Sunday, July 22, 2018

Week-end Wrap - July 21, 2018

Week-end Wrap - July 21, 2018
by Tony Wikrent
Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus

When a U.S. citizen heard he was on his own country’s drone target list, he wasn’t sure he believed it. After five near-misses, he does – and is suing the United States to contest his own execution 
by Matt Taibbi [Rolling Stone, via Naked Capitalism 7-20-18]
Not economics, but I'm having a really hard time not listening to the echoes of very old voices in my head: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." And Taibbi has the next one in our wrap.

Taibbi: No, the Mythical ‘Center’ Isn’t Sexy
by Matt Taibbi [Rolling Stone, via Naked Capitalism 7-17-18]
Taibbi provides an unrestrained response to New York Times columnist Frank Bruni's reaction to the surprise primary win of young Bronx Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Bruni channeled TPTB's dismay and alarm that Democratic Socialists have begun to score electoral victories at the Congressional level. A historical note: after the Non-Partisan League won an almost complete sweep of November 1916 elections in North Dakota and began to enact its program, including state-owned grain elevators, and a state bank, the New York Times fulminated about "bolshevism on the prairie."

The notion that Democrats need to look and act more like Republicans to win elections has been practically a religious tenet in Washington for more than 30 years. From the embrace of NAFTA to welfare reform to triangulation to repealing the Glass-Steagall Act to slobbering over Wesley Clark (instead of opposing the Iraq war) to hiring infamous Republican media hitman David Brock, this soul-sucking drift has been sold to voters as an electorally necessary compromise. Now we’re supposed to understand that it’s sexy, too? 
This is the Democratic Party that lost the presidency in 2016 to a crypto-fascist game-show host with near-record negatives – only ex-Klansman David Duke in 1992 was a more roundly-despised candidate than Trump – and legislatively has for a decade now suffered mass losses on the national and state levels
....What actual people are against importing cheap Canadian generic pharmaceuticals? Where’s the group of people intent on protecting our thousand-headed hydra of insurers, so that doctors and hospitals can waste time and money on paperwork? What individual human being is out there who just can’t stand the thought of allowing Medicare to negotiate lower bulk prices
For that matter, where’s that sexy vote-rich crowd of people who are hell-bent on making sure banks have easier stress tests, and don’t have to increase their capital reserves? Where’s the mob that really wants to preserve the payroll-tax cutoff for high-income earners? That wants desperately to remove Malaysia from a list of human traffickers so it can join a free-trade pact? 
There are no such people. These are not human positions. These are the positions of health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, job-exporting manufacturers, defense contractors and other high-dollar donors. 
Nobody sits around the dinner table demanding that we keep derivative exchanges opaque, or retain the carried-interest tax break.
Compare Taibbi's to the very interesting and revealing article in The Washington Monthly by its editor in chief, Paul Glastris, “Winning Is Not Enough: Democrats are focused on takingback power—but our democracy depends on them keeping it. To do that, they haveto start thinking differently,” Glastris was a special assistant and senior speechwriter to President Bill Clinton from September 1998 to January 2001. He wrote over 200 speeches for the President, including the education sections of the 1999 and 2000 State of the Union addresses. Now he is editor in chief of The Washington Monthly. This is as Establishment as it gets. Glastris writes:
To maximize the voting power of its core supporters, the party must get over its squeamishness and aggressively push policies designed to raise turnout among young people and minorities. At the same time, to expand its geographic reach, it needs to introduce new ideas into its agenda that appeal both to the base and to rural and working-class whites….
Glastris then goes on to suggest a number of new ideas. But there is one idea that Glastris entirely omits, and its omission is very, very revealing. Glastris makes no mention at all of the need to confront Wall Street, reorient banking and finance, and return them to a role of complete subservience to the rest of the economy.

On Class and Climate Change
by Jon Larson, July 15, 2018 [Real Economics]
Back in the day when Marxists preached that they were the friends, advocates, and only true representatives of the Proletariat, there was always something demeaning in their analysis. When someone picks strawberries all day in the hot sun, the Marxist description of the Proletariat and their troubles is still surprisingly accurate. But what do you call an farmer with 2500 acres under cultivation, or an engineer, or a big building contractor, or any number of important and often high paying occupations? They are obviously Industrial Class jobs but they all come with very different problems than face someone doing stoop labor. Obviously, there is an incredible amount of stratification within the occupations that can be found under the heading of “organizing and performing the community’s necessary tasks.” 
Just as the Industrial Classes are stratified, so are the Leisure Classes. There is a large gap in income and status between a pickpocket and a hedge fund manager. But while there are hundreds of differences between the two major classes, many quite profound, the most telling is that when the Leisure Classes engage in conspicuous consumption and waste, their highest calling is uselessness. On the other hand, the goal of the Industrial Class is to be useful. 
This class analysis is almost universally despised by the academic idea police. The right wing hates it because so many of their elites are little more than well-dressed thieves. The “left” (especially the Marxist varieties) hates it because it opens the possibility that there are enlightened, imaginative, and quite necessary “capitalists.” But it continues to be relevant because it describes the existing social order so much better than probably all the competing class descriptions combined.

