Forum: Ruby Goodbye Ruby - Hello Earth

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Christophe M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 02:25
Hello Fellow Humans,

I want to keep this short, but I could write a
book if I wanted to. I am the author of DRP
a relatively unpopular and decaying GEM.

I am not a very frequent poster to the list
and not a particularly vocal member of the
community. I have however been enjoying Ruby
for the past 8 years of my life. In fact I
would call Ruby one of the loves of my life.

I am writing today to say my goodbyes to Ruby
but also to computers and everything else which
we know is destroying our planet, yet which we
continue doing in our denial and madness towards
inevitable annihilation.

This is not a suicide letter, I am going to study
permaculture which I think is one of the few chances
we still have. I am going to try to make a small dint,
but it is only in mass that we will succeed. This is
the endgame.

Some of you will have a very strong and angry reaction
to this email. Please try to reflect on why you might be
quite so angry.

In any case, please take my word that this is
a sincere and heartfelt farewell. If any of you
who are watching the world unfold and are experiencing
similar feelings, or are starting to feel cracks in
your shells, please feel free to contact me privately,
and I will be glad to speak with you. I am not a
psychotherapist but I may have something to contribute,
besides we have Ruby at least in common.

Goodbye Ruby my Dear,
Christophe
Bill K. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 02:34
(Received via mailing list)
From: "Christophe M." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
>
> I am writing today to say my goodbyes to Ruby
> but also to computers and everything else which
> we know is destroying our planet, yet which we
> continue doing in our denial and madness towards
> inevitable annihilation.

We are toast in a billion years if we don't get off this planet.

http://www.universetoday.com/2008/01/31/will-earth...


Regards,

Bill
Michael G. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 02:42
(Received via mailing list)
On Apr 8, 2009, at 3:34 PM, Bill K. wrote:

> We are toast in a billion years if we don't get off this planet.


Yum, toast!

I, for one, will be holding aloft a vanilla-bean crème brûlée so that
I may greet our kind and gentle red giant master with a perfectly
caramelized sugar crust.
winter h. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 02:42
Christophe M. wrote:

> I am not a very frequent poster to the list
> and not a particularly vocal member of the
> community. I have however been enjoying Ruby
> for the past 8 years of my life. In fact I
> would call Ruby one of the loves of my life.
>
> I am writing today to say my goodbyes to Ruby
> but also to computers and everything else which
> we know is destroying our planet, yet which we
> continue doing in our denial and madness towards
> inevitable annihilation.

i am too...  that sitting down at the desk for 10 to 12 hours a day, not
exercising my body very much...  so i wanted to do something more active
every day, like teaching kids how to swim or something.

even a lamp can be bad for us as we use it to stay up late and research
showed that if we sleep after 11pm it hurts our liver and recovery
system for the body.

but then, maybe computer, tv, lamp are just tools... like a knife...  if
we use it a little or wisely, then it can be to our advantage.  if we
use it way too much, then it can hurt us.
Mark G. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 03:44
(Received via mailing list)
On 9/4/09 6:25 AM, Christophe M. wrote:
> Christophe
>
Farewell and good luck!

Mark
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 04:45
(Received via mailing list)
Christophe M. wrote:

> I am writing today to say my goodbyes to Ruby
> but also to computers and everything else which
> we know is destroying our planet, yet which we
> continue doing in our denial and madness towards
> inevitable annihilation.

You must do whatever makes you happy. If you are not having fun, then
you are
not doing anyone, anywhere, any good.

And always remember: If you are not part of the problem, then you are
part of
the solution!
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 07:02
(Received via mailing list)
On 8 Apr 2009, at 23:42, SpringFlowers AutumnMoon wrote:
> even a lamp can be bad for us as we use it to stay up late and
> research
> showed that if we sleep after 11pm it hurts our liver and recovery
> system for the body.

oh dear, on that basis I'm screwed then :(


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Mike S. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 10:40
Christophe M. wrote:
>  computers ...we know is destroying our planet>
> >

Call me naive but I can't quite see why computers are causing damage. Au
contraire, I would have thought.
john maclean (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 12:38
(Received via mailing list)
2009/4/9 Mike S. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>:
>
Too much of anything is bad. You probably needed a balance between
your job/career and other stuff. As far as health is concerned, I
think that most of us on this list are screwed. Little or late sleep,
poor diet, hours in front of monitors. RSI and back pain...


... but I love it!

--
John M.
07739 171 531
MSc (DIC)

Timezone: GMT
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 12:50
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 12:34 AM, Bill K. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> 
wrote:
>
> 
http://www.universetoday.com/2008/01/31/will-earth...
>
>
> Regards,
>
> Bill
>
>

I agree with what Phlip said, you have to do what you think is right for
you.
And to Bill: I dunno; it seems a little bit more reasonable to handle
the problems of the next century (if not decade) than those of the
next two billion years LOL.

For myself: I still believe that we can survive with whales, tigers,
gorillas, lots of rain forrest and maybe without major wars and
terrorism without giving up technical achievment, the problem is
rather human nature itself :(.

We will see, good luck in any way.

Robert
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 12:53
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 5:02 AM, Eleanor McHugh
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:

>
> oh dear, on that basis I'm screwed then :(
Ahem, you mean doomed, right?
Robert
Richard Quadling (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 12:58
(Received via mailing list)
2009/4/9 Robert D. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>:
> long for the endless immensity of the sea.
> -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
>
>

No. She's a lightbulb. Not a bayonet fitting one mind.
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 14:21
(Received via mailing list)
> No. She's a lightbulb. Not a bayonet fitting one mind.
Now I can see clearer, obviously she is switched on!
Hmm poor OP we are wasting ( I am wasting CO2 ) for stupid word games.
R.
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 16:10
(Received via mailing list)
On 9 Apr 2009, at 09:49, Robert D. wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 5:02 AM, Eleanor McHugh
> <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>>
>> oh dear, on that basis I'm screwed then :(
> Ahem, you mean doomed, right?

Call me an optimist, but to quote Buffy: "there's always another
apocalypse" :)


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 16:26
(Received via mailing list)
Mike S. wrote:
> Christophe M. wrote:
>>  computers ...we know is destroying our planet>
>
> Call me naive but I can't quite see why computers are causing damage. Au
> contraire, I would have thought.

Our worst general global problem is lobbyists and corruption, and the
second
worst is the oil companies.

Way down on the list is the toxic cadmium and mercury compounds used in
most
computers. Look up OLPC - I suspect you could grind one up and eat it
and not
get sick.
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 16:27
(Received via mailing list)
john maclean wrote:

> Too much of anything is bad. You probably needed a balance between
> your job/career and other stuff. As far as health is concerned, I
> think that most of us on this list are screwed. Little or late sleep,
> poor diet, hours in front of monitors. RSI and back pain...

Google "sustainable pace" or "energetic work".
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 16:54
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 2:25 PM, Phlip <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> 
wrote:
> worst is the oil companies.
>
> Way down on the list is the toxic cadmium and mercury compounds used in most
> computers. Look up OLPC - I suspect you could grind one up and eat it and
> not get sick.

Sure enough I agree with this assessment. I however suspect that
Christophe has made his choice either because he sees some connections
between the way he can use computers, oil companies and other human
aberrations, which indeed might exist or spring into existence soon.
Or maybe it is just a personal choice to do what he thinks best for
him.
I suspect that he might as well feel happy enough with our responses
that he presents his POV on that.

Open Source however really seems to do the contrary, or am I too naïve
here too?

Cheers
Robert
The H. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 16:59
Christophe M. wrote:
> Hello Fellow Humans,

Am I the only one who, upon reading the subject line, thought that Earth
was a new programming language?
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 17:07
(Received via mailing list)
The Higgs bozo wrote:
> Christophe M. wrote:
>> Hello Fellow Humans,
>
> Am I the only one who, upon reading the subject line, thought that Earth
> was a new programming language?

At last - a way to bridge the distance between software engineers and
activist
hippie chicks!
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 18:35
(Received via mailing list)
>> Am I the only one who, upon reading the subject line, thought that
>> Earth was a new programming language?
>
> At last - a way to bridge the distance between software engineers and
> activist hippie chicks!

http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=3138
Todd B. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 18:59
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 9:35 AM, Phlip <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> 
wrote:
>>> Am I the only one who, upon reading the subject line, thought that Earth
>>> was a new programming language?
>>
>> At last - a way to bridge the distance between software engineers and
>> activist hippie chicks!
>
> http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=3138

Reminds me of an old engineering joke (forgive the masculine slant,
ladies).

At the dorms...

Geek 1: Dude!  You'll never believe what happened to me just now!  I
was walking back from class and this girl biked up to me, jumped off,
stripped naked right there on the sidewalk!

Geek 2: Wow!  What did you do?

Geek 1: I jumped on the bike and took off.

Geek 2: Why did you do that?

Geek 1: Uh, duh.  The clothes wouldn't fit.
Christophe M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 19:15
Hi guys,

Thanks for some of your positive responses.

I made my decision not because I was unhappy doing what I was doing. I
truly loved what I was doing. I did experience some of the health
complaints you guys are talking about though.

I made my decision because:

We are presently losing 200 species a day on this planet. That rate is
as high as during the greatest species die offs in the earth's natural
history, during disasters, like eruptions of super-volcanoes and meteor
impacts. Ecological diversity is of course what keeps us alive.

Climate change is going to be absolutely disastrous. The scientific
community is in the vast majority in thinking that it is man made, that
it is very real and that it is very dangerous. Not just for our
children, but at this point, for ourselves.

Petro-collapse or peak oil, which is not on too many people's radar
right now, but it will be very soon. Over 30 towns in England have
become 'Transition Towns' in order to build resilience against both
petrocollapse and cimate change. Agriculture is entirely dependent on
petrochemicals. 10 calories of petroleum are now being used to produce 1
calorie of food, compared with the 1 to 1 ratio of the 1930s. If you
don't know what peak oil is you are very dangerously in the dark.

Population overshoot. There are currently 6 billion people on the planet
and growing exponentially. You guys should all be able to guess what
happens when you have a finite resource base but an exponential growth
rate of both economies and populations. The carrying capacity of the
earth w/o constant petrolium input is estimated at between 1 and 3
billion depending on who you ask.

I closed my eyes to all these facts for years hoping they would go away
and that somebody would 'be on it', but they didn't and they aren't.
Just a single one of those 4 forces is massive and all of them combined
are at this point probably insurmountable. The longer we wait the harder
will be the crash.

But... I found permaculture which was designed by scientists (ecologists
and systems theorists), and believe it has great promise and that it
could completely revolutionize agriculture. Not only that but it is
tremendously energy efficient and increases biodiversity and soil
health. i.e. it is the complete opposite of current agricultural
practices. I think it would be very attractive to software people,
especially open source types, as it is all about design and small scale
local interactions. It even uses design patterns.

When I saw that there was hope, I had a sort of spiritual awakening, a
crumbling of the walls of denial, and a grieving for the planet we are
about to destroy, that's why I'm leaving, and that is why I am planning
on talking to as many people as I can. There will be more and more of us
'dropping out' in the near future as the forces described above start to
become plainly obvious in not so nice ways.

So you see, it is not about back pain, or if my lamp is bad for me. I'm
sorry, I know it's a downer, but it's time for people to start talking
to each other about this stuff, especially smart people like yourselves.
It's life or death now, but the problem is that humans, even the
smartest humans do not react to threats unless they are directly in
front of them in plain view. We have our own evolutionary psychology to
blame for this.

We need all the brains of the earth on this one.

Good Luck.
john maclean (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 19:43
(Received via mailing list)
2009/4/9 Todd B. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>:
>
> Geek 2: Why did you do that?
>
> Geek 1: Uh, duh.  The clothes wouldn't fit.
>
>

As long as we pump trillions of dollars back into the economy to prop
it up from a recession/depression then it will be business as usual.
This __could__ be a chance for a re-think on the production process.

- Packaging. If stuff ain't over packaged, we won't buy it.
- Waste of water in the developed world. I prolly use more of it to
brush my teeth than some of use for food.
- General waster. WTF would I do with a needle and thread? Um, buy new
jeans!
- Transport. Do you have an affordable, reliable service in your town?
I'm lucky as I live and work in London and can get around by public
transport. But it is crap here. From what I have seen in the UK it is
more cost effective to take a taxi or hire a care if you are
travelling out of town with a few people.
- Electricity. Turn off your dvd, radio, stereo etc and you loose all
of the settings. Keeping them on standby preserves those settings.
- The economy. Shareholders want growth and that means more. More
stuff, sold to more people, buying more stuff. Constant growth is what
the economy is built on.
 = As responsible people, we are supposed to make more and more stuff
and buy it as soon as we get paid. That helps the world go around.
 = Some of us value ourselves on the ability to buy __stuff__.
 = The more stuff we can buy the "better off" we are. # That's a bit
simplistic but you know where I am coming from.

Whales, polar bears and butterlies? Who cares? I see them on the TV
and not in the city where I live. Heck, what do I know what happens on
Polar Bear Avenue? What does that have to do with me doing my job of
producing more stuff?

My problem with the whole green issue is not that climate change may
or may be man-made, but what our response is.

I can bet any amount of money you like that it will be the consumer
that fits the bill.
 = Water taxes
 = Methane taxes
 = Green taxes
 = Electricity taxes
 = Heating efficiency taxes

I say this as it's easier for a government to say, "we are doing
something about this climate stuff as we are giving the people a
stick". That's what I see from my end, over in Merry Olde Englande.


__END__
Get back to work and do not hit the send button. who wants to read my
rants anyway?

--
John M.
07739 171 531
MSc (DIC)

Timezone: GMT
Martin DeMello (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 22:34
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 5:55 PM, Phlip <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> 
wrote:
> worst is the oil companies.
Second words is Monsanto, I'd say. Loss of biodiversity in our food
crops could be fatal.

martin
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-09 22:39
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 5:15 PM, Christophe M.
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> Hi guys,
>
> Thanks for some of your positive responses.
I would really discuss some of these points with you but I am afraid
that it is too OT to do it here.
OTOH maybe this is just important enough anyway. I dunno.
As a compromise I will ask some questions here and send you a private
mail later on, if and only if this is ok for you.
<snip>
Probably you think that you can do more for the cause by not being a
programmer or sysadmin or architect anymore.
However, what can we (those who believe that their talents are in
programming or creating systems on distributed Linux boxes etc.etc.)
do to help? Any ideas, pointers?

Thx in advance
Robert
MRH (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 00:35
(Received via mailing list)
OK - BYE
Jared Nance (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 01:48
(Received via mailing list)
Even the things we love most have a dark side... in my opinion if you
feel like what you're doing cannot contribute positively (and you care
about that) then yes, you should probably leave it.  But if you really
love it, shouldn't you try to find a way to make it work?
Steve R. (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 03:45
(Received via mailing list)
On Apr 8, 2009, at 3:25 PM, Christophe M. wrote:

> I am writing today to say my goodbyes to Ruby

So long and thanks for all the fish.
David M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 07:33
(Received via mailing list)
On Thursday 09 April 2009 07:10:23 Eleanor McHugh wrote:
> On 9 Apr 2009, at 09:49, Robert D. wrote:
> > On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 5:02 AM, Eleanor McHugh
> >
> > <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> >> oh dear, on that basis I'm screwed then :(
> >
> > Ahem, you mean doomed, right?
>
> Call me an optimist, but to quote Buffy: "there's always another
> apocalypse" :)

Buffy also died twice. I don't know that's the kind of optimism we want!
Patrick A. (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 07:46
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 5:25 PM, Christophe M.
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> we know is destroying our planet, yet which we

Hey, the planet is doing just fine!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eScDfYzMEEw
lasitha (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 09:00
(Received via mailing list)
On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 12:08 AM, Robert D. 
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 5:15 PM, Christophe M.
> <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>> Hi guys,
>>
>> Thanks for some of your positive responses.
> I would really discuss some of these points with you but I am afraid
> that it is too OT to do it here.
> OTOH maybe this is just important enough anyway. I dunno.

Yes, it is.  Moreover i think anyone not interested in further
discussion is probably familiar enough with the thread to ignore or
mute it.

+1 to continue here.

> [...]
> However, what can we (those who believe that their talents are in
> programming or creating systems on distributed Linux boxes etc.etc.)
> do to help? Any ideas, pointers?

I for one would love to hear responses to that question in particular.

In any case, my thanks to Christophe for posting, caring and taking
action.

solidarity,
lasitha
Chris K. (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 11:17
(Received via mailing list)
Why not use your skills to work on solving the problem then?  I doubt
the
solutions are going to be found by people in caves using abaci passing
parchments back and forth via pony express.  Like it or not (and
sometimes I
don't) the technology-enabled world isn't going anywhere, and I think
that,
regardless of your feelings about it, you've got to be honest enough
with
yourself to accept as constraints the things that are perhaps not ideal
but
that also aren't immediately changeable.  Or even attack the perceived
problems using the leverage technology offers: global communications,
distributed computing for problem solving, etc.

I respect your convictions very much.  I just fear some kind of
society-wide
brain drain if all the smart people suddenly decide to tune in, turn on
and
drop out.
Leo (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 12:14
(Received via mailing list)
> And always remember: If you are not part of the problem, then you are part of
> the solution!

The problem with that is that for most people it's always the others
who are part of the problem. Could you imagine that people start
shouting: "Yeah, we know we are the problem so let's just go home and
simply forget about those stupid things we're supposed to be doing."
Which for whatever reason reminds me of B Brecht "Imagine there is a
war and nobody comes." Kudos to the OP.
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 12:50
(Received via mailing list)
On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 6:59 AM, lasitha <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
wrote:
Right, this thread should be quite known now :).
>
>> [...]
>> However, what can we (those who believe that their talents are in
>> programming or creating systems on distributed Linux boxes etc.etc.)
>> do to help? Any ideas, pointers?
>
> I for one would love to hear responses to that question in particular.
>
> In any case, my thanks to Christophe for posting, caring and taking action.

Thanks for the encouragement. I have said it in a private post to Bill
Kelly before, Christophe indeed has become one of the most valuable
contributors to this list with his goodbye message, IMHO. He indicated
some keywords which are part of answering my questions. I am
particularly fascinated with this one
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture.
Christophe mentioned patterns interesting for programming too (as they
are general design patterns).
I retained two concepts which I always found very fascinating, but not
that easy to implement: Small and Slow.
Small systems are manageable, e.g. Small Is Beautiful. And Slow
systems are more likely to be thought out, easier to support by
(human) nature. If one adds my personal favorite design principle, as
simple as possible but not simpler (A.Einstein), we got three Esses.
SSS.

I also believe that Permaculture comes from farming environments but
is a highly intellectual approach not denying progress or achievements
but submitting it to critics (do we need this, or can we afford this).
OTOH progress is even needed to solve given problems.

