and Giuliano, 2013) present a real break with the hitherto existing secularistic consensus of global value research. Their maps of family ties, respect for parents et cetera coincide with the global map of economic growth today.”
Assessing the Global Climate in January 2020
January 2020 was the warmest January on record for the globe
“The globally averaged temperature departure from average over land and ocean surfaces for January 2020 was the highest for the month of January in the 141-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. ”
“Today, societal and economic development is discontinuous; regional centers of the world economy shift at an enormous speed..”
Empirical evidence of declining global vulnerability to climate-related hazards
“We quantified the dynamics of socio-economic vulnerability to climate-related hazards… Results show a clear decreasing trend in both human and economic vulnerability, with global average mortality and economic loss rates that have dropped by 6.5 and nearly 5 times, respectively, from 1980–1989 to 2007–2016. We further show a clear negative relation between vulnerability and wealth, which is strongest at the lowest income levels. This has led to a convergence in vulnerability between higher and lower income countries. Yet, there is still a considerable climate hazard vulnerability gap between poorer and richer countries.
Natural hazards continue to cause increasing damage and loss of life. Natural disaster costs globally reached US$314 billion dollars in 2017, more than double the yearly average cost over 2007–2016 (CRED, 2018). Key drivers behind rising losses are exposure changes in terms of rising population and capital at risk (Bouwer, 2011;
Visser et al., 2014), as well as better reporting (Paprotny et al., 2018), whereas evidence is growing that anthropogenic climate change is modifying weather and climate extremes (e.g. Donat et al., 2016; Spinoni et al., 2017). Recent independent studies project a further increase of climate hazard impacts in the future connected to anthropogenic warming and socio-economic drivers (e.g. Bouwer, 2013; Winsemius et al., 2016; Dottori et al., 2018; Forzieri et al., 2018; Vousdoukas et al., 2018a, 2018b)…
…In NatCatSERVICE there are no drought events for which fatalities are reported, whereas the number of heat waves with reported economic losses is less than 30 (Fig. 1). We therefore only look at human vulnerability for heat waves and at economic vulnerability for drought.”
Many references cited. One for “global warming”, four for “climate change”, two for “fire”:
Gall, 2015 Gall Melanie. “The Suitability of Disaster Loss Databases to Measure Loss and Damage from Climate Change.” International Journal of Global Warming 8.2 (2015), pp. 170-190
Bouwer, 2011 L.M. Bouwer Have disaster losses increased due to anthropogenic climate change? Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 92 (1) (2011), pp. 39-46
Gall, 2015 Gall Melanie. “The Suitability of Disaster Loss Databases to Measure Loss and Damage from Climate Change.” International Journal of Global Warming 8.2 (2015), pp. 170-190
Khan and Kelman, 2012 Shabana Khan, Ilan Kelman Progressive climate change and disasters: connections and metrics Nat. Hazards, 61.3 (2012), pp. 1477-1481
Mechler and Bouwer, 2015 R. Mechler, L.M. Bouwer Understanding trends and projections of disaster losses and climate change: is vulnerability the missing link? Clim. Change, 133 (1) (2015), pp. 23-35
Jolly et al., 2015 W.M. Jolly, M.A. Cochrane, P.H. Freeborn, Z.A. Holden, T.J. Brown, G.J. Williamson, D.M.J.S. Bowman Climate-induced variations in global wildfire danger from 1979 to 2013 Nat. Commun., 6 (2015), p. 7537
Turco et al., 2016 M. Turco, J. Bedia, F. Di Liberto, P. Fiorucci, J. Von Hardenberg, N. Koutsias, M.-C. Llasat, F. Xystrakis, A. Provenzale Decreasing fires in mediterranean Europe PLoS One, 11 (3) (2016), Article e0150663
I saw the above cited on a climate change trolling site (ht tps :// climatediscussionnexus.com/2020/01/08/safer-from-climate-disaster-than-ever/).
They cited it to back an argument for funding fossil and nuclear power in Africa instead of renewables as the way forward to increase wealth and reduce vulnerability and deaths from natural disasters (ht,tps :// wattsupwiththat.com/2019/12/29/climate-alarmist-banks-go-carbon-colonialist/).
I fail to see how the paper linked above backs their arguments for fossil or nuclear fired electricity for Africa.