Trump's gift to the Kochs: names and addresses of 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) donors no longer required
by Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 19, 2018 [Wall Street on Parade]
On Monday, in a brazen nod to Charles Koch, the U.S. Treasury announced it would no longer require the names and addresses of donors to be supplied on Federal tax returns for 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) tax exempt organizations, the very kind that the Koctopus has used to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars through the tentacles of their election meddling web of front groups. The public has never had access to those names and addresses but now neither the public nor the IRS will have the information, making it impossible for the IRS to quickly spot patterns of fraud. 
Two of those Koch-related front groups are Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Freedom Partners. One man who owes his Senate seat to those groups is Ron Johnson of Wisconson, Chair of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs. In his tight 2016 race against former Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, Americans for Prosperity and the Freedom Partners Action Fund ran ad campaigns for Johnson. AFP used its get-out-the-vote machinery to further boost his chances. Last year, Johnson saluted AFP in this ad
According to SourceWatch, as of April, 12 people who previously worked at Freedom Partners are now working in the Trump administration. In addition, the perpetual on-air face of the Trump administration, Kellyanne Conway, formerly consulted for both Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners, according to the public watchdog, Public Citizen. Then there was that strange hiring by Trump of an even dozen of Jones Day lawyers on the very day of his inauguration on January 20, 2017. According to Public Citizen, two of the main hires from Jones Day, White House Counsel Don McGahn and Ann Donaldson, Chief of Staff to McGahn, both previously represented Freedom Partners.

North Carolina: The state income tax cap amendment is bad news. Here’s why.
Orange County Democratic Party Progressive Caucus treasurer Lee Nackman wrote a letter to the editor of the Raleigh News and Observer, and it was printed on July 13.
Income tax caps are bad policy because a state’s revenue needs can vary unpredictably over time and income tax caps eliminate flexibility. If income taxes can’t be raised to meet needs, a state’s primary alternative is to raise sales taxes (and various usage fees).
Sales taxes (and usage fees) impact poor people much more than they impact wealthy people: Poor people must spend most of their income, subjecting most of their income to sales tax, while wealthier people spend a much lower percentage of their income.
Moreover, the specific cap passed in SB 75 locks in rates that are lower than recent historical rates and the new flat-rate tax structure shifts more of the income tax burden to lower earners.

USA income inequality now historically worse ever in five states
by Aimee Picchi July 19, 2018 [ Moneywatch, via Naked Capitalism 7-20-18]
Across the country, the top-earning households took home 22 percent of all income in 2015, the latest year for which the IRS has data. That's just 1.9 percentage points lower than 1928's record share of 23.9 percent of income.... But that 1928 peak has been surpassed in New York, Florida, Connecticut, Nevada and Wyoming.... Americans need at least $421,926 in annual income to break into the top 1 percent....
Bernie Sanders: Bold Politics Is Good Politics 
[MIT Technology Review, via Naked Capitalism 7-15-18]

Why going cashless is discriminatory – and what’s being done to stop it 
[Weather Underground, via Naked Capitalism 7-21-2018]

Wind turbine sizes seeing "unprecedented growth,"
[CleanTechnica, via American Wind Energy Association (7/16) ]
....the next-generation of wind turbines are being brought ever nearer to reality, such as 4 to 5 megawatt (MW) onshore wind turbine models with 160- to 175-meter rotors, and offshore models with capacities of 12 to 15 MW and rotors in excess of 200 to 250 meters. We’ve especially seen this play out in the offshore wind energy market, of late, with the recent news that MHI Vestas’ 9.5 MW wind turbine has moved a step closer to commercial installation, and the announcement in March made by GE Renewable Energy unveiling its mammoth 12 MW Haliade-X offshore wind turbine, which measures in at 260 meters in height and boasting a 220-meter rotor....
Each region is reliant upon specific types of wind turbines to match the wind resources available: China and India rely on 2 to 2.5 MW wind turbines with power ratings designed for ultra-low wind speeds, whereas the US is dominated by high capacity factor turbines.
Siemens Gamesa Passed Vestas As Leading Wind Manufacturer in 2017
 by Joshua S Hill, April 23rd, 2018  [Clean Technica]

NextEra facility tour highlights compatibility between wind, farming
[The Edmond Sun (Okla.) , via American Wind Energy Association (7/13)]
NextEra Energy Resources recently teamed up with Future Farmers of America to take 16 FFA advisers on a three-day tour across Oklahoma, highlighting the complementary nature of wind and farming. "These advisors are also great role models for our next generation, so it's a wonderful opportunity to show them first-hand what it takes to be a wind technician, which is among the fastest growing jobs in the United States," said NextEra project director of renewable development Casey Moye.
Denver pledges 100% renewables by 2030
[CleanTechnica, via American Wind Energy Association (7/18)
Denver has become the 10th Colorado city to pledge to use 100% renewable energy, and it plans to meet that standard by 2030. "Climate change threatens our people directly, putting our health, environment and economy -- our very way of life -- at risk," Mayor Michael Hancock said.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Musial: Floating offshore-wind industry must learn from oil, gas on building offshore platforms
[E and P magazine online, via American Wind Energy Association (7/18)]
The oil and gas industry has valuable insights to share with the floating offshore-wind sector regarding floating platforms and other technologies, says Walt Musial, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's principal engineer and offshore wind manager. The NREL says 11 floating offshore wind farms with a combined capacity of 229 megawatts are in the early stages of development.
The article includes the graph below. Note North Carolina has greater offshore wind energy potential than all other Atlantic states after Massachusetts and Florida.