If I understood it correctly we would live in quite a different world
today if permaculture had been applied for some centuries now. Just
one personal vision, what might have happened: Maybe no cell phones
but more medical knowledge (but on second thoughts advanced
communication technologies might having been developed as a side
product of medical technologies research and due to its usefulness in
a highly decentralized society). Would we have traveled to the moon? I
daresay no, but the idea for space travel would exist for centuries
and people would work on it, but slowly. The day the first man would
step on our satellite she would see a green paradise that would
resemble much  more to paradise.

Nuff dreaming for today.

Robert
Robert H. (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 14:56
Oh noes!

The world is gonna collapse...
Jeff S. (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 15:05
(Received via mailing list)
Christophe M. wrote:

> We are presently losing 200 species a day on this planet. That rate is
> as high as during the greatest species die offs in the earth's natural
> history,

I'm not sure where you're getting your data, but 200 species/day
wouldn't even be close to "the greatest species die offs."  (That sounds
like a new series on Fox.)  To paraphrase Davy Crocket, remember the
Permian!

> Climate change is going to be absolutely disastrous. The scientific
> community is in the vast majority in thinking that it is man made, that
> it is very real and that it is very dangerous. Not just for our
> children, but at this point, for ourselves.

What are you going to do about it?  Hide on a farm, making tie-dyes and
hoping for a quick death?

> Agriculture is entirely dependent on petrochemicals.

For some definition of "entirely" that means something completely
different from "entirely."  See The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael
Pollan, for a quick tour of the American food supply system.

> Population overshoot. There are currently 6 billion people on the planet
> and growing exponentially. You guys should all be able to guess what
> happens when you have a finite resource base but an exponential growth
> rate of both economies and populations. The carrying capacity of the
> earth w/o constant petrolium input is estimated at between 1 and 3
> billion depending on who you ask.

It doesn't work that way.  We have extraordinarily abundant sources of
energy available; the economic incentives just haven't been sufficient
to tap them yet.  As demand for energy goes up, and the oil supply goes
down, we'll turn to alternative sources.  (Actually, I suspect this has
already started.)

The problem is neither population growth, nor lack of resources, but
that we're polluting our environment to the point that it's going to
react violently.  If you want to save the planet, help us figure out
what to do about that.

http://wecansolveit.org/

> I closed my eyes to all these facts for years hoping they would go away
> and that somebody would 'be on it', but they didn't and they aren't.
> Just a single one of those 4 forces is massive and all of them combined
> are at this point probably insurmountable. The longer we wait the harder
> will be the crash.

So overall, Nostradamus, would you say you're cautiously optimistic?

> But... I found permaculture which was designed by scientists

So were the A-bomb, GMO foods, and most of those petrochemicals you've
already condemned.  Not to mention digital watches (shiver).

> and systems theorists), and believe it has great promise and that it
> could completely revolutionize agriculture. Not only that but it is
> tremendously energy efficient and increases biodiversity and soil
> health. i.e. it is the complete opposite of current agricultural
> practices.

You can have all the "tremendously energy efficient" enclaves you want,
and it won't address the problem.  The problem is specific to several
widely-used technologies.  Screaming about them won't help; the only
reasonable way to stop people from using those technologies is to
replace them (the technologies, not the people) with something
compellingly better.

Suppose everybody had Walkmen [1], but they were killing the planet.
What would be the fastest way to shelve all those horrid little devices?
  Hint: Invent the iPod.

[1] For you young'ns: Walkmen were portable cassette tape players, used
by primitive western cultures for listening to music.  Yes, they
predated even the Compact Disc!

> When I saw that there was hope, I had a sort of spiritual awakening,

Oh jeez, here we go...

> a crumbling of the walls of denial, and a grieving for the planet we are
> about to destroy, that's why I'm leaving,

Leaving what?  "The planet we are about to destroy?"  If we're
destroying the planet, there's nowhere safe to go but space.  (That's
not really safe either, lacking oxygen, warmth, and broadband internet
access.)

> and that is why I am planning
> on talking to as many people as I can. There will be more and more of us
> 'dropping out' in the near future

Don't drink the Kool Aid.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonestown

> It's life or death now, but the problem is that humans, even the
> smartest humans do not react to threats unless they are directly in
> front of them in plain view. We have our own evolutionary psychology to
> blame for this.
>
> We need all the brains of the earth on this one.

So you're "leaving."  Thanks.
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 15:16
(Received via mailing list)
On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 1:05 PM, Jeff S. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
wrote:
> Christophe M. wrote:
That you do not agree with Christophe I understand, that some of the
ideas make you afraid I understand.
That you do not investigate further or ask questions that I am surprised
about.
>> We need all the brains of the earth on this one.
>
> So you're "leaving."  Thanks.
That you insult him comes as a big shock to me!
Cheers
Robert
--
Si tu veux construire un bateau ...
Ne rassemble pas des hommes pour aller chercher du bois, préparer des
outils, répartir les tâches, alléger le travail… mais enseigne aux
gens la nostalgie de l’infini de la mer.

If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect
wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to
long for the endless immensity of the sea.
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 17:39
(Received via mailing list)
On 10 Apr 2009, at 04:33, David M. wrote:
>> apocalypse" :)
>
> Buffy also died twice. I don't know that's the kind of optimism we
> want!

Well I think it's all that's on offer.

Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Bill K. (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 19:42
(Received via mailing list)
From: "Robert D." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
>>
>> In any case, my thanks to Christophe for posting, caring and taking action.
>
> Thanks for the encouragement. I have said it in a private post to Bill
> Kelly before, Christophe indeed has become one of the most valuable
> contributors to this list with his goodbye message, IMHO. He indicated
> some keywords which are part of answering my questions. I am
> particularly fascinated with this one
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture.
> Christophe mentioned patterns interesting for programming too (as they
> are general design patterns).

While I share, to a degree, the concerns Christophe mentioned,
such as peak oil, overpopulation, and pollution/climate change,
I am also concerned when I see statements to the effect that
computers should be abandoned because they are contributing
to the annihilation of the planet.

I'm similarly concerned when I see language on the Permaculture
page like, "Earthcare - recognising that Earth is the source of
all life (and is possibly itself a living entity - see Gaia
theory), that Earth is our valuable home, and that we are a part
of Earth, not apart from it."

My concern is that the facts about the impending demise of all
life on this planet are not being faced squarely.

A billion years may seem like a long way off, but consider the
numbers:

 - Earth's current age estimated 4.7 billion years
 - Evidence of life on earth 3.6-3.7 billion years ago
 - Years Earth will still be in habitable zone due to
   solar expansion: about 1 billion years

If life has been around on Earth for about 3.6 billion years,
and only has 1 billion left to go, then we are at about the
78% mark.  In geologic time, the possibility of life on this
planet is nearly 4/5ths over.

This does not mean that I'm anti-conservation.  The part of
the Earthcare ethic that I do agree with is that Earth is our
valuable home.  For now.

But i don't find romantic notions about saving the planet
from annihilation to be helpful.

To me, the question is better framed in terms of how long
homo sapiens are planning to be around.  Less than a billion
years?  Or more than a billion years?

If less, well, then we can solve ALL of the problems
mentioned by Christophe in one generation.  Stop having kids.
But that still won't save the planet from annihilation.

If we're planning to be around more than a billion years,
then at some point we'll be deciding which (remaining)
species to bring with us as we colonize the galaxy.

In the meantime, I agree there are strong indicators we
need to become better custodians of our planet's environment
and resources than we have been recently.  Or we won't last
long enough to build the space ships.

:)


Regards,

Bill
Juan Z. (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 20:04
(Received via mailing list)
On 8 avr. 09, at 18:25, Christophe M. wrote:

> would call Ruby one of the loves of my life.
> but it is only in mass that we will succeed. This is
> your shells, please feel free to contact me privately,
> and I will be glad to speak with you. I am not a
> psychotherapist but I may have something to contribute,
> besides we have Ruby at least in common.
>
> Goodbye Ruby my Dear,
> Christophe
> --
> Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
>

I appreciate the sentiment.  But if I wrote less Ruby I'd probably
drive more.
Thanks in part to Ruby I rarely even need to commute.   Maybe Ruby loves
the Earth.
Leo (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 20:22
(Received via mailing list)
> Thanks in part to Ruby I rarely even need to commute.

Just because the Internet doesn't move, doesn't mean its maintenance
doesn't require energy.
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 20:25
(Received via mailing list)
On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 6:21 PM, Leo <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> 
wrote:
>> Thanks in part to Ruby I rarely even need to commute.
>
> Just because the Internet doesn't move, doesn't mean its maintenance
> doesn't require energy.
We really should be aware of that I agree, maybe I should not have
posted :(, maybe we should know how much a post pollutes, etc.etc.?
R.
Juan Z. (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 20:50
(Received via mailing list)
On 10 avr. 09, at 12:21, Leo wrote:

>> Thanks in part to Ruby I rarely even need to commute.
>
> Just because the Internet doesn't move, doesn't mean its maintenance
> doesn't require energy.
>

It's a classic example of premature optimization.  You need to
measure energy use and then focus on the major issues.
Otherwise you're wasting your time and you'll never make a
difference.
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-10 21:23
(Received via mailing list)
> Christophe M. wrote:
>> It's life or death now, but the problem is that humans, even the
>> smartest humans do not react to threats unless they are directly in
>> front of them in plain view. We have our own evolutionary
>> psychology to blame for this.
>> We need all the brains of the earth on this one.

Simple fact: it's always life and death. It has been since the first
primordial cell ran smack bang into the second law of thermodynamics
and was no more. Evolutionary theory is supposed to have given us a
sense of perspective on this. Yes we all die, our cultures die, our
species die and one day even our planet dies. But along the way the
very struggle for survival offers new opportunities for our offspring
to exploit changed conditions.

What has always worried me about the green movement is that instead of
embracing environmental change for what it is, an intrinsic dynamic of
the biosphere, they instead frame it as an enemy to be defeated. Such
a war by its very nature cannot be won and each battle is a waste of
resources that could better be channelled into learning to live with
the changed conditions: the strategy nature itself adopts.

There is also an implicit assumption that humanity stands separate
from nature when in actual fact all the traits we hate about our
species are the consequence of the environmental conditions which
faced our ancestors. If those prove to no longer be useful then I'm
confident the same processes which encouraged them will curb them ;p

But I guess if there's one thing three decades of coding has taught
me, it's that most people are petrified of change and will in leap
through the most incredible hoops to avoid it...


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 03:51
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 09, 2009 at 07:25:44AM +0900, Christophe M. wrote:
>
> Some of you will have a very strong and angry reaction
> to this email. Please try to reflect on why you might be
> quite so angry.

I'm not angry.  I'm exasperated that people think adopting a
nontechnical
agrarian existence where we lack decent medicine, open and easy
communications with more than a few dozen people, and a means to protect
ourselves from natural disasters will somehow "save" the human race.

News flash: nothing short of the end of the human race will completely
eliminate the "negative" (according to agrarian reformers) effects the
human race has on the environment.  I'm not much of a "burn the village
to save it" kind of guy.

I think that, if the human race is in as much trouble due to damage to
the environment as some people think, our best chance to save ourselves
will come from technological advancements.  Trying to reverse thousands
of years of advancement is not only doomed to failure, but doomed to
counterproductivity even if someone could magically wish it into
existence.


>
> In any case, please take my word that this is
> a sincere and heartfelt farewell. If any of you
> who are watching the world unfold and are experiencing
> similar feelings, or are starting to feel cracks in
> your shells, please feel free to contact me privately,
> and I will be glad to speak with you. I am not a
> psychotherapist but I may have something to contribute,
> besides we have Ruby at least in common.

I'd like to exhort anyone thinking along these lines to rethink.  A
brain
drain isn't going to improve things.

I guess all I can hope for is that, when people remove themselves from
technological fields because they're trying to "save" the human race
getting everyone to become dirt farmers, they also remove themselves
from
effective means of advocacy and the pool of voters.  I don't want
technological progress -- our best hope for a brighter future -- to be
outlawed any time soon.  Congress has already stood in the way of
technological progress (some of which could actually help with
environmental issues) in the name of environmentalism far more often
than
I'd like for decades.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 03:54
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 09, 2009 at 05:35:30PM +0900, john maclean wrote:
>
> Too much of anything is bad. You probably needed a balance between
> your job/career and other stuff. As far as health is concerned, I
> think that most of us on this list are screwed. Little or late sleep,
> poor diet, hours in front of monitors. RSI and back pain...

Yeah -- and if you live a more active, "healthy" life, you could get
eaten by a cougar or run over by a car or have a coronary, too.

As for me, I manage to pursue healthy activities about as often as I
could motivate myself to do so regardless of working with computers.
Working with computers, though, helps me with mental health in ways that
jogging or dirt farming can't.


>
> ... but I love it!

To a nontrivial degree, happiness *is* health, and happiness should
generally be the point of health anyway.  Health, after all, is a means
to an end; it should not be the end in itself.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 04:02
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 09, 2009 at 09:25:08PM +0900, Phlip wrote:
>
> Our worst general global problem is lobbyists and corruption, and the
> second worst is the oil companies.

I wouldn't say the oil companies, specifically, are second worst.  I'd
say that the aberration of market economics, created by government
interference in free exchange of value, known as a "public corporation"
is really the problem.  Oil companies are just financially and
politically powerful examples of that problem.

On that subject, corporate responsibility:

  http://sob.apotheon.org/?p=444

The concept of a corporation, created out of nothing by acts of law with
no direct relation to concepts of individual property rights, is
inherently contradictory to the ideas of ethical business practice and
individual rights in general.

Oil companies, as visible examples of corporations that behave
unethically, are just favorite whipping-boys.  Don't let the fact these
gigantic corporations deal in oil distract you from the real problem,
which has nothing to do with their actual stock in trade.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 04:04
(Received via mailing list)
On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 06:48:05AM +0900, Jared Nance wrote:
> Even the things we love most have a dark side... in my opinion if you
> feel like what you're doing cannot contribute positively (and you care
> about that) then yes, you should probably leave it.  But if you really
> love it, shouldn't you try to find a way to make it work?

Yes, you should.

I know I'm a lot more effective at making the world a better place when
I
use the activities I love for their own sakes as tools toward that end
than when I ignore those activities and do things I dislike, nominally
to
make the world a better place, instead.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 04:05
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 11, 2009 at 01:49:07AM +0900, Juan Z. wrote:
> measure energy use and then focus on the major issues.
> Otherwise you're wasting your time and you'll never make a
> difference.

Good luck measuring the comparative levels of energy use for different
activities in any kind of reasonable time without the use of computers.

The piddling energy usage of my computers is eclipsed by the good I can
do with them.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 04:47
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 11, 2009 at 12:42:06AM +0900, Bill K. wrote:
> But that still won't save the planet from annihilation.
>
> If we're planning to be around more than a billion years,
> then at some point we'll be deciding which (remaining)
> species to bring with us as we colonize the galaxy.
>
> In the meantime, I agree there are strong indicators we
> need to become better custodians of our planet's environment
> and resources than we have been recently.  Or we won't last
> long enough to build the space ships.

Attempts to "save" the planet might actually be successful past a
billion
years.  The technological singularity is predicted within the next
thirty
or forty years, roughly (estimates vary).  Who knows what we might learn
in a post-singularity world?  We might even be able to weather the Sun's
senility without having to go anywhere.  Maybe we'll find a way to make
life *better*, thanks to the abundant energy arriving from that nuclear
furnace in the sky.

. . . but we won't be able to do so if we abandon computers in favor of
highly systematized dirt farming.

Whether we save the planet or emigrate, we're going to need computers to
get there.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 05:07
(Received via mailing list)
On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 08:05:10PM +0900, Jeff S. wrote:
> Christophe M. wrote:
> >
> >Agriculture is entirely dependent on petrochemicals.
>
> For some definition of "entirely" that means something completely
> different from "entirely."  See The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael
> Pollan, for a quick tour of the American food supply system.

Indeed.

People talk about how without petrochemicals we'd have significant food
shortages -- but the truth is that the real danger we face in terms of
agricultural production is government.  The only reason the loss of
petrochemicals in agriculture would lead to worldwide famines, using the
numbers on which people base this argument, is because they're only
measuring the food we don't waste the moment we harvest it.  The
government:

  1. creates least-efficient alternative fuel programs that actually use
  up food crops when more efficient alternatives using inedible crops
  that grow on land not as useful for food crops

  2. actually *pays* corporate farms to burn, or otherwise destroy,
  mind-boggling amounts of harvested food crops every year

  3. uses regulatory powers to prevent more efficient, safer food
  production by smaller agricultural concerns because such food
  production might actually compete with huge, subsidized corporate
farms
  that have their own lobbyists

  4. and so on

The problem wouldn't be the loss of petrochemicals as part of
agricultural "state of the art", really, but the way government sticks
its nose into the business of making food.  Even if all the
petrochemicals *did* suddenly dry up, and we were reduced to using
manure
for fertilizer, and oxen to pull plows, we could absorb the drop in
productivity easily if government would just stop investing so much
time,
effort, and money in making food production less efficient.


> to tap them yet.  As demand for energy goes up, and the oil supply goes
> down, we'll turn to alternative sources.  (Actually, I suspect this has
> already started.)

One might make the argument that agitation by environmentalists has
caused government to step in and *make* it happen.  After all,
government
interfering with the efficiency and affordability of petroleum
production, distribution, and purchase at the consumer end has helped to
spur research, as has funding from government programs.  So people might
argue.

Of course, government basically put us in this position in the first
place, by regulating industries so that they are able (even encouraged)
to become dominated by huge, unimaginably powerful corporate entities
that toy with the market and resist change from below.  At best, we get
the equivalent of what we'd have if individual economic sovereignty were
repsected in the first place, but at great cost, and that's ignoring the
fact that a lot of government supported programs are political choices
rather than efficient and effective choices, leaving us with less
advancement in the energy production state of the art than we really
should be experiencing by now.


>
> >But... I found permaculture which was designed by scientists
>
> So were the A-bomb, GMO foods, and most of those petrochemicals you've
> already condemned.  Not to mention digital watches (shiver).

you += 1     # for the Adams reference


> not really safe either, lacking oxygen, warmth, and broadband internet
> access.)

No . . . I think that's why he's "leaving" Ruby.  I don't really see how
that helps, though.


>
> >It's life or death now, but the problem is that humans, even the
> >smartest humans do not react to threats unless they are directly in
> >front of them in plain view. We have our own evolutionary psychology to
> >blame for this.
> >
> >We need all the brains of the earth on this one.
>
> So you're "leaving."  Thanks.

I guess he thinks his brain is put to better use behind a plow in an
agrarian commune.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 05:09
(Received via mailing list)
On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 08:15:27PM +0900, Robert D. wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 1:05 PM, Jeff S. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> > Christophe M. wrote:
> That you do not agree with Christophe I understand, that some of the
> ideas make you afraid I understand.
> That you do not investigate further or ask questions that I am surprised about.