However, I’m not so sure about the anti-agw trolls’ claims that eight or more African countries are set to markedly expand fossil and nuclear electricity generation after “the AfDB (African Development Bank) caved in to carbon colonialist pressure… In September 2019, the bank announced that it planned to begin scrapping coal-fired power plants all across Africa, build “the largest solar zone” in the world, and pull funding for the Lamu power plant. “We’re getting out of coal,” Mr. Adesina said. “Coal is the past, and renewable energy is the future…The bank now says almost nothing about coal or even natural gas. Its new themes include: responding to global concerns about climate change, gradually adopting a “low-carbon and sustainable growth path,” significantly reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and transitioning to “green growth” and “clean renewable energy…”
“..Botswana, Tanzania and other countries recognize that their continent is rich in coal, oil, natural gas, hydro and uranium. They intend to utilize those resources… “under no circumstances are we going to apologize” for developing Africa’s oil, gas and coal fields, Equatorial Guinea energy minister Gabriel Obiang Lima has said, adding it is “criminal” for any non-African to suggest that Africa should ignore any resources it has… South Africa’s new Integrated Resources Plan includes coal and nuclear, and all forms of energy, as appropriate to a given time and situation… South Africa’s trade unions now see that solar and wind will not create jobs or prosperity; they promote coal power for inland areas where coal is plentiful, and nuclear for coastal regions where water can cool reactors. Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Rwanda all appear prepared to join SA in going nuclear – and Zambia has a new Zambian Atomic Energy Agency (ZAMATOM), headed by Dr. Roland Msiska; it has begun building a nuclear center and preparing for a new generation of small modular nuclear reactors…
…“I am tired of being lectured by people in rich countries who have never lived a day without electricity,” says Nigerian Sam Bada. “Maybe they should just go home and turn off their fridge, hot water, laptops and lights. Then live like that for a month and tell us, who have suffered for years, not to burn coal.””
The two promoters have cut off funding for Poland’s one new coal power station, 5% completed. (https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/02/14/no-more-money-for-polish-coal/ )
EU policy makes it uneconomic. Poland has a populist right-wing government that has waved the sooty flag in the past to get elected, but is shifting its ground on coal under pressure of the facts. Cf. Modi and Bolsonaro. That’s a tag for Morrison: “dumber than Bolsonaro”. ( I never said Modi was dumb).
I will probably re-post this on the next Monday Message Board with additional information. I think we can be fairly certain that the authorities are not telling us the full story of the coronavirus outbreak. The data (and lack of data) coming out of China are very concerning.
“The World Health Organization says the official name for the disease caused by the new coronavirus is Covid-19… The word coronavirus refers to the group of viruses it belongs to, rather than the latest strain. The virus itself has been designated SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Researchers have been calling for an official name to avoid confusion and stigmatisation of any group or country.” – BBC News
Covid-19 is the official name. SARS-CoV-2 is the taxonomic name. This is backed up if you visit the CDC website. To admit it was a new form of SARS virus would apparently cause too much panic so the public is fed a somewhat disingenuous name.
Turn off the overly-dramatic music. No need for that, The numbers say it all. The potential 1-2% death rate of the coronavirus is concerning. IMHO all nations need to be taking far more stringent precautions than currently.
Gorgon is moving towards burying 4 million tonnes of carbon a year and has already buried 1 million tonnes. Santos claims it will bury 20 million tonnes a year for 50 years in the Cooper Basin. Combined that is a little less than 5% of our total emissions. Maybe CCS should not be ignored. The capital costs of the Gorgon project are around $600 million per million tonnes so around $600/tonne – ignoring other costs and ignoring the time value of money and then supposing this project too had a 50-year horizon that would work out at $12/tonne. Really rough back of the envelope calculations – it would be nice to see some decent estimates.
Iko: “I think we can be fairly certain that the authorities are not telling us the full story of the coronavirus outbreak. The data (and lack of data) coming out of China are very concerning.”
WHO underestimates the spread of the Coronavirus
Date:February 14, 2020
Source:Umea University Summary:The coronavirus probably has a stronger ability to spread than the World Health Organization has estimated so far. This according to a review of previous studies of the coronavirus’ transmissibility.