Coal, nuclear bailout plan could cost $17.2B annually, study says
[The Examiner (Washington, D.C.), via American Wind Energy Association (7/19)]
It would cost between an estimated $16.7 billion and $17.2 billion annually to bail out the nation's ailing coal-burning and nuclear power plants, according to a Brattle study commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association and other groups. The report, which is based on a Trump administration memo, said annual costs could be as high as $35 billion, depending on the approved payout system.
Energy Dept.: Wind-energy costs fell one-third from 2010 to 2016
[Houston Chronicle (tiered subscription model), via American Wind Energy Association (7/13)] 
Technological advances, better manufacturing processes and declining installation costs resulted in a cost reduction by one-third for wind energy between 2010 and 2016, according to the Energy Department. The domestic production of wind-turbine components also increased during that period, it noted.
ACORE launches renewables investment goal of $1T by 2030
[Utility Dive, via American Wind Energy Association (7/13)] 
The American Council on Renewable Energy has introduced a new campaign through which it hopes to stimulate $1 trillion worth of investments in the US renewable energy industry by 2030. "[Renewable energy] is one of the nation's most important drivers for new investment and job creation," ACORE President and CEO Gregory Wetstone said.
This does not come close to what's really needed. By contrast, two years ago, China's electricity transmission company proposed a $50 trillion program to build transmission lines from new solar energy sites in countries near the equator, to population centers further north.

Chicago beginning to solve nation's worst rail bottleneck
[Railway Age, July 18, 2018]
Chicago’s rail labyrinth sees about 1,300 freight and passenger trains pass through the city on any given day, and planned work aims to simplify traffic for all of those trains, transportation officials said during a tour of rail infrastructure. Full Article
The $4.4 billion plan began in 2003, when transportation officials came together to put an end to bottlenecks in service that halted the flow of goods in and out of the state and interrupted passenger service. CREATE entails 70 rail and highway infrastructure improvement projects. So far, 29 projects have been completed and $2 billion has been spent or funded primarily through railroad and government partnerships.... This June, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) recommended 26 projects receive a total of $1.54 billion in federal support as part of the FY18 Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program.
New York City sets $100M to upgrade freight transportation
[Railway Age, July 18, 2018]
Rail is central to an ambitious plan to streamline freight infrastructure while reducing truck emissions and creating thousands of new jobs in New York City. Plans call for a vast rail-served distribution center in Brooklyn, and transload yards in two boroughs. Full Article
NYDOT sets $19M to transform CSX yard
[Railway Age, July 16, 2018]
New York State awarded $19 million toward construction of Central New York’s first Inland Port in DeWitt, to help move containerized freight between the Port of New York and New Jersey and the existing CSX terminal east of Syracuse. Full Article
China approves Ningxia high-speed line
[Railway Age, July 18, 2018]
China's top economic planning authority, the National Development and Reform Commission, has approved the construction of the western section of a high-speed line linking Baotou, the second-largest city in Inner Mongolia, with Yinchuan. Full Article
[Railway Age, July 17, 2018]
Global mining conglomerate Rio Tinto marked the first delivery of iron ore by an autonomous train as part of its US$940 million AutoHaul program operating to its port facilities in Western Australia. Full Article
STV Inc. about to initiate tunnel boring on 2.6 mile extension of Los Angeles Metro Purple Line
by William C. Vantuono, July 16, 2018 [Railway Age]

Global Aerospace Industry had direct revenues of $838 billion in 2017
by Richard Aboulafia and Kevin Michaels, July 16, 2018 [Aviation Week and Space Technology]
A joint research project of Aerodynamic Advisory and Teal Group found that world aerospace industry produced direct revenues of US$838 billion in 2017. USA was the largest producers, with 49% of world total.
The activity breakdown of the US$838 billion industry reflects the growing importance of maintenance, repair and overhaul, which is just over US$220 billion in output, including “wrench turning” activities, upgrades, and associated parts and components. Much of this activity isn’t captured in conventional aerospace industry estimates. Military aircraft maintenance is a good example. Approximately US$70 billion is spent annually, with a significant portion performed by uniformed personnel for field and depot maintenance, as well as aircraft upgrades. Military maintenance organizations usually don’t belong to national industry associations. 
Civil and military aircraft and engine manufacturing, including extended supply chains, account for 54% of the global aerospace activity. Here, AeroDynamic and Teal analyzed activity the multi-tier supply chains of OEMs. Aircraft OEMs, for example, procure 60-70% of the cost of an aircraft from suppliers. Tier 1 system and aerostructures suppliers, in turn, source 40-60% of the cost of their products from sub-tier suppliers. The same is true for Tier 2 and 3 suppliers. 
Other notable categories include satellites & space (7%) and missiles & UAVs (5%). Despite the growth of UAV fleets, output of these air vehicles comes to just under US$3 billion annually. This is around 10% of the value of crewed combat aircraft.
Boeing CEO was interviewed at Boeing Chicago headquartersby Joe Anselmo and Graham Warwick, July 11, 2018 [Aviation Week and Space Technology]
AW&ST: Is there no more boom-bust cycle in commercial aircraft? We have backlogs measured in 7-8 years of production, not 1-2 years. We have around 5,800 commercial airplanes in backlog, globally distributed. In past decades, it was concentrated in the U.S. and Europe, in hub-and-spoke traffic subject to regional economics. Today, it’s a point-to-point connected world-—more than 180 new 787 city pairs have emerged just since we launched the Dreamliner
The reality seems to be you can’t build airplanes fast enough to meet demand. That is the bigger challenge right now. On the 737, we’ve ramped [production] to 52 a month and 57 a month next year, and all of the market signals are telling us there is upward pressure [to go higher]. We’re filling slots out in 2023 and beyond. On the widebody side, we’re taking the 787 line from 12 a month to 14 in 2019. 
Are we on the cusp of a new space age? I think we are. I’ve been at Boeing more than 30 years, and when I look at the amount of energy, capital and focus that is going into the space business, it has never been like this. We are making investments in our United Launch Alliance, and the amount of focus I see across SpaceX, Blue Origin and a number of other players is great. As more destinations in space grow up—microgravity manufacturing, space tourism—we will need low-Earth-orbit transportation systems.  
We also see a lot of momentum in the marketplace for nanosatellites and networked satellites, and an almost insatiable demand for commercial communications bandwidth. We are making investments in things like the Phantom Express [reusable spaceplane] with the ability to do 10 satellite launches in 10 days in a reusable vehicle that will launch and deliver a satellite and return to Earth. We are building that prototype right now.