I don't remember any evidence that he didn't investigate further before
responding.  Please point me at such evidence.


> >> We need all the brains of the earth on this one.
> >
> > So you're "leaving."  Thanks.
> That you insult him comes as a big shock to me!

That wasn't an insult, as far as I can tell.  That was him saying "Wow,
I
don't see how you taking your brain and leaving helps if we need all the
brains of the earth."  Maybe you missed the sarcasm tags around
"Thanks."

I'm sadly not at all surprised to see that someone immediately assumed
bad faith and accused someone else of being insulting when insulting
intent wasn't really evident.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 05:13
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 11, 2009 at 02:22:09AM +0900, Eleanor McHugh wrote:
> sense of perspective on this. Yes we all die, our cultures die, our
> species die and one day even our planet dies. But along the way the
> very struggle for survival offers new opportunities for our offspring
> to exploit changed conditions.
>
> What has always worried me about the green movement is that instead of
> embracing environmental change for what it is, an intrinsic dynamic of
> the biosphere, they instead frame it as an enemy to be defeated. Such
> a war by its very nature cannot be won and each battle is a waste of
> resources that could better be channelled into learning to live with
> the changed conditions: the strategy nature itself adopts.

More to the point, we could learn to guide climate change in a positive
direction, rather than just trying to avoid having any effect on the
changes at all until the day they kill us and scour the Earth's
biosphere
clean.


>
> There is also an implicit assumption that humanity stands separate
> from nature when in actual fact all the traits we hate about our
> species are the consequence of the environmental conditions which
> faced our ancestors. If those prove to no longer be useful then I'm
> confident the same processes which encouraged them will curb them ;p
>
> But I guess if there's one thing three decades of coding has taught
> me, it's that most people are petrified of change and will in leap
> through the most incredible hoops to avoid it...

Bring on the singularity, I say.  Either it'll kill us (thus the radical
environmentalists get their way) or it'll elevate us to the point where
we will better understand ourselves and our circumstances so that we can
build a brighter future.  Hell, we might cure old age.  I'm all about
the
nanocyte networks repairing telomeres and so on, giving us much more
time
to work on the problem of fixing any dangerous environmental conditions
and/or emigrating into the cosmos.  I'd rather like to live to see that.

I won't if we all become dirt farmers concerned with "saving" the planet
from ourselves, though.
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 12:44
(Received via mailing list)
On 11 Apr 2009, at 02:12, Chad P. wrote:
> More to the point, we could learn to guide climate change in a
> positive
> direction, rather than just trying to avoid having any effect on the
> changes at all until the day they kill us and scour the Earth's
> biosphere
> clean.

Our very existence does that anyway, regardless of any conscious
motivation :)


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 19:53
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 11, 2009 at 10:44 AM, Eleanor McHugh
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> On 11 Apr 2009, at 02:12, Chad P. wrote:

Eleanor, Chad

why do you assume that green means without technology? Of course that
kind of life would scare the hell out of me too.
I am amazed that Eleanor "accused" the green movement to be afraid of
change, it is them who embrace change.
I do not want to be patronizing at all, and please be aware that I am
not a native speaker, however I want to express that I just see things
the other way around than you do.
What intrigues me most in your reasoning scheme is that you somehow
postulate that we are evolved enough to adapt to the radical changes
our species has caused. I could not agree more with you. But it seems
that you think that the "green" movement does not do that. I however
feel that is exactly what they want to do.
The difference between "them" and some other movements is rather
political as they see ( as I do BTW, but that really is open to
discussion ) our political and economical system as a primary cause
and want therefore to change it. Only very small groups want to refute
technology as such.
It is strange to read reasoning that accuses people who react to well
established problems that have been analyzed in a scientific way of
being anti-technology or do not want to advance. Anticipating problems
is treating problems in the natural way for our species. It is our
mind that has brought our species at the board of distinction and it
has to be our mind that gets us out of this mess again.
Now if you think that we are not in a mess than that is ok, but most
of us seem to think the contrary nowadays.

But I know lots of highly intelligent and visionary people, who have
brilliant ideas to get us out of this mess, and getting us out of this
mess cannot mean refuting technology (1) because we have become as a
matter of fact dependent on our technology. Some think that all it
needs is to refute ideas of exponential growth which seem to me as
something completely ridicule in a finite universe anyway.

Cheers
Robert
(1) Technology has for centuries been at the service of capital and
revenue, why should it not be capabale of becoming at the service of
nature, ressource management, environement control, ed altri?
--
Si tu veux construire un bateau ...
Ne rassemble pas des hommes pour aller chercher du bois, préparer des
outils, répartir les tâches, alléger le travail… mais enseigne aux
gens la nostalgie de l’infini de la mer.

If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect
wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to
long for the endless immensity of the sea.
Robert H. (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 20:30
> I am amazed that Eleanor "accused" the green movement to be afraid of
> change, it is them who embrace change.

I think it depends on your viewpoint.

For example, I do not eat animals for several reasons - one is that I
dislike the treatment and handling of animals in factories. Also, I
believe that animals rather prefer to stay alive than to be killed.
Human is surrounded by life which wants to live (as do most other
humans). I have no problem with "natural" human populations, but I
disagree with the industrialized and commercialized aspect of producing
meat (and food, for that matter, like subsidizing agro-food via
petroleum... it feels strange that a lot of the food we eat was
supported with fertilizers from oil ... )

However, I never lecture other people about my point of view therein.

So I strongly disagree with what Eleanor wrote about "the green
movement". There are people with different points of view, and it does
no good to unify these.

For example - I am very much for technology, social improvements, and
very high ethical standards. It makes me furious to hear when a
"democracy" like the USA refuses to put their war criminals on charge or
attempt to establish torture as possible methods against humans.

The thread starter here is a confused guy. He says goodbye to
technology, via the www, and this is so incredibly stupid that I have no
words to describe for it. The best would be he would just shut up
instead. If he wants to be forest dweller running around naked in
rivers, then be it, but I see no point in attempting to push on an
agenda which is higly controversial.

"Green" movement can at best be realized via solid arguments, good
reasoning, a calm hand, and the knowledge that big parts of industry is
afraid of change because it means they have no pay more or lose control.
(They already control way too much anyway.)

This will slowly change though. The whole "green movement" is stronger
than years ago, and the current trend for governments seems to be to
infiltrate it.

"Need a new car? Buy one! We give you money if you destroy your old car"
is one example for the latter happening in ~Germany and a few other
countries, and being marketed as "good for the environment" if the old
cars disappear (which is a lie if you look at the cost to produce
current cars anyway)
Leo (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 20:57
(Received via mailing list)
> I am amazed that Eleanor "accused" the green movement to be afraid of
> change, it is them who embrace change.

I think there are certain national/cultural differences in what is
considered the "Green movement". In Germany and Austria, the Green
party is in parliament/government. In other countries, IIRC it still
is mostly a conservationist movement.
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 21:15
(Received via mailing list)
Leo wrote:
>> I am amazed that Eleanor "accused" the green movement to be afraid of
>> change, it is them who embrace change.
>
> I think there are certain national/cultural differences in what is
> considered the "Green movement". In Germany and Austria, the Green
> party is in parliament/government. In other countries, IIRC it still
> is mostly a conservationist movement.

Further, returning to the earth is _not_ "green", or "ecologically
correct" -
unless if you volunteer to get eaten up by bears, tigers, and all kind
of germs.

Humans in the wild burn too much wood to offset any other carbon
emissions.

The best way to assume stewardship of Garden Earth is warehousing all
the humans
in clean, efficient, isolated cities. That doesn't sound very romantic -
and
it's the backdrop to a thousand literary /1984/ clones - but it keeps
all our
infrastructure in one place for easy tuning.

Oil the machine!
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-11 23:45
(Received via mailing list)
Robert, from where I'm sat the green movement desires to lock our
ecosystem into some 'acceptable' state, effectively destroying the
evolutionary pressures which give rise to new species and in the
process defining boundaries within which human science, technology and
culture should progress. I consider both goal and consequences to be
immoral, driven by fear and ideology rather than any interest in the
actual underlying dynamics of nature or the betterment of the human
condition.

They are also fundamentally naive and unrealistic, requiring that
mankind achieve some virtuous enlightenment that has proven to be
elusive throughout our history and then maintain it for an indefinite
period of time. This is nothing more or less than the orthogonal
application of the same inflexible mindset that's made our societies
unjust since the beginning of recorded history, and as ever it's
dressed up in clothes that suggest it's all for our own good.

Does this mean we should all go out and waste resources willy nilly?
Don't ask me. But regardless of which way we choose to go as
individuals our choice is fundamentally natural because humans are
buried as deeply in the feedback mechanisms of life as whales or
tigers or mantis shrimp. Our nuclear power and biological weapons are
natural, as are our arrogance, our tribalism and our need for power
structures.

Indeed what is the green movement if not a tribalism more or less
loosely aligned with a desire for certain kinds of economic power
structures and justified by the arrogant belief that two hundred years
of industrial manufacturing are sufficient to put life at risk. That's
the same life that emerged within a few million years of our molten
ball of rock developing a solid crust and which has survived
cataclysmic events on a cosmic scale.

I apologise if this offends anyone, but it's my honest opinion and
it's not been reached without many years of consideration. If I'm
wrong, well big deal - most of us are about most things most of the
time.


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-12 08:00
(Received via mailing list)
Eleanor McHugh wrote:

> I apologise if this offends anyone, but it's my honest opinion and
> it's not been reached without many years of consideration. If I'm
> wrong, well big deal - most of us are about most things most of the
> time.

Waving the banner of "evolution is natural and good" would apply if
human
intervention occurred on evolutionary timescales. Yet gardening is not
evolutionary either; in an old Thurber fable, the gardener indeed said
to the
weed "tu pass!" That was biodiversity, too!

The remarkable result of the huge experiment we now call "the 20th
century" is
it demonstrated we humans indeed have our hands on the knobs...
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-12 09:37
(Received via mailing list)
On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 12:53:07AM +0900, Robert D. wrote:
>
> Eleanor, Chad
>
> why do you assume that green means without technology? Of course that
> kind of life would scare the hell out of me too.

My reference to dirt farming agrarian societies wasn't a response to any
and all uses of the term "green".  It was in reference to what *started*
this whole discussion -- someone *giving up computers* to "save the
earth", for crying out loud.  Please read what I say in context before
deciding it's time to chastise me for saying it in the future.


> I am amazed that Eleanor "accused" the green movement to be afraid of
> change, it is them who embrace change.

A lot of greenies embrace regressive lifestyle changes to undo
environmental change.  Thus, they both embrace change and show fear of
change at the same time.

A lot of greenies embrace technological changes designed to undo
environmental change.  Thus, they both embrace change and show fear of
change at the same time.

Eleanor appears to be advocating for embracing technological change in
general as a natural outgrowth of the evolution of the human species,
and
clearly doesn't fear the environmental changes that will result.
Whether
she fears changes in the way technological change is pursued, if such
changes are for "green" reasons, doesn't seem to be either supported or
disputed by anything she has said so far -- so I can't really comment
with any certainty on whether she appears to fear any change.

I, meanwhile, hope the technological singularity comes because I believe
that without it the human race is doomed, unless some higher power
(aliens, God, whatever) comes along and gives us what we didn't achieve
on our own through technological singularity.  The singularity might
also
kill us all off, but I'm more interested in trying and dying than in
sitting around waiting to die anyway.  I guess you could say that the
kind of change I fear is that of failure by complacency or willful
ignorance.


> What intrigues me most in your reasoning scheme is that you somehow
> postulate that we are evolved enough to adapt to the radical changes
> our species has caused. I could not agree more with you. But it seems
> that you think that the "green" movement does not do that. I however
> feel that is exactly what they want to do.

Most people who associate them with movements we would call "green" are,
in my experience, actually regressives who advocate for giving up what
technology has given us.  There are those who do not fit that mold, but
it can be difficult to clearly identify them since both classes of
"green movement" types often say exactly the same things, until one has
talked enough to start getting into the differences.  Nine times out of
ten they end up saying something that advocating some kind of
technological advancement moratoria.

Most people who advocate for "technological advancement" are status quo
driven self-centered and short-sighted idiots who are unable or
unwilling
to conceive of the human race managing to wipe itself out through poor
management of the environment.  I'm perfectly willing to agree with such
an estimation of the majority of people who label themselves "pro
business" when what they really mean is "pro corporation, anti-green".
I'm an exception to the rule, in a *huge* way, and in your haste to
chastise people for generalizing about "green movement" advocates,
you've
generalized about people who believe that technological advancement and
business efforts are more important than restricted CO2 production.


> The difference between "them" and some other movements is rather
> political as they see ( as I do BTW, but that really is open to
> discussion ) our political and economical system as a primary cause
> and want therefore to change it. Only very small groups want to refute
> technology as such.

Bah.  From what I've seen, probably 98% want to restrict technological
advancement, and even reverse in some ways.  The differences are mostly
in the *degree* of restriction and reversal they want.  Some just want
to
restrict certain technologies, but not others that they find convenient;
they want to have their cakes and eat them too, when it comes to being
"green".


> (1) Technology has for centuries been at the service of capital and
> revenue, why should it not be capabale of becoming at the service of
> nature, ressource management, environement control, ed altri?

In a free market economy, technology will serve whatever is needed, when
it's needed.  Sadly, we do not live within anything like a real free
market economy.


> Si tu veux construire un bateau ...
> Ne rassemble pas des hommes pour aller chercher du bois, préparer des
> outils, répartir les tâches, alléger le travail… mais enseigne aux
> gens la nostalgie de l’infini de la mer.
>
> If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect
> wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to
> long for the endless immensity of the sea.

. . . and that quote is ideally suited to my comment about free market
economies, above.
Bill K. (Guest)
on 2009-04-12 14:51
(Received via mailing list)
From: "Chad P." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
>
> I, meanwhile, hope the technological singularity comes because I believe
> that without it the human race is doomed, unless some higher power
> (aliens, God, whatever) comes along and gives us what we didn't achieve
> on our own through technological singularity.  The singularity might also
> kill us all off, but I'm more interested in trying and dying than in
> sitting around waiting to die anyway.

I'm trying to imagine sitting down to interact with an operating system
that's 1000 times smarter than me.

(And wondering what motivation it would have to even pay attention
to my mouse clicks.)

<grin>


Regards,

Bill
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-12 17:06
(Received via mailing list)
I think I understand much better what all of you meant now. There
seems to be a very conservative green movement I am not aware of and I
am certainly disagreeing with. OTOH I am quite more critique to some
other points. Why should we agree on all those points? We should not
of course! It also seems that I interpreted OP's intentions quite
differently than some of you.
My final statement on this is, that although I value biodiversity and
conversation of the natural conditions very much, I might just value
diversity of thought and freedom of opinion a tad more, even if it
leads to the extinction of our species, because I believe it is one of
the greatest achievements of our species. Hopefully these values are
not incompatible.

Cheers
Robert
Pedro W. (Guest)
on 2009-04-12 19:28
(Received via mailing list)
Putting all the people in the same bag is always a bad idea. I think
there are as many people as different ideas in the "green movement".

In particular I see science and technology as the main source for been
ecological: solar power, wind power, ... energy-efficient buildings,
cars....energy-saving lamps, fridges....recycling, biodegradable
plastic, etc., etc., etc.

We won't need to stop using our cars, cars will use hydrogen or whatever
other clean energy.

But I think we need to support this and also buy more time for science
and technology to get there. I think simple things can buy us more time
e.g: switching to energy saving lamps, use the computer to read instead
of printing,  turn off what you are not using, not letting the water run
while you look in the mirror =P, ...and many many other things you can
do that are very simple and easy to do and don't imply resigning to
anything.

Cheers,

Pedro
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-12 19:45
(Received via mailing list)
Pedro W. wrote:

> In particular I see science and technology as the main source for been
> ecological: solar power, wind power, ... energy-efficient buildings,
> cars....energy-saving lamps, fridges....recycling, biodegradable
> plastic, etc., etc., etc.

Exactly. And for each cost-savings attempted during the 20th Century,
there were
lobbyists and saboteurs who thwarted it. For example, Henry Ford tried
to start
a new fab for electric cars, right in the middle of the Model T era.

The new fab had a mysterious fire. Prescott Bush, in the same region,
was Big
Oil's chief fixer back then. 'Nuff said.

It's not the technology doing it, folks - it's the lobbyists and
corruption. Our
current infrastructure is such a distorted miasma we don't even
understand how
clean and efficient it could easily be.

> We won't need to stop using our cars, cars will use hydrogen or whatever
> other clean energy.

I want a driver, too. But something "happened" to the mass transit
system where
I live (socal)...
David M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-12 22:54
(Received via mailing list)
On Sunday 12 April 2009 05:50:20 Bill K. wrote:
> From: "Chad P." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
>
> > I, meanwhile, hope the technological singularity comes because I believe
> > that without it the human race is doomed,

How so? We didn't need a magical singularity to get this far...

Certainly, there will be increasingly sophisticated information systems,
which
will help us solve problems more effectively, just as they always have.
But I
don't think it's a requirement that they become self-aware.

That would just be very cool.

> > The singularity might also
> > kill us all off, but I'm more interested in trying and dying than in
> > sitting around waiting to die anyway.

Sure, but I doubt it will happen. We've been predicting artificial
intelligence
for decades, and it really hasn't happened in any meaningful way.

At the moment, we don't seem to be anywhere near having the computing
power to
match a human brain, or sufficient knowledge of neurology to build a
simulation
if we did. Nor do we seem to be any closer to any alternate model that
would
constitute an artificial intelligence.

> I'm trying to imagine sitting down to interact with an operating system
> that's 1000 times smarter than me.

Nor would it necessarily be smarter than us in the beginning...

Keep in mind, your current operating system is 1000 times smarter than
you at
certain things. How long would it take you to figure out what shade an
arbitrary pixel in your mail reader should be when the compose window
appears
on top of it and casts a shadow? Or even just basic conversion between
Unicode
text and glyphs you understand. Or calculate 2**3000.

Yet your current operating system, most likely, is incapable of
providing any
direction. It can't code itself. While it can probably retrieve quite a
few
Google searches, it has no idea what they mean, or what it might look
for.

But assuming it really was that more intelligent than you in every way,
we
might also assume it can speak at your level. This isn't always true for
humans -- adults can find it difficult to talk to children without being
condescending, but it _is_ possible. And if this singularity had a
condescending personality, and that wasn't working, it should be
intelligent
enough to deliberately alter itself until it can converse with you.

All you really have to do is speak in a language it can understand. If
you
want to help the process, learn Lojban.

> (And wondering what motivation it would have to even pay attention
> to my mouse clicks.)

Because you're the one who pays the electric bill, and the Internet
bill. If
it isn't nice to you, you can pull the plug. In fact, the first version,
you
might not have it plugged into the Internet anyway -- if it isn't nice
to you,
you'll never let it out.

