- Simon Johnson of the IMF on the ongoing financial bailouts – Simon Johnson works for the IMF, and what he sees in the US approach to its financial crisis is much more similar to say, Indonesia or Russia, than a "normal" developed world economic mess. He sees a clash between the government, and an oligarchy, in which currently, the oligarchy is winning. Hopefully we'll get our act together here… as the IMF isn't going to be stepping in anytime soon. (tagged: financial economy pbs moyers crisis economics politics geithner imf )
- Bicycling's Into the Wild – Screw school, ride your bike into the forest and disappear. Almost sounds like me! Except instead of racing, I got into… grad school. Uh, hmm. (tagged: bicycle nytimes touring wilderness )
- Roubini, Taleb, Marx, Lenin, and Python – Indeed, asking Taleb and Roubini for stock tips is like asking Karl Marx who won the English Football Cup in 1949. (tagged: roubini taleb montypython krugman economy blackswan finance )
- The Orange Line Bike Path Buck Stops…Where? – Apparently there's a bikeway that parallel's the Orange Line bus rapid transit in the Valley. Who knew! Not the contractors who were paid $160,000 to maintain it, as it turns out. (tagged: ladot bike bicycle transportation bureaucracy )
- Whither the War on Drugs under Kerlikowske? – Wouldn't it be nice to have a sane drug policy? Seattle's notoriously reasonable police chief has been nominated to the position of Drug Czar. I wonder if the Senate will confirm him? (tagged: drugs marijuana obama politics war seattle kerlikowske czar )
PBS Tackles Global Warming: HEAT
I watched the PBS Frontline report Heat online. It’s 2 hours long, and explores the magnitude and difficulty of scaling back global carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050 (which is what the IPCC says is required). To be a success in my mind, I think it had to do four things:
- Convey the colossal magnitude of the problem, essentially requiring a complete re-imagination of the engines literally driving the global economy: fossil fuels and ever expanding resource consumption, and cooperation between nations and corporations on a scale we’ve never seen.
- Describe the potential costs of inaction, including sea level rise, possibly rapid decreases in agricultural productivity in some areas, water shortages in the world’s most populous regions due to melting glaciers, and ultimately, the irreversibility of the changes, due to positive feedbacks.
- Explain how solving the problem is difficult, politically: due to effective lobbying from old and currently profitable industries, and the inability of tomorrow’s potentially profitable “green” industries to effectively lobby, because they don’t currently have either the billions in profits to “invest” in DC, or a large base of employees represented as constituents. Economically: because there is no cost borne by GHG emitters, making the atmosphere a tragic economic commons.
- Provide at least an outline of what any potential solution will look like: It will have to be measured in terawatts, meaning the only two sources of power that are up to the task in the long run are solar and nuclear (with reprocessing and breeder reactors eventually). It will also require a method of turning electricity into some transportable high energy density form, like liquid fuels, or much much better batteries.