Astronauts explain why nobody has visited the moon in more than 45 years — and the reasons are depressing
by Dave Mosher and Hilary Brueck July 14, 2018 [Business Insider]
More than 45 years after the most recent crewed moon landing — Apollo 17 in December 1972 — there are plenty of reasons to return people to Earth's giant, dusty satellite and stay there. 
Researchers and entrepreneurs think a crewed base on the moon could evolve into a fuel depot for deep-space missions, lead to the creation of unprecedented space telescopes, make it easier to live on Mars, and solve longstanding scientific mysteries about Earth and the moon's creation. A lunar base could even become a thriving off-world economy, perhaps one built around lunar space tourism.... 
"NASA's portion of the federal budget peaked at 4% in 1965," the Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham said during congressional testimony in 2015. "For the past 40 years it has remained below 1%, and for the last 15 years it has been driving toward 0.4% of the federal budget." ....A 2005 report by NASA estimated that returning to the moon would cost about $104 billion ($133 billion today, with inflation) over about 13 years. The Apollo program cost about $120 billion in today's dollars. 
From the perspective of astronauts, it's about the mission. The process of designing, engineering, and testing a spacecraft that could get people to another world easily outlasts a two-term president. But there's a predictable pattern of incoming presidents and lawmakers scrapping the previous leader's space-exploration priorities.... In 2004, for example, the Bush administration tasked NASA with coming up with a way to replace the space shuttle, which was set to retire, and also return to the moon. The agency came up with the Constellation program to land astronauts on the moon using a rocket called Ares and a spaceship called Orion. 
NASA spent $9 billion over five years designing, building, and testing hardware for that human-spaceflight program. Yet after President Barack Obama took office — and the Government Accountability Office released a report about NASA's inability to estimate Constellation's cost — Obama pushed to scrap the program and signed off on the SLS rocket instead.... Such frequent changes to NASA's expensive priorities have led to cancellation after cancellation, a loss of about $20 billion, and years of wasted time and momentum. 
...."There's this generation of billionaires who are space nuts, which is great," the astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman told journalists during a roundtable earlier this year. "The innovation that's been going on over the last 10 years in spaceflight never would've happened if it was just NASA and Boeing and Lockheed. Because there was no motivation to reduce the cost or change the way we do it."

Engineers at Sandia National Labs have designed a cleaner, quieter, non-polluting research vessel powered by hydrogen. Will they find funding for it?
by Stephen Mraz, July 12, 2018 [Machine Design]
A hydrogen-powered research vessel has never been studied or proven—until now. Sandia National Labs engineers recently showed that it is technically and economically feasible to build such a vessel that would be consistent with marine regulations. The project team nicknamed the vessel the “Zero-V,” short for zero-emissions research vessel. 
One of the biggest benefits of using hydrogen to power a ship is the absence of ecologically damaging fuel spills. According to Sandia scientist Lennie Klebanoff, it is impossible to have a polluting hydrogen spill on the water. More buoyant than helium, hydrogen rises on its own and eventually escapes into outer space. 
Fuel cells even generate water so pure that the ship’s crew can drink it (with conditioning), or use it for scientific experiments; this reduces the need to desalinate seawater, which currently consumes large amounts of energy. Fuel cells are also electrical devices and, as such, offer a faster power response than internal combustion engines.
New Frontier for Electric Vehicles: Cobalt-Free Car Batteries
by Giles Kirkland, July 16, 2018 [Machine Design]
....The cost of cobalt is also set to rise as an effect of its dwindling supplies. In fact, the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) in Germany predicted that supply of the metal will hit critically low levels by 2050, leading to an increased need to replace its use with a new technology. 
Finally, from political, ethical, and environmental standpoints, the material is also seen as an ingredient that quickly needs replacing. The mining process is notoriously unhealthy for its workers, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that “chronic exposure to cobalt-containing hard metal (dust or fume) can result in a serious lung disease called ‘hard metal lung disease.’” 
....lithium-manganese spinel and lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide both use significantly less cobalt, and may be easier to alter in order to remove it all together. Other advances in chemistry, such as lithium-iron phosphate may require zero cobalt.... One of the most promising potential advances is in the creation of a solid-state lithium battery. These may require no cobalt at all and would work perfectly in cars and other electric vehicles. However, the actual production process and potential costs behind these are unproven.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Synthetic Photosynthesis

When I first started writing about climate change and the environment back in the 1980s, the atmospheric CO2 levels stood at approximately 340 parts per million. We are now firmly past 400. We are so far into uncharted territory, that all predictions are at best, educated guesses. However, very few of these guesses are encouraging. Anyway, I like this fictional account below.