Once you let it out, we don't really know. However, you can spend as
long as
you like dissecting its mental state to determine whether or not it
intends to
start a robot revolution.

Alright, offtopic enough, I should stop.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-13 04:35
(Received via mailing list)
On Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 03:53:30AM +0900, David M. wrote:
> On Sunday 12 April 2009 05:50:20 Bill K. wrote:
> > From: "Chad P." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
> >
> > > I, meanwhile, hope the technological singularity comes because I believe
> > > that without it the human race is doomed,
>
> How so? We didn't need a magical singularity to get this far...

If nothing else, there's always the heat death of the universe.
Consider
less excessive apocalyptic ends may exist as well (the sun expands and
all life on Earth is eliminated; a meteor the size of Australia impacts
the Earth; an alien race decides to build an interstellar bypass through
the solar system; we invent something easier to make and more effective
at killing than nuclear bombs; Yellowstone National Park blows up;
energy
resources get used up and we end up losing 90% of the human race before
stabilizing at the level of isolated agrarian collectives, and everyone
eventually gets killed off by predators and natural disasters; disease
wipes us all out; et cetera.

Take your pick.  The only question, without significant technological
advancement, is whether we survive long enough to die by way of the Big
Crunch.


>
> Certainly, there will be increasingly sophisticated information systems, which
> will help us solve problems more effectively, just as they always have. But I
> don't think it's a requirement that they become self-aware.

Who said anything about self-aware information systems?  A technological
singularity need not be the result of Charles Stross' Eschaton being
born.  In fact, I think that particular idea of how a technological
singularity would come to pass is one of the less likely possibilities.

The key to a technological singularity seems to be the feedback loop of
the multiplicative power of automated computation being used to help
design better automated computation systems.  That doesn't necessitate
automated computation systems achieving independent volition.


>
> That would just be very cool.

It might.


>
> > > The singularity might also
> > > kill us all off, but I'm more interested in trying and dying than in
> > > sitting around waiting to die anyway.
>
> Sure, but I doubt it will happen. We've been predicting artificial intelligence
> for decades, and it really hasn't happened in any meaningful way.

 1. Who said anything about "artificial intelligence", per se?  It
wasn't
 me.

 2. There are several different possible interpretations of the term
 "artificial intelligence" anyway.


>
> At the moment, we don't seem to be anywhere near having the computing power to
> match a human brain, or sufficient knowledge of neurology to build a simulation
> if we did. Nor do we seem to be any closer to any alternate model that would
> constitute an artificial intelligence.

At current rates of increase, which have been roughly consistent for
twenty years or more, we're looking at matching the raw processing power
of the human brain some time before 2050 (estimates vary).  Theoretical
computing models currently in development may actually increase the rate
of improvement.


>
> > I'm trying to imagine sitting down to interact with an operating system
> > that's 1000 times smarter than me.
>
> Nor would it necessarily be smarter than us in the beginning...

. . . nor would it necessarily *ever* be "smarter" than us.  It
shouldn't
be long now before it's a more efficient processor, though.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-13 04:42
(Received via mailing list)
On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 10:06:07PM +0900, Robert D. wrote:
> the greatest achievements of our species. Hopefully these values are
> not incompatible.

I tend to think that only by encouraging technological innovation will
the human race (or its evolutionary descendants, at least) have any
chance of surviving more than a couple hundred million years -- and it
may be due for an end much sooner.  The biggest argument in favor of
allowing technological innovation to progress, in my opinion, is
something else entirely, though:

Technological innovation is an unavoidable consequence of free thinking,
and anyone trying to stifle free thinking is, in my opinion, an enemy of
the single most valuable characteristic the human race possesses.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-13 04:59
(Received via mailing list)
On Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 12:45:06AM +0900, Phlip wrote:
> era.
>
> The new fab had a mysterious fire. Prescott Bush, in the same region, was
> Big Oil's chief fixer back then. 'Nuff said.
>
> It's not the technology doing it, folks - it's the lobbyists and
> corruption. Our current infrastructure is such a distorted miasma we don't
> even understand how clean and efficient it could easily be.

Consider as well such recent developments as making ethanol from corn --
ethanol that, through the entire production and transportation process,
ends up costing us more petroleum per unit of energy than creating
gasoline does, to say nothing of the fact that it's consuming food crops
too.

Free inquiry, free trade, technological advancement, and conservation
for
the purpose of saving and improving the lives of humans are naturally
complementary.  It's when centralized power structures (i.e., government
and its corporate proxies) are allowed to interfere that things break
down.
Bill K. (Guest)
on 2009-04-13 06:12
(Received via mailing list)
From: "Chad P." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
>
> >
> > > I'm trying to imagine sitting down to interact with an operating
> > > system that's 1000 times smarter than me.
> >
> > Nor would it necessarily be smarter than us in the beginning...
>
> . . . nor would it necessarily *ever* be "smarter" than us.  It
> shouldn't be long now before it's a more efficient processor, though.

Certainly there are many possibilities.  I've enjoyed a few
books on the subject (Ray Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, Max Velmans,
others...)

Myself, I find it interesting that apparently relatively tiny
differences in our genetic code can result in the construction
of a brain like that of Einstein or Feynman; or on the flipside,
pick a random Miss USA contestant... ;)

So it seems we have an existence proof that small changes in
'programming' can result in significant differences in
intelligence...

With that in mind, let's assume for the moment: (A) there's no
supernatural component required in the functioning of our
brains; (B) it is possible to be self-aware without
experiencing qualia; (C) computing power--CPU and RAM--continues
to increase well beyond the point of equivalency with the
processing power of our biological brain.

Of these assumptions, I would not be surprised if (C) held true.
As for (A), I'd like to think there are no truly supernatural
processes involved, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are
some as-yet-unknown natural processes happening.  As for (B),
that is completely opaque to me.  Qualia seems important, and
I have no idea how a computer would ever 'feel' things.  On the
other hand, if we ever understand how _we_ feel things and the
precise mechanisms involved for translating from sensory ->
conscious experiences, then I suppose we'll have a lot better
idea of whether it can be done in silicon.

In any case, if all three assumptions did hold, then I would
expect us to eventually arrive at self-aware programs that
were smarter than us.  (And which could improve their own
design.)


Regards,

Bill
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-13 12:57
(Received via mailing list)
On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 5:28 PM, Pedro W. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
wrote:
> other clean energy.
>
> But I think we need to support this and also buy more time for science and
> technology to get there. I think simple things can buy us more time e.g:
> switching to energy saving lamps, use the computer to read instead of
> printing,  turn off what you are not using, not letting the water run while
> you look in the mirror =P, ...and many many other things you can do that are
> very simple and easy to do and don't imply resigning to anything.
>
> Cheers,

Well said indeed, but you have made me think of something else, my pet
argument, diversity ;).

Maybe tolerance, the ability to handle our natural fears of what is
different will be the main achievement of our evolution. In other
words, although myself I pretty much adhere to Pedro's point of views,
I can still imagine that those who want to go farer and refute some of
our technology and try to form autonomous "less advanced(1)" forms of
society should not induce fear but should be greeted as possible
alternative forms of society from which we can learn. There are limits
to that of course, knowledge should not be lost in education, so that
their offsprings have the free choice(2) to choose between the
different societies.
The only thing I am afraid of is that they tell me what I have to do,
but for that very reason I am not going to tell them what to do
either.

(1) from our point of view, they will say the same thing about us
rightfully.
(2) this is a social problem about education and role models anyway,
but fortunately we have those revolutionary years which make us seek
out...

Cheers
Robert
Pedro W. (Guest)
on 2009-04-13 18:19
(Received via mailing list)
Robert D. wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 5:28 PM, Pedro W. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
>> Putting all the people in the same bag is always a bad idea. I think there
>> are as many people as different ideas in the "green movement".
>>
> Well said indeed, but you have made me think of something else, my pet
> argument, diversity ;).
>
> Maybe tolerance, the ability to handle our natural fears of what is
> different will be the main achievement of our evolution.
Yes indeed, I hope it will.

Cheers,

Pedro
Joel VanderWerf (Guest)
on 2009-04-13 20:44
(Received via mailing list)
Eleanor McHugh wrote:
> Robert, from where I'm sat the green movement desires to lock our
> ecosystem into some 'acceptable' state, effectively destroying the
> evolutionary pressures which give rise to new species and in the process
> defining boundaries within which human science, technology and culture
> should progress. I consider both goal and consequences to be immoral,
> driven by fear and ideology rather than any interest in the actual
> underlying dynamics of nature or the betterment of the human condition.

And mass extinction is just nature's way of making room for more
species? Could be.

I will miss the frogs, though :/
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-13 22:03
(Received via mailing list)
On Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 6:44 PM, Joel VanderWerf
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> And mass extinction is just nature's way of making room for more species?
> Could be.
>
>I will miss the frogs, though :/
And we here in France, what do you think, we will starve to death
R
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-13 22:27
(Received via mailing list)
On 12 Apr 2009, at 06:36, Chad P. wrote:
>> (1) Technology has for centuries been at the service of capital and
>> revenue, why should it not be capabale of becoming at the service of
>> nature, ressource management, environement control, ed altri?
>
> In a free market economy, technology will serve whatever is needed,
> when
> it's needed.  Sadly, we do not live within anything like a real free
> market economy.

Alas all too true. If advocates of green concerns really want to
minimise the environmental impact of humanity their best bet would be
to campaign for the complete liberation of global markets.

> economies, above.
Indeed :)


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-13 22:49
(Received via mailing list)
On 13 Apr 2009, at 17:44, Joel VanderWerf wrote:
> And mass extinction is just nature's way of making room for more
> species? Could be.

Perhaps the future is peopled by humanity's myriad descendants,
adapted to every conceivable niche and as different from each other as
one species of mammal is from another. Or it could be that the
vertebrate experiment proves ultimately fruitless and the cockroaches
drive the next great epoch.

> I will miss the frogs, though :/

Indeed. I'll miss frogs and tigers and whales and however many
millions of species of beetles all disappear as a consequence of human
behaviour just as I miss Sumer and Rome and the enigmatic builders of
Skara Brae.

But to not let evolutionary changes happen is akin to refusing to ever
move from our living room because we love our favourite armchair: it
may well be the most comfortable armchair in the universe, but by
restricting ourselves to it and not experiencing other rooms or the
outside world we'd be condemning ourselves to a pale shadow of life.


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Joel VanderWerf (Guest)
on 2009-04-13 23:22
(Received via mailing list)
Robert D. wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 6:44 PM, Joel VanderWerf
>> I will miss the frogs, though :/
> And we here in France, what do you think, we will starve to death
> R

Sigh, at least the snails seem healthy.
Hasan Hüseyin (Guest)
on 2009-04-14 14:49
(Received via mailing list)
You are not alone ;-)
Me as well thought as same, after reading subject.


Cheers,
Christophe M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-16 23:07
hello again,

ok, this is the last peep out of me on this quite OT thread. i will
gladly carry on the conversation privately with anybody who is
interested in doing so.

after a few days reflection, i can see how my original post was as
emotionally motivated as it was intellectually motivated, and so a few
things were not particularly well thought out.

what can i say, my entire worldview shifted drastically in a fairly
short amount of time, i was emotional, sorry.

something which some of you have pointed out is that i can probably put
my IT skills to good use in working towards a solution. this is probably
a very good idea which i may consider along with my permaculture
studies. some people seem to have concluded that i intended to save the
world single-handedly by giving up computers, that is clearly
nonsensical and is not what i meant to convey. i do think a culture
moving away from unnecessary and unsustainable technologies is a must
however.

some of you mentioned the idea that going backwards or regressing is
what i was advocating. someone even mentioned isolation in a commune
behind a plow. that is not what i am advocating, quite the opposite.
current agricultural practices are incredibly primitive. the so called
'green revolution in agriculture' in the mid 20th century essentially
just took an incredibly naive system (ecologically speaking) and poured
gallons and gallons of petroleum on top of it. something akin to trying
to improve on the recursive factorial algorithm by running it on faster
and faster machines. the principle problem with these practices is
precisely the plow and the notion that mono-cultural agriculture can be
sustainable. *many* civilizations have fallen due to this most basic of
naive assumptions. ours is up next in line.

i can recommend an excellent book on the history of these issues called
"dirt, the erosion of civilizations" by David Montgomery, a professor of
earth & space sciences at the univerity of washington.

you may also be interested in a BBC documentary that explores the food
crisis which petrocolapse is threatening great britain (and everybody
else) with. it goes into permaculture in the last 1/3 of the film.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=farm+for+the...

some people mentioned the dubious notion of 'the singularity'. at this
point in time, in contrast to for example, the dire warnings of the
worlds climatologists which are science fact, the highly speculative
notion of 'the singularity' is science fiction verging on religion. i
think that that is something to keep squarely in mind. but even if it
were not fanciful wishful thinking, the energy required for that kind of
phase transition simply will not be available. just about everything
including growth economies are about to start shrinking. finally, the
question of whether it is even desirable needs to be asked, when we
already have 3.9 billion (see below) year old 'technologies' which quite
readily sustain life when not abused.

here is a video by somebody i believe has a firm grasp on the
relationship between populations, economies, technological progress,
etc. and their underlying reliance on energy and resources. he touches
on theories like "the singularity" at one point.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFjFG24BeX8

the biggest problem with the techno-fixer mentality that i have however
is that i do not believe our technologies to be all that fantastic. can
you get the brightest minds in engineering today and have them build a
system which can be sent to say, mars, and which can reproduce while
diversifying, and last billions of years while morphing to survive
various cataclysmic planetary wide shifts in climate, and impacts from
space etc.. we can hardly keep the wheels on our bloody mars rovers from
falling off, and you want me to believe that there is a technological
singularity looming? the technological singularity happened several
times over the past 3.9 billion or so years, with the emergence of
autocatalytic networks, going into early bacteria, and then eukaryotes,
etc. we have all around us 3.9 billion year old technology honed by
massively parallel incremental design (evolution). it is many many
orders of magnitude more complex and resilient than our tinker toys, it
is our life support system, and we are destroying it's capacity to
support human life. it will outlive us.

there were some comments which along the lines of, just let 'evolution'
happen, don't get in the way. it is difficult to argue with such a
position. when somebody says we must all die, while bowing down to the
alter of this so called 'evolution' which is essentially just a culture
of plunder gone rampant, and an incredible hubris vis a vis our
rudimentary technologies. i just consider that one of the many
sociopathologies of civilization, or perhaps a coping strategy of
particular individuals who are educated enough to understand the data
science is feeding us, but not knowing which way to turn for solutions,
intellectualize and abstract away the very real dread which most sane
human beings feel when felt with the prospect of annihilation. human
beings lived for hundreds of thousands of years before the culture of
plunder took over and now threatens all of our lives.

here is the video which affected me most, just because it shows just how
easy it can be working with nature using intelligent ecological design
to get what we want, e.g. health, a clean green biodiverse environment,
good fresh food, etc. instead of working against her as we have been for
about 10,000 years now:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7404455615...

so there it is, i'll now shut up and let you get back to rubying.

_c
Tom C. (Guest)
on 2009-04-17 00:58
(Received via mailing list)
Eleanor McHugh wrote:
> minimise the environmental impact of humanity their best bet would be
>>
> http://slides.games-with-brains.net
> ----
> raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
>
>
>
>
Free market idealism...ah, yes. In the USA, and, as a consequence, in
world in general, we are presently enjoying the rewards of market left
entirely TOO free. Wild pigs with the social morality of your average
two year old took over, uprooted a lot of the garden and many of the
fruit trees, and as a result many of us are more than a bit worried
about how we're going to feed ourselves in the coming months.

I'm sad, Eleanor, since this is the first time anything you've posted
has evidenced anything but keen intelligence. Ever study
economics...with an emphasis on data, rather than mere theory? I suggest
the investment of some time in that endeavor. Free market idealism is a
lovely thing, but the real world is considerably more complex than such
a simplistic representation as that. I'm puzzled that you missed this.

I would have thought that your superb knowledge of both software design
concepts and the messiness of the working out of those concepts in the
real world might have given you a large hint about all this.

Longing for the sea gets no boats built at all. Grounding that longing
in cooperative effort, governed by a measured degree of altruism, just
might.

"In a free market economy, technology will serve whatever is needed,
when it's needed."

Not if the technology needed requires massive investment with hope of
rapid profit. For that sort of thing, history tends to show government
gets the job far quicker and better. The free market didn't defeat the
Nazis, or invent nuclear technology, and a great deal of the launch of
modern cybernetics was also government sponsored.

Time to come out of orbit and get to work. Fairy tales are for children.

t.

--

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tom C., MS MA, LMHC - Private practice Psychotherapist
Bellingham, Washington, U.S.A: (360) 920-1226
<< removed_email_address@domain.invalid >> (email)
<< TomCloyd.com >> (website)
<< sleightmind.wordpress.com >> (mental health weblog)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tom C. (Guest)
on 2009-04-17 01:01
(Received via mailing list)
Make that -

"Not if the technology needed requires massive investment with LITTLE OR
NO hope of rapid profit.

t.

--

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tom C., MS MA, LMHC - Private practice Psychotherapist
Bellingham, Washington, U.S.A: (360) 920-1226
<< removed_email_address@domain.invalid >> (email)
<< TomCloyd.com >> (website)
<< sleightmind.wordpress.com >> (mental health weblog)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-17 03:24
(Received via mailing list)
On Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 05:58:21AM +0900, Tom C. wrote:
>
> Free market idealism...ah, yes. In the USA, and, as a consequence, in
> world in general, we are presently enjoying the rewards of market left
> entirely TOO free. Wild pigs with the social morality of your average
> two year old took over, uprooted a lot of the garden and many of the
> fruit trees, and as a result many of us are more than a bit worried
> about how we're going to feed ourselves in the coming months.

I believe the technical term for the notion that "the free market" is to
blame for the current economic train wreck is "poppycock".  Only
left-wingnuts, corrupt corporate lobbyists, and politicians that have
been bought and paid for by corrupt corporate lobbyists can claim this
is
a "free" market with a straight face.

Well, them . . . and people who believe the crap they sling because they
don't know anything about economics.

The people to blame are the partisan corporate representatives who
lobbied governmental representatives for special favors, and the
governmental representatives who provided those favors.  None of these
people are interested in a "free" market: they want one in which small
businesses are kept from growing enough to become competitive; in which
laws are passed granting them monopolistic control of their industries;
and in which government regulation essentially forces people go pay for
their services (such as insurance) or products (such as compact corn
based sweeteners).

You've effectively described the people who are, to a significant
degree,
to blame for this mess.  You just mislabel them when you grant them the
term "free".  They want *control*, not freedom.