Because it points out an obvious fact. Not only are we going to have to spend big bucks replacing the fire-based infrastructure, we must do something to return the CO2 levels to let's say, 310, or even 275. What we need is a synthetic version of photosynthesis. And we need it immediately because say we did invent a process that could capture atmospheric CO2 and turn it into O2 plus a very pure carbon, we are going have to put up probably 250,000 installations to start moving the needle down. Even Elon Musk wouldn't promise this in five years. We are talking a Manhattan Project-size effort x 50.

Compared to the effort to make inexpensive solar cells, the synthetic photosynthesis business is still pretty primitive. But at least there are folks who are producing hardware who also have a good idea how important this is.
This Machine Just Started Sucking CO2 Out Of The Air To Save Us From Climate Change 

Climeworks carbon capture device will take the gas from the air and sell it or store it in the ground. Now we just need a few hundred thousand more–as quickly as possible.

By Adele Peters, 05.31.17

Sitting on top of a waste incineration facility near Zurich, a new carbon capture plant is now sucking CO2 out of the air to sell to its first customer. The plant, which opened on May 31, is the first commercial enterprise of its kind. By midcentury, the startup behind it–Climeworks–believes we will need hundreds of thousands more.

To have a chance of keeping the global temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius, the limit set by the Paris agreement, it’s likely that shifting to a low-carbon economy won’t be enough.“If we say that by the middle of the century we want to do 10 billion tons per year, that’s probably something where we need to start today.” [Photo: Julia Dunlop]“We really only have less than 20 years left at current emission rates to have a good chance of limiting emissions to less than 2°C,” says Chris Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and coauthor of a recent paper discussing carbon removal. “So it’s a big challenge to do it simply by decreasing emissions from energy, transportation, and agriculture.” Removing carbon–whether through planting more forests or more advanced technology like direct carbon capture–will probably also be necessary to reach the goal.

At the new Swiss plant, three stacked shipping containers each hold six of Climeworks’ CO2 collectors. Small fans pull air into the collectors, where a sponge-like filter soaks up carbon dioxide. It takes two or three hours to fully saturate a filter, and then the process reverses: The box closes, and the collector is heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which releases the CO2 in a pure form that can be sold, made into other products, or buried underground. more

Direct air capture

Carbon dioxide can be removed from ambient air through chemical processes, sequestered, and stored. Traditional modes of carbon capture such as precombustion and postcombustion CO2 capture from large point sources can help slow the rate of increase of the atmospheric CO2 concentration, but only the direct removal of CO2 from the air, or “direct air capture” (DAC), can actually reduce the global atmospheric CO2concentration if combined with long-term storage of CO2.

A few engineering proposals have been made for removing CO2 from the atmosphere, but work in this area is still in its infancy. [29] Among the main technologies proposed, three of them stand out: Causticization with alkali and alkali-earth hydroxides,[30] carbonation,[31] and organic−inorganic hybrid sorbents consisting of amines supported in porous adsorbents. A 2016 article reviews the research in these various areas.[29]

One proposed method is by so-called artificial trees.[32][33] This concept, proposed by climate scientist Wallace S. Broecker and science writer Robert Kunzig,[34] imagines huge numbers of artificial trees around the world to remove ambient CO2. The technology is now being pioneered by Klaus Lackner, a researcher at the Earth Institute, Columbia University,[35] whose artificial tree technology can suck up to 1,000 times more CO2 from the air than real trees can,[citation needed] at a rate of about one ton of carbon per day if the artificial tree is approximately the size of an actual tree.[36][37] The CO2 would be captured in a filter and then removed from the filter and stored. more

Scientists Turned Carbon Dioxide into Oxygen by Zapping It with a Laser

The finding would explain early oxygen in Earth's atmosphere—and it's some fodder for sci-fi space breathing apparatuses.

Jason Koebler Oct 3 2014

Photosynthesis sure is a miracle, isn't it? It allows plants, bacteria, and algae to take carbon dioxide and, with the help of a little sunlight, turn it into the oxygen we all breathe. But now scientists have taken photosynthesis out of the equation and have managed to make oxygen (O2) by zapping carbon dioxide (CO2) with a laser.

In chemistry, the general wisdom is that molecules, if we were to anthropomorphize them, are lazy. Carbon dioxide, when its bonds are broken into its component parts, takes the "minimum energy path," meaning it will break into one oxygen atom and a carbon monoxide molecule (CO), because, as chemists Arthur Suits and David Parker explain in a new analysis in Science, CO "possesses a much more stable diatomic bond than O2."

If I were to do an ASCII art version of what the chemical bonds in carbon dioxide look like, it would be something like this:


Carbon is double bonded to the oxygen atoms, and it's way easier, chemically speaking, to simply lop off one of those bonds and create a CO molecule and an oxygen atom.

So, the conventional wisdom has been that under almost all circumstances, it'd be impossible to take carbon dioxide—say, from a human's exhalation, for instance—and turn it back into gaseous oxygen, which would require two oxygen atoms. But then, researchers at the University of California, Davis decided to try doing just that by exciting carbon dioxide using what's known as a "high energy vacuum ultraviolet laser."