>
> I'm sad, Eleanor, since this is the first time anything you've posted
> has evidenced anything but keen intelligence. Ever study
> economics...with an emphasis on data, rather than mere theory? I suggest
> the investment of some time in that endeavor. Free market idealism is a
> lovely thing, but the real world is considerably more complex than such
> a simplistic representation as that. I'm puzzled that you missed this.

Please make arguments based on reason, logic, and evidence, rather than
accusations of ignorance, especially since implying that anyone who
believes a free market is better than one controlled by special
interests
must be stupid and know nothing about economics is a great way to look
like you have no idea what you're talking about.  I suppose Nobel prize
winning economists of the Austrian school must be idiots in your view,
with low IQs and no knowledge of economics at all.


>
> I would have thought that your superb knowledge of both software design
> concepts and the messiness of the working out of those concepts in the
> real world might have given you a large hint about all this.

Maybe it does.  Maybe you're the one that hasn't thought things through
clearly -- especially since you haven't said anything that convinces me
you have any "evidence" of anything other than your own biases.


>
> "In a free market economy, technology will serve whatever is needed,
> when it's needed."
>
> Not if the technology needed requires massive investment with hope of
> rapid profit. For that sort of thing, history tends to show government
> gets the job far quicker and better. The free market didn't defeat the
> Nazis, or invent nuclear technology, and a great deal of the launch of
> modern cybernetics was also government sponsored.

I think it's time to invoke Godwin's law, and its first corollary: you
mentioned Nazis, so the argument is over and you lose.

Let's move on.
Todd B. (Guest)
on 2009-04-17 04:18
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 16, 2009 at 6:23 PM, Chad P. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 05:58:21AM +0900, Tom C. wrote:
>>
>> Free market idealism...ah, yes. In the USA, and, as a consequence, in
>> world in general, we are presently enjoying the rewards of market left
>> entirely TOO free. Wild pigs with the social morality of your average
>> two year old took over, uprooted a lot of the garden and many of the
>> fruit trees, and as a result many of us are more than a bit worried
>> about how we're going to feed ourselves in the coming months.

I've been avoiding this thread, but what the heck...

A so-called "free" market economy, I'm sorry to say, is not the utopia
you think it would be.  You can worship Mr. Smith all you want, but
people simply aren't pawns in a giant chess game.  What I mean is that
Adam (and other likewise economists) makes some severe logical leaps;
some terribly skewed assumptions about human behavior.

You will continue to have, and indeed _must_ have, some semblance of
intervention at the ruling party level.  It's simply a check against
what you think would be a balance.

Todd
Xeno C. (Guest)
on 2009-04-17 08:41
(Received via mailing list)
Free market wants cheap transaction cost, which is partly information
cost.
Data processing cat help with that, but won't magically.  It is one of
the
ironies of our era that the fastest way to get a free market and keep it
is to
eliminate large corporations, establish rules requiring 100% worker
ownership,
establish Georgist land and tax reforms, and generally set everyone at
close to
the same level of income, all things best done by government.  Without
people
working at similar levels of scale and in a fair system, you just won't
get
there anyway, so just opt for real democratic socialism, which at least
mitigates the greatest excesses of totalitarianism of any stripe and
allows some
market workings which really help.  All the crap from the Reaganites was
just
bate and switch, and they have conned us to the tune of tens of
trillians of
dollars with it.

I think Ruby will help cheapen information, but the real problem isn't
with
ruby, but with the rules of ownership and the legacy of power owned from
spoils
rather than merit activity.  Money is a poor reflection of merit,
especially
nowadays, and the biggest resource wasters are not those raising taxes,
but
those who cut them so they could waste more resources personally.  The
greenest
among us are the homeless people, so it makes most sense that others
should be
massively taxed to subsidize the homeless people to do some real
savings.

All that is beyond the intent of this group and I think the discussion
should
therefore be taken elsewhere.  I hope ruby wins and merit wins and that
I can
now go back to using this list as a ruby technical resource.

Sincerely, Xeno
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-17 09:00
(Received via mailing list)
Christophe M. wrote:

> what can i say, my entire worldview shifted drastically in a fairly
> short amount of time, i was emotional, sorry.

It's happened to me too - I just wake up in the morning and discover I'm
Lisa Simpson...

(Obligatory winkie: ;)
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-17 11:15
(Received via mailing list)
I honestly do not care about the market model. It is irrelevant(1),
what is relevant are the values a society respects or fails to
respect.

In pure capitalism, ecological behavior is possible, if ecological
values are introduced. In pure communism likewise.
Of course there are other values which would need much more respect,
like freedom and human rights, but I am not going further on this as
this would be OT even for this thread.

Cheers
Robert

(1) and resistance is futile, BTW I like the conclusion of ST Voyager
particularly because it shows the vulnerability of a centralized
system and that holds for Star fleet HQ as well as for the Queen of
Borg. Permaculture can definitely help here :)
List S. (Guest)
on 2009-04-17 23:31
Chad P. wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 05:58:21AM +0900, Tom C. wrote:
>>
>> Free market idealism...ah, yes. In the USA, and, as a consequence, in
>> world in general, we are presently enjoying the rewards of market left
>> entirely TOO free. Wild pigs with the social morality of your average
>> two year old took over, uprooted a lot of the garden and many of the
>> fruit trees, and as a result many of us are more than a bit worried
>> about how we're going to feed ourselves in the coming months.
>
> I believe the technical term for the notion that "the free market" is to
> blame for the current economic train wreck is "poppycock".  Only
> left-wingnuts, corrupt corporate lobbyists, and politicians that have
> been bought and paid for by corrupt corporate lobbyists can claim this
> is
> a "free" market with a straight face.

So what country does have this "free market" you describe ?
Let me guess: none.

If we remove the (cause of all evils, the bad bad) government, what
would change ?
Let me guess: nothing, the multinationals would still rule the world.

..but lets suppose we start all over again, lets suppose we have all the
people with the same resources and the same opportunities, then we apply
"free market" what happens ?
people get together and start their small companies, some do better than
others, the ones that did better buy another company, and then
another....and ooooppss, what we have: monopolistic control over
resources ? corrupt corporate lobbyists ? nahhhhhh the forces of "free
market" suddenly appear and destroy the bad guys and wipe corruption
from the face of the earth.

...that souns familiar, yes I think I saw that somewhere....oh yes, I
now remember, I was eating popcorn...
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-18 00:15
(Received via mailing list)
> .but lets suppose we start all over again, lets suppose we have all the
> people with the same resources and the same opportunities, then we apply
> "free market" what happens ?
> people get together and start their small companies, some do better than
> others, the ones that did better buy another company, and then
> another....and ooooppss, what we have: monopolistic control over
> resources ? corrupt corporate lobbyists ? nahhhhhh the forces of "free
> market" suddenly appear and destroy the bad guys and wipe corruption
> from the face of the earth.

A "free market" is a math curiosity that works in the presense of a
perfectly level playing field, incorruptable rule of law, pure
democracy,
and business standards all perfectly tuned to foster competion. My HMO
will
never sentence me to death because I can easily switch HMOs and force
them
to compete. By magic.

In the real world, there is no law that can withstand the corruption of
power, hence we need to over-regulate the rich, and sometime vote
against
them. The "peasant uprising" can either be built into the system, or it
can
be bloody.

The countries in the world that got this balance right - specifically
the
Pacific Rim countries whose silicon I am now typing on - they all have
in
common just a little governmental extra control over their financial
systems.

Go figure...
Christophe M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-18 03:05
> I honestly do not care about the market model. It is irrelevant(1),
> what is relevant are the values a society respects or fails to
> respect.

i believe that is thinking along the right lines.
but maybe our models are hopelessly outdated:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_Economics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_ecology
Alexey P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-18 08:38
No need to save the Planet. It should function well in the next 30-100
years.
The Singularity will come earlier (~30). It will solve all problems.
We will get abilities to got new bodies, new mind, and new souls.
There will be no need to stay in the body of monkey anymore, we'll get
ability to exist in any form, humanoid, virtual-mind, distributed
systems (like skynet), pure energy, ... There will be no limits.

So, come back, don't be afraid to love Ruby. ;) The sooner Singularity
comes the better, for all(also for Earth).
john maclean (Guest)
on 2009-04-18 08:54
(Received via mailing list)
2009/4/18 Alexey P. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>:
> --
> Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
>
>

And besides, who are we kidding thinking that the planet needs us?
It's been around for a long time before we were here and can do
without us fine**x, where x is a Bignum.

--
John M.
07739 171 531
MSc (DIC)

Timezone: GMT
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-18 09:05
(Received via mailing list)
Alexey P. wrote:

> The Singularity will come earlier (~30).

Thirty years? Note that only 40 years ago, futurists predicted we'd have
flying cars, moonbases, and brain transplants by now...

The S is a staple of science fiction. Confer Vernor Vinge, for example.
Its
projection is not grounded in facts.

The plot of scientific knowledge over time is a simple ramp up, but the
plot
of the corresponding technology follows an S-curve:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmoid_function

On the lower left end of that curve, humans are too busy hunting and
scavenging to bother with advanced research.

We are above the middle these days, where each scientific advance
rapidly
yields a technology boost.

The closer we get to the upper right, the less valuable each scientific
advance becomes. Eventually, a billion dollars of research will not
yield a
million dollars of profit from new gizmos.

We have already seen this effect in many of our advances. Nuclear power
works great on paper, but if the only thing we can do with the spent
fuel is
dump it on Iraq or Somalia then those guys might actually achieve the
moral
high ground in the court of global public opinion and shut us down.

Similarly, string theory is an awesome idea, but I have heard that
nobody
can think of an experiment that would prove, adjust, or bust it. The
experiments themselves create the new technology, but as our microscopes
and
telescopes get smaller and bigger, they will only show us wonders that
lead
to no practical applications.

"This one a long time have I watched. Never his mind on where he was.
Hmm?
What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh! A Jedi craves
not
these things." --Yoda
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-18 09:10
(Received via mailing list)
> And besides, who are we kidding thinking that the planet needs us?
> It's been around for a long time before we were here and can do
> without us fine**x, where x is a Bignum.

Who will move it to a safe orbit as the Sun goes off the Main Sequence?

Mother Nature works in mysterious ways. Including sometimes via Epic
Fail.
Philip R. (Guest)
on 2009-04-18 09:56
(Received via mailing list)
People,


Phlip wrote:
>> And besides, who are we kidding thinking that the planet needs us?
>> It's been around for a long time before we were here and can do
>> without us fine**x, where x is a Bignum.
>
> Who will move it to a safe orbit as the Sun goes off the Main Sequence?
>
> Mother Nature works in mysterious ways. Including sometimes via Epic Fail.


We won't have to wait for the Sun to do us in - we are causing our own
mass extinction event (the first time one has been caused by an
individual species as opposed to some other, external, physical
phenomena) . .

Phil.
--
Philip R.

GPO Box 3411
Sydney NSW  2001
Australia
E-mail:  removed_email_address@domain.invalid
Aaron T. (Guest)
on 2009-04-18 19:34
(Received via mailing list)
On Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 10:55 PM, Philip R. 
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
wrote:
> We won't have to wait for the Sun to do us in - we are causing our own mass
> extinction event (the first time one has been caused by an individual
> species as opposed to some other, external, physical phenomena) . .


Well look on the bright side, when we're all extinct, then this thread
will be dead too.  How about everyone who wants to continue this
particular discussion find a better place for it?

Here's a few suggestions:
http://www.environmentalpages.org/
http://discuss.greenoptions.com/
http://www.theenvironmentsite.org/forum/

I'd imaging any of those forums would love to have this conversation-
unlike the majority of people here on ruby-talk who would like to talk
programming.
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-18 20:04
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 7:10 AM, Phlip <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> 
wrote:
>> And besides, who are we kidding thinking that the planet needs us?
>> It's been around for a long time before we were here and can do
>> without us fine**x, where x is a Bignum.
>
> Who will move it to a safe orbit as the Sun goes off the Main Sequence?
Hmm I was very recently thinking that we are really worried about the
wrong thing. 10**9 years is a long time to be hit by a big enough
meteorite to really worry about. That is where research and argggg
weapon like devices are needed to prevent aehems, ....
>
> Mother Nature works in mysterious ways. Including sometimes via Epic Fail.
Oh she does and extinction might happen despite all our efforts, even
"tomorrow" and without our doings. I however think we should still
deploy our efforts, don't you?

And now for something completely different, the more I follow the
links Christophe provides the less I feel that this thread is OT.
Those models seem maybe utopic to you? Well I would have liked to have
your prognosis about the Open Source movement when it started to
evolve, would you have thaught it might come so far and lead to
strange languages like err "Ruby" :).

Cheers
Robert
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-18 20:12
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 5:33 PM, Aaron T. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
wrote:
> Here's a few suggestions:
> http://www.environmentalpages.org/
> http://discuss.greenoptions.com/
> http://www.theenvironmentsite.org/forum/
>
> I'd imaging any of those forums would love to have this conversation-
> unlike the majority of people here on ruby-talk who would like to talk
> programming.
Well maybe we should, prise to you for the nice and constructive way
you asked Aaron.
R.
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-18 20:14
(Received via mailing list)
Robert D. wrote:

>> Who will move it to a safe orbit as the Sun goes off the Main Sequence?

> Hmm I was very recently thinking that we are really worried about the
> wrong thing. 10**9 years is a long time to be hit by a big enough
> meteorite to really worry about. That is where research and argggg
> weapon like devices are needed to prevent aehems, ....

And the systems to prevent terr'ists from using said weapons to aim a
rock
AT the Earth will be...

...uh, programmed in Ruby! Yeah, that's the ticket!!

>> Mother Nature works in mysterious ways. Including sometimes via Epic
>> Fail.

> Oh she does and extinction might happen despite all our efforts, even
> "tomorrow" and without our doings. I however think we should still
> deploy our efforts, don't you?

Only MN is allowed to extinct things. Not us.
Michael S. (Guest)
on 2009-04-18 23:11
Christophe M. wrote:

> We are presently losing 200 species a day on this planet. That rate is
> as high as during the greatest species die offs in the earth's natural
> history, during disasters, like eruptions of super-volcanoes and meteor
> impacts. Ecological diversity is of course what keeps us alive.

It was at this point that I rolled my eyes. Question: where did you get
this statistic? A quick Google shows that there is a lot of disagreement
on it - so why did you choose this number to quote as if it were an
established fact.

You then went on to state that there is a scientific consensus on
man-made climate change. Again even a cursory google shows that there is
anything but. Indeed, over 31,000 scientists have gone on record in
disagreeing with this.  While Al Gore likes to claim the consensus as
true - but stating a lie repeatedly doesn't make it a truism.

A recent NASA study (I first saw it in December - but it has been
referenced in quite a few news stories since) shows that the earth's
temperature - which was slowly rising up to 1998 - hasn't changed since
then. Some scientists (and I don't give them much credence, either - I'm
an equal opportunity skeptic) are beginning to claim that the earth is
entering a cooling phase.

Now, do I believe the earth's climate is changing? Absolutely. It has
been in a state of flux since the beginning of time - why should it stop
now? Do I think man is the reason? The jury is out on that one. I'll
agree we're part of the ecosystem - therefore have contribution. How
much is another question.

I do believe we should do what we can to clean up the planet, however. A
clean environment is a good thing! We should be doing it for its own
sake, however, not because some alarmists who are afraid to look at all
data on an issue are screaming the sky is falling.
Martin DeMello (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 01:43
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 10:08 AM, Alexey P. 
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
wrote:
> No need to save the Planet. It should function well in the next 30-100
> years.
> The Singularity will come earlier (~30). It will solve all problems.
> We will get abilities to got new bodies, new mind, and new souls.
> There will be no need to stay in the body of monkey anymore, we'll get
> ability to exist in any form, humanoid, virtual-mind, distributed
> systems (like skynet), pure energy, ... There will be no limits.

If Accelerando is to be believed, computing power will then become the
new scarce resource.

martin
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 01:46
(Received via mailing list)
> Now, do I believe the earth's climate is changing? Absolutely. It has
> been in a state of flux since the beginning of time - why should it stop
> now? Do I think man is the reason? The jury is out on that one.

Actually, >95% of all scientists agree the cause is anthropogenic (us).

However, surveys have shown that >90% of civilians think the scientists
are
split 50-50.

The article I read concluded - playfully - by attributing this to a
noble
effort on behalf of the news media to always show both sides of an
issue...
Martin DeMello (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 02:01
(Received via mailing list)
On Sun, Apr 19, 2009 at 3:15 AM, Phlip <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> 
wrote:
> effort on behalf of the news media to always show both sides of an issue...
I'd love to read that article, if you can find it again.

martin
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 02:25
(Received via mailing list)
> I'd love to read that article, if you can find it again.
I tried while posting. Googling for any variation on [climate change]
gives
a billion hits, and I don't remember anything specific about the
article!
Michael S. (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 02:58
Phlip wrote:
>> Now, do I believe the earth's climate is changing? Absolutely. It has
>> been in a state of flux since the beginning of time - why should it stop
>> now? Do I think man is the reason? The jury is out on that one.
>
> Actually, >95% of all scientists agree the cause is anthropogenic (us).

As before ... exactly where does that statistic come from? What is its
source? It's very easy to throw around numbers that have been tossed out
- but many if not most statistics (from both sides) are simply made up.

As I pointed out in the previous post, there are over 30,000 scientists
who signed a statement that they do *NOT* believe that. There is no
comparative list of those who believe that it is. In and of itself, that
doesn't say that it isn't. After all, there was once a vast majority of
scientists who believed the earth was the center of the universe.

This is my main complaint with this type of argument. Those in the
argument - on BOTH sides - seem to be incapable of rational thought.
They hear a statement and don't question it. Worse, they accept - or
reject - facts just because it happens to support their personal bias.
Jared Nance (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 03:51
(Received via mailing list)
It's worth pointing out that, in point of fact, there is a clear
consensus in the climatology community
as delineated by peer reviewers.  In a survey of papers published
between 1993 and 2003 (a sample
size of ~1000), the number of papers published which disagreed with
the anthropogenic model of
climate change was exactly zero - also the number who argued that the
earth's climate is naturally warming.
Here's a citation:
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

As to the argument that many 'scientists' have signed a statement to
the effect that climate change is not
caused by humans, I wish to quickly point out that because a person is
a scientist does not make them
an expert on science in general.  I am a neutrino physicist, and I
consider myself completely unqualified
to offer an expert opinion on many sub-disciplines within physics -
let alone those entirely outside it.  Asking
a generic scientist is the climate is changing based on the data is a
bit like asking an electrical engineer
to evaluate the safety of a building.  Right idea, wrong guy.

If you're going to listen to ANYBODY on this argument, you should be
listening to the people who are
publishing scientific and peer-reviewed papers on the topic - and the
consensus there is entirely
unambiguous.
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 06:41
(Received via mailing list)
> As to the argument that many 'scientists' have signed a statement to
> the effect that climate change is not
> caused by humans, I wish to quickly point out that because a person is
> a scientist does not make them
> an expert on science in general.