It turns out that, in a highly excited (and still anthropomorphized) state, carbon dioxide and other molecules have a bit more energy to skip that minimum energy path and, like any agitated person/molecule, feel like "roaming," which is a chemical phenomenon in which chemical bonds will break in other ways.

The UC Davis researchers found that the chemical bonds did indeed break in other ways, and were able to turn carbon dioxide back into oxygen and a single carbon atom (they also describe the discovery in Science).

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Lots of folks dare call it treason

Trump really laid a turd in the punch bowl when he announced to the world that he trusted the word of Vladimir Putin over his own "intelligence" experts on Russiagate. The defenders of the conventional wisdom will be shaking with rage over that one for a long time—with "Progressives" leading the charge. Robert LaFollette (one of the founders of the Progressive movement) had his political career destroyed because he voted in the Senate against the USA entry into WW I. Pretty sure he would not have approved of the current war-mongering lynch mob.

For a guy with a reputation for lying, this was as close to the unvarnished truth as we have heard from a USA president since at least Carter. The Empire runs on lies—can't let any honesty creep into the conversation. And I am not sure what came over Trump but I'll chalk it up to Finland—the Nordics are notoriously honest and uncorrupt so maybe the air helped.

Because there is absolutely no hard evidence to back up the Russiagate claims, I always assumed that the backers of the narrative would eventually see the light and sheepishly re-enter a world where evidence still means something. But it hasn't happened yet and the unfounded accusations have been going on for almost two years.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

On Class and Climate Change

In 1899, Thorstein Veblen would publish perhaps the most interesting, and misunderstood, book ever. It was called The Theory of the Leisure Class. Many, perhaps most, of the readers of this scintillating tome consider it a wonderful work of satire that highlights the foibles of the idle rich, and those who would emulate their lifestyles. And while I would agree that many parts of Veblen’s analysis are screamingly funny, we miss the point if we assume that Veblen was merely trying to entertain. Because beneath the chuckles, there is a deadly serious class analysis that goes a very long way towards explaining why a problem like climate change doesn’t get treated as seriously as it should be.

In Veblen’s world, there are two basic classes. The Industrial Class organizes the community’s necessary work. The Leisure Classes fasten themselves on the backs of the industrial classes “through force and fraud” in the often successful attempt at getting something for nothing. The Marxists then ask, “Aren’t your industrial classes merely another name for the proletariat?” This is important—the answer is NO.

Back in the day when Marxists preached that they were the friends, advocates, and only true representatives of the Proletariat, there was always something demeaning in their analysis. When someone picks strawberries all day in the hot sun, the Marxist description of the Proletariat and their troubles is still surprisingly accurate. But what do you call an farmer with 2500 acres under cultivation, or an engineer, or a big building contractor, or any number of important and often high paying occupations? They are obviously Industrial Class jobs but they all come with very different problems than face someone doing stoop labor. Obviously, there is an incredible amount of stratification within the occupations that can be found under the heading of “organizing and performing the community’s necessary tasks.”

Just as the Industrial Classes are stratified, so are the Leisure Classes. There is a large gap in income and status between a pickpocket and a hedge fund manager. But while there are hundreds of differences between the two major classes, many quite profound, the most telling is that when the Leisure Classes engage in conspicuous consumption and waste, their highest calling is uselessness. On the other hand, the goal of the Industrial Class is to be useful.

This class analysis is almost universally despised by the academic idea police. The right wing hates it because so many of their elites are little more than well-dressed thieves. The “left” (especially the Marxist varieties) hates it because it opens the possibility that there are enlightened, imaginative, and quite necessary “capitalists.” But it continues to be relevant because it describes the existing social order so much better than probably all the competing class descriptions combined.

Week-end Wrap - July 14, 2018

Week-end Wrap - July 14, 2018
by Tony Wikrent
Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus

Bill Mitchell — Elements in a strategy for the Left
[via Mike Norman Economics 7-10-18]
In my recent book (with Thomas Fazi) – Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto Books, 2017) – a central organising concept is that a progressive future is only possible if progressive citizens do two things: 
1. Learn how the monetary system operates and understand the capacity of the currency issuer and the opportunities and constraints that the government has. In other words, educate ourselves so that we have the capacity to refute the neoliberal lies that sustains the current system that has seen progressive outcomes diminish markedly. 
2. Take control of the political process and expunge neoliberal factions from progressive political parties (like the Blairites in the British Labour Party, almost all the Australian Labor Party, the Wall-Street embedded elites in the US Democrats, much of the traditional machinery of the European Socialist parties etc).Reclaiming the state is about reclaiming the legislative and regulative capacity of the nation state so that it is directed at advancing well being for the many rather than the few, to steal Jeremy Corbyn’s so excellent catch-cry....
Mitchell is a proponent of Modern Monetary Theory, which argues that money can be created out of nothing, by either a bank, the banking system, or by government, and that since governments can create money just as well as banks, there is no need to worry about budget deficits, so long as the money created is used for productive purposes.  MMT explained, Sept. 8, 2015, and Wray on MMT, January 13, 2015

When North Dakota Farmers Blew Up Partisan Politics: the Nonpartisan League: By Focusing on Economic Cooperation, Early 20th-Century Small Landowners Pushed Back Against Crony Capitalism, by Michael J. Lansing, May 18, 2018 [Zocalo]
Jon Larson writes: "Last Thanksgiving, Tony produced a short post on the Nonpartisan League. Think of this as an update. I happen to think the history of the NPL is important because it shows how effective a movement can be if they have a workable agenda. Instead of running against parties and personalities, an agenda-driven party wins because they are FOR something. Even better, an agenda usually outlives even the best supporters. And the State Bank of North Dakota is arguably the best political idea Progressives ever had—the signal accomplishment that lives on to this day."