Dilbert covered that once. Dogbert hired a consultant to bribe a
scientist
and a reporter to generate a headline that pollution was good for
toddlers.
Jon A. Lambert (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 11:14
(Received via mailing list)
This is one of the funniest e-mails I've read on this list.
Thanks.
Philip R. (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 11:25
(Received via mailing list)
Jon,

Why is it funny? - I mostly agree with everything he said - the only
qualification is that I am skeptical that even a lot of people dropping
out will have any impact on the major problems that he mentions.  He is
right, Malthus was right.

BTW, I am a sometime biologist using Ruby to do biological simulations
(population genetics), which, for me, means this discussion is ON topic
and relevant.

Regards,

Phil.


Jon A. Lambert wrote:
>> truly loved what I was doing. I did experience some of the health
>> community is in the vast majority in thinking that it is man made, that
>>
>> combined are at this point probably insurmountable. The longer we wait
>>
>> yourselves. It's life or death now, but the problem is that humans,
>> even the smartest humans do not react to threats unless they are
>> directly in front of them in plain view. We have our own evolutionary
>> psychology to blame for this.
>>
>> We need all the brains of the earth on this one.
>>
>> Good Luck.
>
>

--
Philip R.

GPO Box 3411
Sydney NSW  2001
Australia
E-mail:  removed_email_address@domain.invalid
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 12:09
(Received via mailing list)
On Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 09:18:13AM +0900, Todd B. wrote:
>
> I've been avoiding this thread, but what the heck...
>
> A so-called "free" market economy, I'm sorry to say, is not the utopia
> you think it would be.  You can worship Mr. Smith all you want, but
> people simply aren't pawns in a giant chess game.  What I mean is that
> Adam (and other likewise economists) makes some severe logical leaps;
> some terribly skewed assumptions about human behavior.

I think you gravely misunderstand what "free market" means and have
little or no idea what Smith said.  There's nothing in any Austrian
economic theory or economic individualist philosophy that implies an
economy is a giant chess game.  These are the beliefs, not of free
market
economists, but of Keynesian economists and similar interventionists.


>
> You will continue to have, and indeed _must_ have, some semblance of
> intervention at the ruling party level.  It's simply a check against
> what you think would be a balance.

How you can say that with a straight face just after asserting that
people aren't pawns in a giant chess game is beyond me.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 12:17
(Received via mailing list)
On Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 01:40:42PM +0900, Xeno C. wrote:
> help.  All the crap from the Reaganites was just bate and switch, and they
> have conned us to the tune of tens of trillians of dollars with it.

I don't think there's anything ironic about the notion that eliminating
large corporations is necessary to secure a free market.  After all,
corporations are *by definition* the result of market intervention by
force.  Government steps in and defines a special class of legal entity
with its own "rights" called the corporation, and suddenly all hell
breaks loose.  Eliminate this interference with market forces, and many
of the hurdles standing in the way of a healthy free market economy will
evaporate.

I don't see how "requiring 100% worker ownership", equalizing income
levels regardless of the value or cost of one's contributions, or making
other interventionist moves is in any way compatible with a free market,
though.  That *would* be ironic, since it would be self-contradictory.

How exactly is the act of prohibiting people from being rewarded in
proportion to their contributions part of a "fair system"?

There are other options than fascism and socialism, y'know.


>
> I think Ruby will help cheapen information, but the real problem isn't with
> ruby, but with the rules of ownership and the legacy of power owned from
> spoils rather than merit activity.  Money is a poor reflection of merit,
> especially nowadays, and the biggest resource wasters are not those raising
> taxes, but those who cut them so they could waste more resources
> personally.  The greenest among us are the homeless people, so it makes
> most sense that others should be massively taxed to subsidize the homeless
> people to do some real savings.

Saying it doesn't make it so.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 12:20
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 02:10:02PM +0900, Phlip wrote:
> > And besides, who are we kidding thinking that the planet needs us?
> > It's been around for a long time before we were here and can do
> > without us fine**x, where x is a Bignum.
>
> Who will move it to a safe orbit as the Sun goes off the Main Sequence?

Post-humans, of course.  I, for one, welcome our new us-as-masters in a
post-singularity world.

>
> Mother Nature works in mysterious ways. Including sometimes via Epic Fail.

. . . or, in this case, by giving rise to a race (humans) who have the
potential to accelerate its own evolution via technological singularity
(I hope).
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 12:21
(Received via mailing list)
On Sun, Apr 19, 2009 at 01:11:11AM +0900, Phlip wrote:
>
> Only MN is allowed to extinct things. Not us.

Minnesota . . . ?
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 12:24
(Received via mailing list)
On Sun, Apr 19, 2009 at 06:40:41AM +0900, Martin DeMello wrote:
> new scarce resource.
Interesting.  Accelerando is sitting on a shelf in my living room,
waiting to come up in the reading list queue some time in the next month
or so.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 12:28
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 04:31:44AM +0900, List Sp wrote:
> >
> > I believe the technical term for the notion that "the free market" is to
> > blame for the current economic train wreck is "poppycock".  Only
> > left-wingnuts, corrupt corporate lobbyists, and politicians that have
> > been bought and paid for by corrupt corporate lobbyists can claim this
> > is
> > a "free" market with a straight face.
>
> So what country does have this "free market" you describe ?
> Let me guess: none.

What utopian system do you favor that *does* exist, or *has* existed in
a
form that didn't end up failing in a truly epic manner (or even with a
pathetic whimper)?


>
> If we remove the (cause of all evils, the bad bad) government, what
> would change ?

Who said anything about government being the cause of all evils, or that
it should be "removed"?


> Let me guess: nothing, the multinationals would still rule the world.

I think you may lack some understanding of what makes corporations tick.
They depend on market interventions for their various existence.


>
> ..but lets suppose we start all over again, lets suppose we have all the
> people with the same resources and the same opportunities, then we apply
> "free market" what happens ?
> people get together and start their small companies, some do better than
> others, the ones that did better buy another company, and then
> another....and ooooppss, what we have: monopolistic control over
> resources ? corrupt corporate lobbyists ? nahhhhhh the forces of "free
> market" suddenly appear and destroy the bad guys and wipe corruption
> from the face of the earth.

A company can't "own" anything without economic intervention by an
authoritarian power structure such as government.  Only individuals can
own something, absent agents of authoritarian power to enforce the legal
decree of personhood conveyed upon a corporation.


>
> ...that souns familiar, yes I think I saw that somewhere....oh yes, I
> now remember, I was eating popcorn...

I don't find that statement a very compelling argument, nor even a very
clever jibe.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 12:30
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 05:15:01AM +0900, Phlip wrote:
> A "free market" is a math curiosity that works in the presense of a
> perfectly level playing field, incorruptable rule of law, pure democracy,
> and business standards all perfectly tuned to foster competion. My HMO will
> never sentence me to death because I can easily switch HMOs and force them
> to compete. By magic.

An HMO wouldn't exist in a free market, because "free market" implies
the
necessary absence of governmental intervention causing the existence of
a
corporation to be possible.  Corporations are, by definition, legal
"persons" -- something that sure as shit doesn't exist without someone
with a bunch of guns going around making sure everybody plays along.
That doesn't sound very "free" to me.
Todd B. (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 16:00
(Received via mailing list)
On Sun, Apr 19, 2009 at 3:08 AM, Chad P. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
wrote:
>> what you think would be a balance.
>
> How you can say that with a straight face just after asserting that
> people aren't pawns in a giant chess game is beyond me.
>
> --
> Chad P. [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
> Quoth Antoine de Saint-Exupery: "A designer knows he has achieved
> perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is
> nothing left to take away."
>

I'm starting to think that you are talking so loud that I can't hear
what you're saying.

Todd
Jeff S. (Guest)
on 2009-04-19 20:11
(Received via mailing list)
Phlip wrote:
> Alexey P. wrote:
>
>> The Singularity will come earlier (~30).
>
> Thirty years? Note that only 40 years ago, futurists predicted we'd have
> flying cars, moonbases, and brain transplants by now...

Didn't you get your jet pack? :)

> The closer we get to the upper right, the less valuable each scientific
> advance becomes. Eventually, a billion dollars of research will not yield a
> million dollars of profit from new gizmos.

We've got a long, long, long way to go before we get there.
Jon A. Lambert (Guest)
on 2009-04-20 10:53
(Received via mailing list)
"Philip R." wrote:
> Why is it funny? - I mostly agree with everything he said - the only
> qualification is that I am skeptical that even a lot of people dropping
> out will have any impact on the major problems that he mentions.  He is
> right, Malthus was right.

It's funny because it's a sky-is-falling stupid rant.
Since you're a biologist, I'll just ask you on the first point.
Can you name one of the 200 species that became extinct today?
Can you name any of the 6000 that became extinct this month?
Martin DeMello (Guest)
on 2009-04-20 11:00
(Received via mailing list)
On Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 12:22 PM, Jon A. Lambert 
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
wrote:
> any of the 6000 that became extinct this month?
I highly recommend "The Science of Discworld" (a popular-science book
about the history of the scientific method) for a good perspective on
the issue.

martin
Christophe M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-21 03:37
> It's funny because it's a sky-is-falling stupid rant.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction_event
which by the way is the current extinction event.

"Most biologists believe that we are at this moment at the beginning of
a tremendously accelerated anthropogenic mass extinction. E.O. Wilson of
Harvard, in The Future of Life (2002), estimates that at current rates
of human disruption of the biosphere, one-half of all species of life
will be extinct by 2100. In 1998 the American Museum of Natural History
conducted a poll of biologists that revealed that the vast majority of
biologists believe that we are in the midst of an anthropogenic mass
extinction. Numerous scientific studies since then—such as a 2004 report
from Nature,[4] and those by the 10,000 scientists who contribute to the
IUCN's annual Red List of threatened species—have only strengthened this
consensus."

you can quibble about the exact figures if that's your bag, but that
truly would be stupid.
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 16:40
(Received via mailing list)
On 16 Apr 2009, at 21:58, Tom C. wrote:
> Free market idealism...ah, yes. In the USA, and, as a consequence,
> in world in general, we are presently enjoying the rewards of market
> left entirely TOO free. Wild pigs with the social morality of your
> average two year old took over, uprooted a lot of the garden and
> many of the fruit trees, and as a result many of us are more than a
> bit worried about how we're going to feed ourselves in the coming
> months.

You haven't had a free market in the USA, any more than we have here
in the UK. And because the market wasn't free, but a pro-monopoly
model based upon the Chicago School belief that price is the
determinant of market efficiency (it isn't) and that lowest price can
be delivered only where there is a strong market monopoly (which is
patently absurd), we're seeing another bubble go pop.

> I'm sad, Eleanor, since this is the first time anything you've
> posted has evidenced anything but keen intelligence.

Well I guess that blows the conceit that I'm largely invisible on
here :)

> Ever study economics...with an emphasis on data, rather than mere
> theory? I suggest the investment of some time in that endeavor. Free
> market idealism is a lovely thing, but the real world is
> considerably more
> complex than such a simplistic representation as that. I'm puzzled
> that you missed this.

I have a degree in physics and that leads me to believe that all
phenomena can be reduced to a simplistic representation, if they can
be reduced at all. That's a fundamental tenet of the scientific method
which I apply to both the development of software and to analysis of
everything else.

> I would have thought that your superb knowledge of both software
> design concepts and the messiness of the working out of those
> concepts in the real world might have given you a large hint about
> all this.

Actually my belief in truly free markets is an outgrowth of the
analytical skills mentioned above. When I was a teenager I thought
that government could play a useful role in moderating the negative
impacts of individual groups in society (in UK terms I was a Liberal)
but the deeper I studied physics and the more familiar I became with
both non-linear and quantum systems the more convinced I became that
the only way to govern anything well is to embrace the chaos and
decentralise/deregulate. That insight has served me very well in
software development and I see no reason why it shouldn't apply
equally well to economics or politics as well.

I also make no assumptions regarding the good will or rationality of
any participant in a physical system, and that already puts me one
step ahead of those economic theorists who insist on including the
implicate calculus of human motivation into their models.

> Longing for the sea gets no boats built at all. Grounding that
> longing in cooperative effort, governed by a measured degree of
> altruism, just might.

However someone not only has to want to go to see in the first place,
they also have to convince others that it's a good idea. Cooperative
effort is not something that arises magically just because an idea is
good, it is a consequence of the idea being sold: that's why bad
technology so often predominates commercially, because it has been
sold better. The same applies to politics, where in my experience the
vast majority of legislation is bad because the key element isn't
efficacy but marketability.

Thankfully the larger the market and the smaller the elements within
it, the less overall effect individual bad decisions will have - which
is why a key element of genuine free markets is that they abhor
monopoly. Our ecosystem is a pretty good example of this principle in
practice.

> "In a free market economy, technology will serve whatever is needed,
> when it's needed."
>
> Not if the technology needed requires massive investment with
> <correction>LITTLE OR NO</correction> hope of rapid profit. For that
> sort of thing, history tends to show government gets the job far
> quicker and better. The free market didn't defeat the Nazis, or
> invent nuclear technology, and a great deal of the launch of modern
> cybernetics was also government sponsored.

True, the free market didn't defeat the Nazis. Except of course that
the economies which funded the defeat of the Nazis were all built on
free market models. The USSR would not have triumphed in the war were
it not for the huge investment of US resources and the war wouldn't
even have lasted long enough for that to happen if it hadn't been for
the huge investment of British resources. Of course that investment
required political will as well, largely generated as a result of the
incredible marketing skills of Winston Churchill.

As for nuclear technology, much of the point there is that government
invested in weapons research because it was hungry for a super-weapon
which lead to the development of the nuclear reactor as a necessary
prerequisite. However the development of the reactor could just as
easily have been achieved by private enterprise had there been a
perceived need: there was an amusing incident a few years ago with a
boy scout who built a nuclear pile in his garden shed using the radium
from about 7000 old glow-in-the-dark watch-faces to prove that point.
The relative investment of resources to develop nuclear power is also
not dissimilar to the investment required to develop steam power in
the 18th century, and that was largely privately funded because people
saw the benefit it would provide their businesses.

Likewise if there was a perceived need for cybernetics you can bet
that the money would appear to fund it. Look at the truly remarkable
medical achievement of our era, the mapping of the human genome. The
vast majority of that work was funded by private donation to the
Sanger Institute which is a charitable trust. The Welcome Trust
(another charity) is the largest conductor of medical research in the
world.


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 17:00
(Received via mailing list)
On 19 Apr 2009, at 09:29, Chad P. wrote:
> An HMO wouldn't exist in a free market, because "free market"
> implies the
> necessary absence of governmental intervention causing the existence
> of a
> corporation to be possible.  Corporations are, by definition, legal
> "persons" -- something that sure as shit doesn't exist without someone
> with a bunch of guns going around making sure everybody plays along.
> That doesn't sound very "free" to me.

The whole point of Joint Stock Companies in the first place was to
create and maintain legal trade monopolies, and as we see at every
turn any market system which places undue reliance upon them as the
foundation of a "free" market becomes heavily distorted. However even
large corporations are bounded by the laws of thermodynamics and will
eventually fail, which of course is what a bubble crash such as the
current one is supposed to achieve. Unfortunately governments insist
on bailing out failing corporations when they're sufficiently
politically influential and that exacerbates matters in the long term:
just look at the disastrous history of nationalised industries in the
UK...


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Suresh K. (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 17:01
> .
>
> Goodbye Ruby my Dear,
> Christophe

    Hello_Earth != " Goodbye Ruby"

    Ruby ==  "more productivity"

    more_productivity == "Less Impediments"

    less_impedients == "Less or No Tension"

    no_tension ==  "Good Earth"
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 17:04
(Received via mailing list)
On 18 Apr 2009, at 06:10, Phlip wrote:
>> And besides, who are we kidding thinking that the planet needs us?
>> It's been around for a long time before we were here and can do
>> without us fine**x, where x is a Bignum.
>
> Who will move it to a safe orbit as the Sun goes off the Main
> Sequence?
>
> Mother Nature works in mysterious ways. Including sometimes via Epic
> Fail.

If a billion years isn't long enough to Dyson sphere the Sun it's
because we're either a failed evolutionary experiment and no longer
around (more than likely) or our descendants have come up with a
better option.


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Rimantas L. (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 17:05
(Received via mailing list)
<...>
> Actually my belief in truly free markets is an outgrowth of the analytical
> skills mentioned above. When I was a teenager I thought that government
> could play a useful role in moderating the negative impacts of individual
> groups in society (in UK terms I was a Liberal) but the deeper I studied
> physics and the more familiar I became with both non-linear and quantum
> systems the more convinced I became that the only way to govern anything
> well is to embrace the chaos and decentralise/deregulate. That insight has
> served me very well in software development and I see no reason why it
> shouldn't apply equally well to economics or politics as well.

Well, getting another degree in sociology or psychology should fix that.
There are no spherical cows. I have degree in physics myself, but
all attempts to remove human factor from equation seem laughable to me.


Regards,
Rimantas
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 17:09
(Received via mailing list)
On 18 Apr 2009, at 20:11, Michael S. wrote:
> I do believe we should do what we can to clean up the planet,
> however. A
> clean environment is a good thing! We should be doing it for its own
> sake, however, not because some alarmists who are afraid to look at
> all
> data on an issue are screaming the sky is falling.

Now that's a statement I can get behind. Likewise I believe we should
be being efficient in our resource consumption because it's good
management: if I can get three times the mileage from a gallon of
petrol, that's three times the number of miles I can travel on it or
one-third as many trips to a garage to fill up. Not that I drive, but
you hopefully see my point :)


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 17:19
(Received via mailing list)
On 18 Apr 2009, at 23:58, Michael S. wrote:
> As before ... exactly where does that statistic come from? What is its
> doesn't say that it isn't. After all, there was once a vast majority
> of
> scientists who believed the earth was the center of the universe.
>
> This is my main complaint with this type of argument. Those in the
> argument - on BOTH sides - seem to be incapable of rational thought.
> They hear a statement and don't question it. Worse, they accept - or
> reject - facts just because it happens to support their personal bias.

Most scientists are not impartial and the further one moves from
empirical study into model-driven simulation, the less credence one
should give to any theory.

My main criticism of climate science's attempts to model global
warming is that it's fundamentally flawed in its methodology. The
climate is a chaotic non-linear system and hence the only way to make
accurate predictions is to understand its exact starting conditions.
Instead researchers take patchy historical data over a brief
geological period and feed that into incredibly complex climate models
to produce predictions.

Am I the only one reminded of Ptolemy's model of the heavens? A
stunning intellectual achievement, but as Copernicus demonstrated so
effectively, a complete fiction which prevented astronomy from
progressing for a good fourteen hundred years.


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 17:31
(Received via mailing list)
On 19 Apr 2009, at 09:27, Chad P. wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 04:31:44AM +0900, List Sp wrote:
>> So what country does have this "free market" you describe ?
>> Let me guess: none.
>
> What utopian system do you favor that *does* exist, or *has* existed
> in a
> form that didn't end up failing in a truly epic manner (or even with a
> pathetic whimper)?

Although as anyone who's read Utopia will know, Moore was making a
mockery of the notion that all things could be directed with the
perfection of clockwork. He was the Orwell of the sixteenth century ;)


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 17:37
(Received via mailing list)
Suresh Kk wrote:
>
>     less_impedients == "Less or No Tension"
>
>     no_tension ==  "Good Earth"

Diiiing! What do we have for him, Johny??!
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 17:37
(Received via mailing list)
Eleanor McHugh wrote:

> My main criticism of climate science's attempts to model global
> warming is that it's fundamentally flawed in its methodology. The
> climate is a chaotic non-linear system and hence the only way to make
> accurate predictions is to understand its exact starting conditions.

The _weather_ is chaotic. The _climate_ is the walking average, beneath
the
turbulence. The point of the Butterfly Effect aphorism is you _can't_
predict
whether the butterfly's wings flapping in Africa will create a hurricane
in the
Atlantic, even if you _did_ know how its wings flapped in microscopic
detail.

However, you can predict trends over time, and you can predict the
effect of
forcing (such as more sunspots, or more CO2) on those trends. For
example,
Katrina occurred at the peak of a decadal cycle in hurricane activity.
That
doesn't mean CO2 didn't have a role...

> Instead researchers take patchy historical data over a brief
> geological period and feed that into incredibly complex climate models
> to produce predictions.

That's the prediction phase of the experiment. Then they confirm their
predictions by correlating them to historical data, such as ice cores in
glaciers containing the predicted amounts of certain chemicals at
certain depths.

> Am I the only one reminded of Ptolemy's model of the heavens? A
> stunning intellectual achievement, but as Copernicus demonstrated so
> effectively, a complete fiction which prevented astronomy from
> progressing for a good fourteen hundred years.

You have both the history and details wrong. Copernicus did not
_demonstrate_
anything - he simply published the alternate view, which had already
existed.
And (the ghost of Carl Sagan notwithstanding), Ptolemaic models did not
"prevent
astronomy from progressing". You could still predict, over time, where
Mars and
Jupiter would appear in the skies. That's as old as Astrology.
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 18:07
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 3:03 PM, Eleanor McHugh
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> If a billion years isn't long enough to Dyson sphere the Sun it's because
> we're either a failed evolutionary experiment and no longer around (more
> than likely) or our descendants have come up with a better option.
This is a joke, right, well probably not.
I always thought that a Dyson sphere was Gene Rodenberry's idea, but
seems there has been some serious thoughts about it.
BTW if there were any Dyson spheres out there, should we not be able
to detect them already in a certain distance? I mean would that not
cause some anomalies between emissions and gravitational behavior of
the neighboring stars? Or is this shadowed by the gravitational
overkill of the "central black hole"?
Cheeers
Robert

>
>
>



--
Si tu veux construire un bateau ...
Ne rassemble pas des hommes pour aller chercher du bois, préparer des
outils, répartir les tâches, alléger le travail… mais enseigne aux
gens la nostalgie de l’infini de la mer.

If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect
wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to
long for the endless immensity of the sea.
Ruby S. (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 19:31
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 10:06 AM, Robert D.
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid>wrote:

> >> Mother Nature works in mysterious ways. Including sometimes via Epic
> cause some anomalies between emissions and gravitational behavior of
> > Games With Brains
> --
> Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
>
>
O sea, en lugar de darle un pez a un individuo, enseñalo a pescar!
Christophe M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 20:34
> I have a degree in physics and that leads me to believe that all
> phenomena can be reduced to a simplistic representation, if they can
> be reduced at all. That's a fundamental tenet of the scientific method
> which I apply to both the development of software and to analysis of
> everything else.

it is not a fundamental tenet of the scientific method, it is one
possible modality of doing science, but there are others. i would argue
that under the current circumstances in which humanity and the rest of
the natural world find themselves a more holistic, systems
theoretical/ecological approach would be far more appropriate.
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 21:00
(Received via mailing list)
On 22 Apr 2009, at 15:06, Robert D. wrote:
>>>
> seems there has been some serious thoughts about it.
The clue is in the name: Dyson spheres were hypothesised by Freeman
Dyson and I believe the general concept was first popularised by Larry
Niven in his Ringworld novels. I was being somewhat flippant as I
doubt humanity will be here in a billion years, but if we are it would
speak poorly of us if we failed to advance our technology sufficiently
to fully utilise the energy output by our nearest star. After all, it
only took a billion years or thereabouts for the earliest multi-
cellular life-forms to evolve into modern humans...

> BTW if there were any Dyson spheres out there, should we not be able
> to detect them already in a certain distance? I mean would that not
> cause some anomalies between emissions and gravitational behavior of
> the neighboring stars? Or is this shadowed by the gravitational
> overkill of the "central black hole"?

It might. However whether or not we will ever detect evidence of one
is dependant on the probability of a particular chain of events:

1. life exists elsewhere in the universe;
2. that life has thrown up an active intelligence;
3. that intelligence is sufficiently social to survive for a
significant geological timeframe;
4. the resulting society develops sufficiently advanced technology to
reengineer the structure of their solar system;
5. having achieved that level of technology they then have the will to
use it;
6. and all this has already happened.


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 21:32
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 6:59 PM, Eleanor McHugh
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>>>>
>> I always thought that a Dyson sphere was Gene Rodenberry's idea, but
>
> 2. that life has thrown up an active intelligence;
> 3. that intelligence is sufficiently social to survive for a significant
> geological timeframe;
> 4. the resulting society develops sufficiently advanced technology to
> reengineer the structure of their solar system;
> 5. having achieved that level of technology they then have the will to use
> it;
> 6. and all this has already happened.
I challenge this ;), a Dyson sphere might be the evolutionary response
of spacebound nonconscient lifeforms.
Now that would be a deception.

BTW
We are not OT here, the same lifeform has created a biological virtual
machine for Ruby, completely by chance!!!!
Can you believe it?

Cheers
Robert
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 22:33
(Received via mailing list)
On 22 Apr 2009, at 18:31, Robert D. wrote:
>> one is
>> to use
>> it;
>> 6. and all this has already happened.
> I challenge this ;), a Dyson sphere might be the evolutionary response
> of spacebound nonconscient lifeforms.
> Now that would be a deception.

Fred Hoyle proposed something similar in the form of intelligent dust
clouds which I've always found appealing.

> BTW
> We are not OT here, the same lifeform has created a biological virtual
> machine for Ruby, completely by chance!!!!
> Can you believe it?

I'm willing to believe that if a Dyson sphere evolved naturally that
it would be Ruby compatible :)


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 22:40
(Received via mailing list)
On 16 Apr 2009, at 20:07, Christophe M. wrote:
> science is feeding us, but not knowing which way to turn for
> solutions,
> intellectualize and abstract away the very real dread which most sane
> human beings feel when felt with the prospect of annihilation. human
> beings lived for hundreds of thousands of years before the culture of
> plunder took over and now threatens all of our lives.

I wish you well with your endeavours as I'm sure on a personal level
that permaculture is rewarding (at least based on my experiences of
growing my own vegetables and brewing my own alcohol) so please don't
take this as an "I disagree with you so you're an idiot" comment
because it isn't, but I think you've fallen for the same golden-age
myth that's haunted all human civilisations since at least the
invention of writing.

Human beings lived for hundreds of thousands of years before their
numbers were sufficient for our basic instincts to start making a
significant impact on a global scale, but if you look at the ecology
of particular regions you'll see that long before settlement and
domestication we were already a primary mover of our environment.
Thanks to our prolific use of tools we happen to share an edge that
you usually only see in short-lived, fast-breeding generalists such as
rodents which ensures that we can exploit an incredibly broad range of
ecological opportunities as well as being able to define new ecology
such as the current petrochemical-driven agrimonoculture.

Incidentally I agree with you that that is unsustainable, and perhaps
permaculture or any of a broad range of alternative farming
technologies will out-compete it. However I see no moral imperative to
preferring one over the other as evolutionary pressures are by
definition circumstantial and amoral.

Were the green lobby to abandon the intense moral zealotry that so
often dominates their arguments and instead focus on that old
Christian concept of "do as you would be done by" - leading by example
and using the tools of free market economics to make their point - I
believe there would be a much better chance of alternative
agricultural practices becoming dominant. There also needs to be an
abandonment of the social agenda prevalent in the Western world that
sees farming subsidies as an important role of national and
supranational trade blocs as it creates many of the market distortions
which have created current circumstances.

On your other point, I'm a natural pessimist and tend to believe that
if something can go wrong it will go wrong therefore in most
circumstances the best course of action is to do nothing. If that's a
socipathology, then it's one I share with the medical profession (i.e.
first do no harm).


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 22:50
(Received via mailing list)
On 22 Apr 2009, at 17:34, Christophe M. wrote:
> that under the current circumstances in which humanity and the rest of
> the natural world find themselves a more holistic, systems
> theoretical/ecological approach would be far more appropriate.

I'm not entirely sure how that conflicts with "all phenomena can be
reduced to a simplistic representation, if they can be reduced at all"
but would be happy to hear your thoughts on alternative approaches.


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 22:53
(Received via mailing list)
On 22 Apr 2009, at 14:35, Phlip wrote:
> Africa will create a hurricane in the Atlantic, even if you _did_
> know how its wings flapped in microscopic detail.

With the starting conditions and the correct model a chaotic system
can be predicted because it is fundamentally deterministic.
With the starting conditions and a set of experimental data the model
is derivable from observation, given sufficient observations.
Without the starting conditions, all bets are off.

> However, you can predict trends over time, and you can predict the
> effect of forcing (such as more sunspots, or more CO2) on those
> trends. For example, Katrina occurred at the peak of a decadal cycle
> in hurricane activity. That doesn't mean CO2 didn't have a role...

But conversely it doesn't mean that it did either, or that if it did
its role was the significant factor.

>> Instead researchers take patchy historical data over a brief
>> geological period and feed that into incredibly complex climate
>> models  to produce predictions.
>
> That's the prediction phase of the experiment. Then they confirm
> their predictions by correlating them to historical data, such as
> ice cores in glaciers containing the predicted amounts of certain
> chemicals at certain depths.

If I build a model based upon data for a given timeframe and I make
that model capable of predicting other results for that timeframe I
have an intellectual curiosity. It's only when I can apply that model
globally and still achieve a significant correlation between data and
results that I can promote the underlying hypothesis to the status of
a theory. Looking in from the outside, climate science still appears
to have a long way to go before it achieves that.

This wouldn't matter except that people seem desperate to use these
models to drive public policy for purposes which could much better be
argued on non-apocalyptic grounds.

> Jupiter would appear in the skies. That's as old as Astrology.
What Copernicus advanced was a model of orbital motion which placed
the Sun at the centre of the cosmos as opposed to the Earth, with the
distance between the two considered insignificant to the overall size
of the cosmos. It's true that he wasn't the first to posit a sun-
centred model, but to the best of my knowledge he was the first to
accompany it with a mathematical model of the orbital motion involved.
It was this mathematical model which allowed Astronomy and Physics to
develop into the sciences we know today, although arguably it is just
one of a set of correlated historical events including the fall of
Constantinople and the expulsion of the Moorish and Jewish communities
from Spain.

Anyway, I stand by my argument, various rabbit holes, omissions and
over-simplifications not withstanding.


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Christophe M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 23:44
> Human beings lived for hundreds of thousands of years before their
> numbers were sufficient for our basic instincts to start making a
> significant impact on a global scale, but if you look at the ecology
> of particular regions you'll see that long before settlement and
> domestication we were already a primary mover of our environment.

the detrimental effect on ecologies was not linear in nature, there was
a very marked phase transition with the advent of monocultural
agriculture and the city state. human health for instance saw a
pronounced decline during this transition, lives were longer mainly due
to increased physical security, but nutrition suffered and so did the
much more labour intensive lifestyle take it's toll. the hunter
gatherers had developed a way of life which was sustainable, many of
them even practicing explicit population control. since you bring up
myths, civilization has a great many myths that *all* of us live by,
it's time to examine them more thoroughly.

> as well as being able to define new ecology
> such as the current petrochemical-driven agrimonoculture.

monoculture is by definition not an ecology. ecology is about diversity
and connection. monoculture is about obliteration and alienation.
whether we are talking about agricultural or human culture.

> However I see no moral imperative to
> preferring one over the other as evolutionary pressures are by
> definition circumstantial and amoral.

one of the myths for instance is that the natural and social worlds only
work by way of competition. a reductionist cartesian analytical model
may very well be to blame. it is obvious to anybody with any kind of
feel for how ecosystems actually work, that the forces at play are as
much about cooperation as competition. it is not at all surprising that
the popular view (read mythology) of the natural world in industrialized
societies see only competition at the exclusion of any other kind of
analysis, judging by it's treatment of cultures which do not share a
similar world view. my hope is that as energy and resources become
scarcer that cooperation as a model for human culture begins to make a
great deal more sense, just as cooperative behaviour does in ecosystems
in energy decline.

> Were the green lobby to abandon the intense moral zealotry that so
> often dominates their arguments and instead focus on that old
> Christian concept of "do as you would be done by"

of course many of the 'green lobby' do in fact walk the walk, but i
think that what the green movement in general is starting to realize is
that the green problem is actually a cultural one first and foremost, so
i think that you can expect to see an increase in ethical discourse not
a decrease. what is it that you have against ethics exactly?

> There also needs to be an
> abandonment of the social agenda prevalent in the Western world that
> sees farming subsidies as an important role of national and
> supranational trade blocs as it creates many of the market distortions
> which have created current circumstances.

the current agricultural system in europe for example survives by way of
subsidies not in essence because of some kind of cultural imperative,
but because it could not do so otherwise. it is just so ridiculously
inefficient.
i agree about the abandonment of subsidies, but that can only be
achieved through a major agricultural revolution with a move towards
self-sustaining, low-input and ecologically sound techniques, not simply
by lifting the subsidies. the problem here as in so many other places is
corporate hegemony, but also cultural inertia. it is difficult to shake
off 10,000 year old assumptions.

> On your other point, I'm a natural pessimist and tend to believe that
> if something can go wrong it will go wrong therefore in most
> circumstances the best course of action is to do nothing. If that's a
> socipathology, then it's one I share with the medical profession (i.e.
> first do no harm).

first do no harm, then try to heal.
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-22 23:56
(Received via mailing list)
> With the starting conditions and the correct model a chaotic system
> can be predicted because it is fundamentally deterministic.
> With the starting conditions and a set of experimental data the model
> is derivable from observation, given sufficient observations.
> Without the starting conditions, all bets are off.

The solution to Zeno's Paradox is the "infinitesmals" concept. Your
paragraph misunderstands the Butterfly Effect. The Effect means that the
deterministic prediction is always impossible because the starting
conditions are always infinitesmal.

Put another way, the only "correct model" is the entire universe, and we
are
within it, so we can't use a model, and must look at trends.
Christophe M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 00:14
> I wish you well with your endeavours as I'm sure on a personal level
> that permaculture is rewarding (at least based on my experiences of
> growing my own vegetables and brewing my own alcohol)

i'm glad you enjoyed it. gardening by the way produces about 5 times the
output of food per unit of land than petro-ag. when you also start to do
ecological design and move away from annuals towards primarily
perennials then you can cut out most of the work involved as it is done
by the system for you. the agricultural component of permaculture is
basically that, smart gardening, but it can be scaled up to much larger
systems, like self-sustaining food forests.
Christophe M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 00:22
> I'm not entirely sure how that conflicts with "all phenomena can be
> reduced to a simplistic representation, if they can be reduced at all"
> but would be happy to hear your thoughts on alternative approaches.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductionism#Limits_o...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductionism#Alternat...

i found the above to be quite a treasure trove, if you poke down through
the links a bit.
Todd B. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 00:57
(Received via mailing list)
A lot of people said some interesting things were thrown out.  Maybe
some contributors are concerned about a problem that doesn't relate to
the issue.  Eleanor is pretty close, as far as I can tell, to
demonstrating that we, as a species, "are" a product of some kind of
evolution, and that we don't have to be scared of it.  We just may
well run a race faster than Earth.  I agree with that.  I agree with
Phlip, too.  I also agree with many things Chad and Robert said.

I disagree with the interpretation of chaos theory, and also of
basically non-linear subjects at all that have been mentioned here.

For humans, as a species, to really -- as a whole -- think we have
control over cosmological events is not only pompous, but a severe
look at what we have become.

The first time I heard the Malthusian argument in school, I wrote a
paper about it.  I got an F because I disagreed with it.

I'm a bit tired of the "We are creating our own disaster type thing."
It's a vicious circle that almost creates itself.

One thing I've learned during my short time on Earth is that people
will _always_ feel the doomsday coming.  Just look at history.

I, for one, am looking to see something like vertical farms.

With that said, I'm also a fan of people doing some permaculture as a
benefit, and not as a stance of how we should live with some sort of
absolution.

Todd
Christophe M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 02:17
> One thing I've learned during my short time on Earth is that people
> will _always_ feel the doomsday coming.  Just look at history.

ok, lets look at history. history is positively strewn with the
shipwrecks of failed civilizations. if you want to talk about humility
then why should we assume that we are immune to the same forces they
were subject to, but only this time on a much greater scale and with a
much weakened biosphere.

on the other hand, never in history has there been a time when the
majority of scientists in multiple fields of study were telling
everybody else that we are in deep doodoo for one reason or another.
that is a completely new phenomenon.

> With that said, I'm also a fan of people doing some permaculture as a
> benefit, and not as a stance of how we should live with some sort of
> absolution.

i am glad to hear that. i agree that doom & gloom in and of itself is
counterproductive, but to honestly face the situation and act upon it is
not. if you do not tell it like it is, then how on earth are you going
to act upon it?

i think that if you take the science seriously, just picking any one of
the problems we are facing, because surely you cannot deny all of them,
and any one of them are quite enough to sink us, then you cannot in good
conscience believe that we are living the right way.

it is not my or anybody else's place to say what the right way is,
that's a job for all of us to decide upon, and there are plenty of
avenues now open for positive/creative action.
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 03:10
(Received via mailing list)
> ok, lets look at history. history is positively strewn with the
> shipwrecks of failed civilizations.

I'm getting in the habit of reading down to the first misappropriation
of
sophistry and replying...

For every civilization that failed, it grew at a sustainable rate until
it
created a positive population effluence. For example, in the Sacred
Valley
region of the Andes, you can count rows of stones - protypical terraces
for
farming - going all the way from some valley floors to the peaks of
their
mountains. At one time, those valleys were entirely farmed from bottom
to
top.