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

NPL in North Dakota (cont.)

Last Thanksgiving, Tony produced a short post on the Nonpartisan League. Think of this as an update. I happen to think the history of the NPL is important because it shows how effective a movement can be if they have a workable agenda. Instead of running against parties and personalities, an agenda-driven party wins because they are FOR something. Even better, an agenda usually outlives even the best supporters. And the State Bank of North Dakota is arguably the best political idea Progressives ever had—the signal accomplishment that lives on to this day.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Week-end Wrap - July 7, 2018

Week-end Wrap - July 7, 2018
by Tony Wikrent
Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus
Mexico Votes Overwhelmingly for “Change” by Electing López Obrador President
by CEPR, July 2, 2018 [The Real News Network]
“This is a triumph against a great deal of fear-mongering and ‘fake news’ that attempted to link López Obrador [AMLO] to Russia and that warned that his policies would bring economic disaster to Mexico,” CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said today. “But people in Mexico appear to be fed up with an economy that’s failed them for 40 years now. Poverty is worse than a quarter century ago, real wages are lower than in 1980, inequality is worsening....
Sounds just like USA. And what policy do USA and Mexico have in common? NAFTA. A race to the bottom.

[Democracy Now!, via Mike Norman Economics]
This is actually AMLO’s [López Obrador] re-election: He first won the presidency in 2006. But back then the thieving, scheming, blood-stained criminal gang that rules Mexico (and I’m being polite), declared AMLO’s dissolute opponent the winner. In 2006, rather than concede to vote thievery, lick his wounds and toddle off on a book tour, AMLO took his supporters into the streets, raised hell, blocked the capital’s central square for months, held a People’s Inaugural, and vowed to never, ever concede. 
And tonight, twelve years later, AMLO has won a crushing, too-big-to-steal victory in Mexico’s presidential election. 
And while the Good and Great told him he’d be finished if he kept protesting the stolen election, he made counting every vote the very first of his five-point campaign platform. He understands that even those with empty stomachs also hunger for democracy. And there’s a lesson here. Are you listening, Al Gore? Mr. Kerry and Mrs. Clinton? 
....So, far, 132 officials and candidates have been murdered in this election cycle. I spoke with voting rights activist (and movie star) Yareli Arizmendi in Mexico City, who told me that the old guard politicians were tied up with the Zetas and other drug gangs. In all fairness, I should note that many victims were not just AMLO allies but also PRI, Green Party and independents who challenged the control of their cities and states by narco-traficantes. 
Indeed, AMLO’s campaign gained fuel when, in 2014, the public learned of the disappearance of 43 students (and 3 investigating journalists). Evidence now indicates they were hacked to pieces and dissolved in acid by the Guerreros Unidos gang – on orders from a politician connected to the ruling party.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Week-end Wrap - June 30, 2018

Week-end Wrap - June 30, 2018
by Tony Wikrent
Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus

Democratic Elite Scrambles to Respond to Ocasio-Cortez 
by Norman Solomon, June 29, 2018 [ConsortiumNews , via Naked Capitalism]
But on Wednesday afternoon, the party committee approved a proposal to prevent superdelegates from voting on the presidential nominee during the first ballot at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. (The last time the party’s convention went to a second ballot was 1952.)
From Naked Capitalism, by Lambert Strether, Water Cooler, June 29, 2018:
🎂🌥"pie in the sky" is code for:
1) you're a threat: your proposals make economic, political, moral sense to too many people
2) I want the status quo even if it's reactionary or economically irrational
3) I will always fund 2) but cast 1) as out of reach 

How Long Can The Federal Reserve Stave Off the Inevitable?, by Paul Craig Roberts, June 26, 2018 [Institute for Political Economy via Mike Norman Economics]
When are America’s global corporations and Wall Street going to sit down with President Trump and explain to him that his trade war is not with China but with them? The biggest chunk of America’s trade deficit with China is the offshored production of America’s global corporations. When the corporations bring the products that they produce in China to the US consumer market, the products are classified as imports from China. 
Six years ago when I was writing The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism, I concluded on the evidence that half of US imports from China consist of the offshored production of US corporations. Offshoring is a substantial benefit to US corporations because of much lower labor and compliance costs. Profits, executive bonuses, and shareholders’ capital gains receive a large boost from offshoring. The costs of these benefits for a few fall on the many—the former American employees who formerly had a middle class income and expectations for their children. 
In my book, I cited evidence that during the first decade of the 21st century “the US lost 54,621 factories, and manufacturing employment fell by 5 million employees. Over the decade, the number of larger factories (those employing 1,000 or more employees) declined by 40 percent. US factories employing 500-1,000 workers declined by 44 percent; those employing between 250-500 workers declined by 37 percent, and those employing between 100-250 workers shrunk by 30 percent."