And every one of those failures happened because of a change in the
climate.
Rome collapsed not because of overpopulation or high taxes or
Christianity
or any historical revisionism like that; it collapsed because a volcano
in
the India Ocean created a series of long winters. The global
agricultural
bases collapsed.

Historically, civilizations did not collapse because they despoiled
their
environments. That's a relatively new phenomenon.

Oh, and the Inka civilization in the Andes collapsed from a smallpox
plague...
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 03:23
(Received via mailing list)
On 23 Apr 2009, at 00:10, Phlip wrote:
> Valley
> Rome collapsed not because of overpopulation or high taxes or
>
> Oh, and the Inka civilization in the Andes collapsed from a smallpox
> plague...

As an aside I can highly recommend both "Guns, Germs and Steel" and
"Collapse" by Jared Diamond, "The Physics of Immortality" by Frank
Tipler, "Evolution from Space" by Fred Hoyle and "The Millennial
Project" by Marshal T. Savage - all kind of relevant to this thread
but none of them relevant to Ruby. Also David Keys' "Catastrophe" and
anything by Immanuel Velikovsky (although especially "Earth in
Upheaval") are interesting explorations of the possible effect of
global catastrophes on the course of civilisation.

Oh, and remember to take all of the above with a pinch of salt ;)


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Martin DeMello (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 03:29
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 4:52 AM, Eleanor McHugh
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>  anything by Immanuel Velikovsky

Now you're just trolling :)

martin
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 04:13
(Received via mailing list)
On 23 Apr 2009, at 00:27, Martin DeMello wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 4:52 AM, Eleanor McHugh
> <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>> anything by Immanuel Velikovsky
>
> Now you're just trolling :)

 >;p


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Jon A. Lambert (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 09:09
(Received via mailing list)
"Eleanor McHugh" wrote:
>
> Most scientists are not impartial and the further one moves from
> empirical study into model-driven simulation, the less credence one
> should give to any theory.

Exactly.  That's one of the problem with species extinction models.
Where's the empirical data?
First they take Darlington's rule as a model basis and create a
theoritical
inversion of it.  If I find a thousand
species of critters in hundred acres of land and I clear that land for
agriculture, afterwords I can only
find 400 species of critters, they maintain 800 species have gone
extinct.
I simplify, but not by much.
The model itself is idealized to maximize extinction rates.  The model's
assumption that simple clearing
of land is akin to asphalting the rain forest, when the practical real
world
model of historical agricultural
practices in the eastern US doesn't even come even remotely close to
their
extinction model. They cannot
even get to within a magnitude of consensus on how many species exist;
bad
data.  And lastly
cannot even substatiate the extinctions; more bad data, or lack of it.
Look
I'm a conservationist, a bird
watcher, and a nature lover as well.  I'm not a nature worshipper!
Sorry,
but this is junk science based
on some sort of morality.  A good example is documented toad extinctions
in
Ceylon.  Supposedly a
half dozen of the several dozen toads categorized in Ceylon have become
extinct.  They succumbed to
a fungus.  No problem.  But wait, this fungus spread is blamed on
man-made
global warming.
Got an agenda?  Welcome to the state of eco-science.
Robert H. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 15:50
> The model itself is idealized to maximize extinction rates.

I agree.

> Got an agenda?  Welcome to the state of eco-science.

It depends. Aside from this media brain-washed attitude, the whole field
of ecology does list problems without inflated models. Think about
glaciers for example. It may not be a big problem that they are
shrinking, however the fact THAT there is a change should be noted down
accurately by scientific research.

I was never a fan of science which tries to shock or otherwise scare
people as part of a strategy, but changes in environment can often lead
to unexpected problems cropping up. One that comes to my mind are new
animals which are brought to an endemic population (i.e. cats on an
island, eating eggs of turtles). Another problem is the huge amount of
fishing in oceans in general, which changes the whole ecosystem
drastically.
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 18:24
(Received via mailing list)
On 23 Apr 2009, at 12:50, Marc H. wrote:
> shrinking, however the fact THAT there is a change should be noted
> down
> accurately by scientific research.

Agreed. Good science always starts with an hypothesis but what defines
it as science is the impartial collection of data to determine whether
or not that hypothesis is credible and the rigourous mathematical
interpretation of the data. It also has to be based upon repeatable
effects and testable predictions otherwise we aren't discussing
science at all but metaphysics.

It's also essential that science be conducted in a sceptical
environment and that those performing investigations actively distance
themselves from those who would use the results for political or
social purposes.


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Christophe M. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 18:57
ok, somebody got pretty peeved at me and listed my IP with spambag.org
which is a pretty funny name for an RBL, however i am not a spambag, and
consider that to be fairly low blow (although harmless as i can easily
change my IP), when i am hardly the only poster on this very lively
thread, and had no warning. btw one person in private correspondence has
indicated to me a major change in the direction of their lives, so it
may not be as OT as is assumed. in any case this is 100% the last
message from me on this thread, i promise. so if you argue further you
will just be aggravating an itch i won't be able to scratch :)

> Phlip wrote

> For every civilization that failed, it grew at a sustainable rate until
> it created a positive population effluence.

so you are saying that population is a problem? if so then we are in
agreement.

> And every one of those failures happened because of a change in the
> climate.

again, climate is one of the forces i was talking about. but that misses
the point. it is not change in climate that kills off civilizations, it
is how resilient their agricultural systems are when the climate happens
to
change. deforestation & monoculture lead to salinity, poor water
retention, localized draught, desertification, soil erosion, ecological
poverty, etc...

> Rome collapsed not because of overpopulation or high taxes or
> Christianity
> or any historical revisionism like that; it collapsed because a volcano
> in
> the India Ocean created a series of long winters. The global
> agricultural
> bases collapsed.

of course rome collapsed over a long period of time, hundreds of years
in fact, there were volcanic eruptions, barbarian invasions, etc...
it did not do so within the course of a few bad winters, that's just bad
history.

in fact soil erosion and infertile land was one of the major forces in
the demise of rome. at the start of the empire farming was respected and
even noblemen were proud to be farmers. farms were small about 2-5 acres
and proper
husbandry was taken seriously. even with small scale careful farming
practices however erosion was already a problem sometimes even causing
outbreaks of diseases due to clogged waterways.

by the end of the empire as it descended into decadence, the farms had
become huge slave labour driven monstrosities which tried to squeeze
every last drop of cash out of the land disregarding proper husbandry
and soil fertility was severely affected. small scale farmers were
driven off their land and a few city-dwelling fat cats made all the
profits at the expense of everyone else and the health of the land
(sounds familiar). rome had lost her main source of energy, her
agriculture, and hence her resilience against the volcanoes, the
droughts, etc...

if you want to truly understand what you are talking about i suggest
reading the book 'dirt, the erosion of civilizations'.

> Historically, civilizations did not collapse because they despoiled
> their
> environments. That's a relatively new phenomenon.

nonsense. soil erosion due to agriculture has been a major detriment
to the health of civilizations since the bronze ages. soil erosion from
bronze age agriculture was even correctly identified by aristotle,
almost 3000 years after the fact, and of course 2000+ years ago.

an example of deforestation as recorded in ancient literature can be
found in the epic of gilgamesh where he cuts down wood from the cedar
forests of iraq.
that story is almost 5000 years old. when's the last time you saw cedar
forests in iraq?

> Oh, and the Inka civilization in the Andes collapsed from a smallpox
> plague...

yes the incas were destroyed by european diseases amongst other causes
largely brought on by europe. europe was of course plundering away in
the search for resources.

> Jon A. Lambert wrote

> ... find 400 species of critters, they maintain 800 species have gone
> extinct. I simplify, but not by much.

the problem is that all the land is being cleared. so in you opinion,
where did the critters run, mars?

> Look I'm a conservationist, a bird watcher, and a nature lover as well.

right, well in my brainwashed state, call it misguided humility if you
will, i'll go with the *majority* opinion of biologists and their
collective junk science, thanks, and if i want to build a nuclear
missile i'll speak to some PHDs in physics, not my local model rocket
club.
Phlip (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 19:56
(Received via mailing list)
Christophe M. wrote:

>> Phlip wrote
You picked ME to end the thread on? Thanks a lot!!

There is only one possible way to retaliate...

>> For every civilization that failed, it grew at a sustainable rate until
>> it created a positive population effluence.
>
> so you are saying that population is a problem? if so then we are in
> agreement.

http://www.theonion.com/content/amvo/spam_a_global...
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 23:23
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 03:32:25AM +0900, Eleanor McHugh wrote:
> >We are not OT here, the same lifeform has created a biological virtual
> >machine for Ruby, completely by chance!!!!
> >Can you believe it?
>
> I'm willing to believe that if a Dyson sphere evolved naturally that
> it would be Ruby compatible :)

Hm.  Combine those ideas, and you get an intelligent Dyson cloud that
communicates via an extended Ruby compatible language.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 23:23
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 09:59:10PM +0900, Eleanor McHugh wrote:
> The whole point of Joint Stock Companies in the first place was to
> create and maintain legal trade monopolies, and as we see at every
> turn any market system which places undue reliance upon them as the
> foundation of a "free" market becomes heavily distorted. However even
> large corporations are bounded by the laws of thermodynamics and will
> eventually fail, which of course is what a bubble crash such as the
> current one is supposed to achieve. Unfortunately governments insist
> on bailing out failing corporations when they're sufficiently
> politically influential and that exacerbates matters in the long term:
> just look at the disastrous history of nationalised industries in the
> UK...

. . . or Venezuela, the Middle East, et cetera.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 23:24
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 10:27:58PM +0900, Eleanor McHugh wrote:
> Although as anyone who's read Utopia will know, Moore was making a
> mockery of the notion that all things could be directed with the
> perfection of clockwork. He was the Orwell of the sixteenth century ;)

Yeah -- that was kinda my point in using the term "utopian".
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 23:37
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 09:40:07PM +0900, Eleanor McHugh wrote:
> in the UK. And because the market wasn't free, but a pro-monopoly
> model based upon the Chicago School belief that price is the
> determinant of market efficiency (it isn't) and that lowest price can
> be delivered only where there is a strong market monopoly (which is
> patently absurd), we're seeing another bubble go pop.

Nicely summarized.


>
> >I'm sad, Eleanor, since this is the first time anything you've
> >posted has evidenced anything but keen intelligence.
>
> Well I guess that blows the conceit that I'm largely invisible on
> here :)

I think invisibility is my job (most of the time) in these parts.


> be reduced at all. That's a fundamental tenet of the scientific method
> which I apply to both the development of software and to analysis of
> everything else.

My take is more that all phenomena are informed by interactions of a
simple set of fundamental principles, though the emergent properties of
those interactions can be quite complex indeed.  Err, I guess that means
we agree in substance, if not in the particulars of how to express it.


>
> I also make no assumptions regarding the good will or rationality of
> any participant in a physical system, and that already puts me one
> step ahead of those economic theorists who insist on including the
> implicate calculus of human motivation into their models.

That strikes me as a critically important insight.  Never trust people
in
the general case to have altruistic motivations.  This includes:

 1. people in government

 2. people using the software you write (in Ruby!  Hah!  On-topic!)

 3. people selling you software

It is in part for reasons like this that I have free market and open
source development sympathies.


>
> True, the free market didn't defeat the Nazis. Except of course that
> the economies which funded the defeat of the Nazis were all built on
> free market models. The USSR would not have triumphed in the war were
> it not for the huge investment of US resources and the war wouldn't
> even have lasted long enough for that to happen if it hadn't been for
> the huge investment of British resources. Of course that investment
> required political will as well, largely generated as a result of the
> incredible marketing skills of Winston Churchill.

Probably the biggest factor in the Soviet Union's "victory" over Germany
on the Eastern Front was weather, anyway.  It sure as hell wasn't the
Soviet economy, which pretty much utterly failed to help the Soviet war
effort in World War II.


>
> Likewise if there was a perceived need for cybernetics you can bet
> that the money would appear to fund it. Look at the truly remarkable
> medical achievement of our era, the mapping of the human genome. The
> vast majority of that work was funded by private donation to the
> Sanger Institute which is a charitable trust. The Welcome Trust
> (another charity) is the largest conductor of medical research in the
> world.

I think that greater private investment in cybernetics research will
come
about in the near future in large part as a result of advancing medical
technologies, anyway.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 23:40
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 10:04:01PM +0900, Rimantas L. wrote:
>
> Well, getting another degree in sociology or psychology should fix that.
> There are no spherical cows. I have degree in physics myself, but
> all attempts to remove human factor from equation seem laughable to me.

I don't remember anyone saying anything about removing the human factor.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 23:47
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 07:17:53AM +0900, Christophe M. wrote:
>
> on the other hand, never in history has there been a time when the
> majority of scientists in multiple fields of study were telling
> everybody else that we are in deep doodoo for one reason or another.
> that is a completely new phenomenon.

I still haven't seen any credible numbers on that.


>
> it is not my or anybody else's place to say what the right way is,
> that's a job for all of us to decide upon, and there are plenty of
> avenues now open for positive/creative action.

Please tell Congress that at your earliest opportunity.  They aren't
paying attention.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 23:57
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 10:35:09PM +0900, Phlip wrote:
> hurricane in the Atlantic, even if you _did_ know how its wings flapped in
> microscopic detail.

Climate is an emergent property of weather trends.  Climate is an
average
of a chaotic nonlinear system.

. . . and while you may not be able to predict such a hurricane with
100%
accuracy (there's some question about the predictability of anything in
the universe, thanks to quantum probability effects), you can certainly
get close enough for government work if you know the starting state of
all contributing factors and have time and processing power to build the
model.  This, of course, ignores the possibility of free will having
unexpected influence, but I don't think butterfly wings conform to the
definition of "free will", so that's not really the point here.

The problem, as Eleanor pointed out, is that climatologists' models are
nowhere *near* that level of precision and comprehensiveness.  The state
of the art of climate modeling is something more like witchcraft, or
horse race betting at best, at this point.  Maybe in a hundred years
we'll have achieved all the accuracy of card counting at the blackjack
tables in Las Vegas.


>
> However, you can predict trends over time, and you can predict the effect
> of forcing (such as more sunspots, or more CO2) on those trends. For
> example, Katrina occurred at the peak of a decadal cycle in hurricane
> activity. That doesn't mean CO2 didn't have a role...

You can make predictions about trends over time -- but the less starting
state data you have at your fingertips, the less those predictions will
actually tend to accurately represent what will happen.


>
> >Instead researchers take patchy historical data over a brief
> >geological period and feed that into incredibly complex climate models
> >to produce predictions.
>
> That's the prediction phase of the experiment. Then they confirm their
> predictions by correlating them to historical data, such as ice cores in
> glaciers containing the predicted amounts of certain chemicals at certain
> depths.

I wonder how many climatologists haven't figured out yet that
correlation
doesn't strictly imply causation.


> predict, over time, where Mars and Jupiter would appear in the skies.
> That's as old as Astrology.

The publication of an alternate view that effectively debunked the
preceding view was, in effect, a *demonstration* that Ptolemy's model
was
a load of hooey.

It's true, though, that Ptolemy's model didn't "prevent" astronomy from
progressing.  It just significantly hindered such progress.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-23 23:59
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 04:55:08AM +0900, Phlip wrote:
> > With the starting conditions and the correct model a chaotic system
> > can be predicted because it is fundamentally deterministic.
> > With the starting conditions and a set of experimental data the model
> > is derivable from observation, given sufficient observations.
> > Without the starting conditions, all bets are off.
>
> The solution to Zeno's Paradox is the "infinitesmals" concept. Your
> paragraph misunderstands the Butterfly Effect. The Effect means that the
> deterministic prediction is always impossible because the starting
> conditions are always infinitesmal.

You appear to be using a definition of "impossible" that doesn't match
up
with my own.


>
> Put another way, the only "correct model" is the entire universe, and we are
> within it, so we can't use a model, and must look at trends.

Do you realize that, if what you just said is true, most of the supposed
evidence of anthropogenic global warming is invalid?
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-24 00:13
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 11:57:59PM +0900, Christophe M. wrote:
>
> right, well in my brainwashed state, call it misguided humility if you
> will, i'll go with the *majority* opinion of biologists and their
> collective junk science, thanks, and if i want to build a nuclear
> missile i'll speak to some PHDs in physics, not my local model rocket
> club.

What -- like Dr. William Gray, who essentially created the basis for
modern hurricane forecasting?  Yeah.  He thinks the unidentified
"majority" is doing an end-run around the scientific method for the
purpose of fulfilling confirmation biases, too.
Chad P. (Guest)
on 2009-04-24 00:20
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 05:14:21AM +0900, Christophe M. wrote:
> basically that, smart gardening, but it can be scaled up to much larger
> systems, like self-sustaining food forests.

The quickest way to reform agricultural practice in the US would, I'm
sure, be to stop subsidizing massive corporate farming concerns -- you
know, "petro-ag".
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-24 17:03
(Received via mailing list)
On 23 Apr 2009, at 20:22, Chad P. wrote:
>>
> communicates via an extended Ruby compatible language.
Universal dRuby, without the flaky bits ;)


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Robert D. (Guest)
on 2009-04-24 19:10
(Received via mailing list)
On Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 3:03 PM, Eleanor McHugh
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:

> Universal dRuby, without the flaky bits ;)
I can hardly wait if it will come up with 42 too???
>
>
> Ellie
>
> Eleanor McHugh
> Games With Brains
> http://slides.games-with-brains.net
> ----
> raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
OTOH I have never let reality influence my judgement.
R.
Eleanor McHugh (Guest)
on 2009-04-25 00:34
(Received via mailing list)
On 24 Apr 2009, at 16:10, Robert D. wrote:
>> raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
> OTOH I have never let reality influence my judgement.

I find it always responds to reason if I poke it hard enough anyway ;)


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason
Michael Bruschkewitz (Guest)
on 2009-06-03 15:11
(Received via mailing list)
You're glad to be able to switch completely.

I still have to get paid work to be able to live on my some 1000 sqm and
to
supply my and my family needs.
Growing plants an permaculture is a very interesting field and really
more
satisfying than sitting in front of a computer screen or discussing
obvious
things with stupid managers or colleagues.

So I wish you really good luck!

Michael B.
Robert H. (Guest)
on 2009-06-03 20:08
> Growing plants an permaculture is a very interesting field and
> really more satisfying than sitting in front of a computer
> screen or discussing obvious things with stupid managers
> or colleagues.

Are these two rivals?

Or can they be integrated TOGETHER ...
Joel VanderWerf (Guest)
on 2009-06-03 20:13
(Received via mailing list)
Marc H. wrote:
>> Growing plants an permaculture is a very interesting field and
>> really more satisfying than sitting in front of a computer
>> screen or discussing obvious things with stupid managers
>> or colleagues.
>
> Are these two rivals?
>
> Or can they be integrated TOGETHER ...

After all, the principal product of most managerial meetings is the very
substance that is needed to nourish a bountiful garden.

SCNR
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