Friday, June 29, 2018

Volkswagen at Pikes Peak

The only time I ever drove the road to the top of Pikes Peak was back in the 1980s when the final miles were still gravel. Because the air is so thin and the road had so many treacherous drop-offs, I approached the whole project carefully—even though I was driving a rental car. By the time I got to the top (14,115', 4302 m) the car was hardly producing any power and I was worried I could even restart it if I turned it off.

I came away impressed by the courage necessary to race such a road and the technical problems facing anyone who wanted to do it fast. It required almost a half hour to drive a stretch of road the serious racers could cover in ten minutes.

So now we see that a new record has been set by an electric car. The final nails are being driven into the coffin for the internal combustion engine. This was the first time that an EV won an all-comers competition against ICE cars. It will not be the last.

It's a good thing that EVs are proving their objective superiority. It wasn't so long ago that owning an EV was an exercise in how many hardships one could endure. That has changed.

Other links:

Why electric vehicles will continue to dominate Pikes Peak after record-shattering run

How the VW I.D. R Went from Daydream to Pikes Peak Record Holder in 249 Days

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Week-end Wrap - June 23, 2018

Week-end Wrap - June 23, 2018
by Tony Wikrent
Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus

The Supreme Court Has Decided to Shut Workers Out of the Courthouse for Good
[byCristian Farias, May 21, 2018 New York Magazine, via Avedon's Sideshow]
...the Supreme Court ruled ... that workers who are made to sign arbitration agreements that rule out class or collective lawsuits may not then band together and rely on federal labor law to give them legal recourse to sue their employers anyway. The ruling is a devastating blow to employees who are required to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of employment — according to one report, more than 60 million workers operate under such an arrangement, which effectively forces them to resolve their disputes with their employers in a quasi-judicial hearing rather than in a court of law. Of those, about 25 million are subject to a class-action bar. 
So high were the stakes in Epic, that during the hearing for the case — which saw lawyers for employers, workers, the Department of Justice, and the National Labor Relations Board all squaring off with everyone else — Justice Stephen Breyer openly wondered if a ruling for the employers would effectively cut out 'the entire heart of the New Deal.'" 
....Dissenting, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her liberal colleagues called the majority’s conclusion “egregiously wrong,” and in the process offered a brief history of labor law in the United States. In a sense, they seem to see the Epic controversy as part of a larger retreat of sorts to the Lochner years, when an activist Supreme Court was unafraid to strike down, among other things, child labor laws and other workplace protections under freedom-of-contract principles. That era is long gone, but Ginsburg wouldn’t be too far off in fearing a return to it, as some conservatives and libertarians have suggested we should. In one eye-opening footnote, Ginsburg puts the spotlight on some of the parties to this set of cases to undermine the majority’s entire premise for its ruling: that arbitration agreements are good and wholesome and statutorily sound because they’re freely negotiated between equals: 
Were the ‘agreements’ genuinely bilateral? Petitioner Epic Systems Corporation e-mailed its employees an arbitration agreement requiring resolution of wage and hours claims by individual arbitration. The agreement provided that if the employees ‘continue[d] to work at Epic,’ they would ‘be deemed to have accepted th[e] Agreement.’ Ernst & Young similarly e-mailed its employees an arbitration agreement, which stated that the employees’ continued employment would indicate their assent to the agreement’s terms. Epic’s and Ernst & Young’s employees thus faced a Hobson’s choice: accept arbitration on their employer’s terms or give up their jobs.
The link to the "suggestions" by conservatives and libertarians is to a Cato Institute (founded and funded by the Koch brothers and other rich reactionaries) June 2011 book review promoting a Cato book calling for the historical rehabilitation of the Lochner doctrine: "The Progressives’ anger at the Lochner majority was not thus exclusively about its reasoning, but also to a great degree about its unwillingness to overlook constitutional controls that would limit the creation of a “union-led social democracy in place of a regime of general contractual freedom.” " It is short, and worth reading to get a sense of how the conservative and libertarian apparatus is engaged in a far-ranging attack on the achievements in social and economic justice under Democratic Party rule from 1932 until 1968. The framing of this attack is often amazingly sly and insidious:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

James Hansen 30 years on

I remember James Hansen's 1988 testimony in front of the Senate as if it were yesterday—has it really been 30 years? Hit me like a lightening bolt. Most importantly, Hansen had instant credibility with me because I knew his backstory. We who live in the world powered by our land-grant universities like to tout the contributions of these revered institutions. James Hansen was one of us. He was the fifth child of dirt-poor tenant farmers in Iowa. But because of public schools like the University of Iowa he would graduate as a world-class scientist. In fact, he became one of James van Allen's fair-haired boys. Yes the guy who got his name on the Van Allen Belts was an astrophysics professor at Iowa. (NOW do you see why folks around here get touchy about insults to the land-grant university?)

Hansen must lead a miserable existence. He knows that while there are variations on the outcome of climate change, none are good. And as it gets increasingly worse with nothing more interesting happening than agreements to try to do better, it must get cripplingly frustrating. Compared to the problem, this is about on the same level as calling for prayer meetings. But as his frustration has grown over the years, he has engaged in symbolic actions like getting arrested at the White House. Don't blame the man but climate change is not a matter addressed with the tactics of Gandhi's Salt March.

My take is that climate change is a problem that lives at the intersection of technology and economics. Hansen is a true scientist and sometimes we forget that this is a different occupation from Progressive economist, industrial designer, or civil engineer. His revelations on climate change were sourced in his investigations of the atmosphere of Venus. World-class science. For this, Hansen is forever forgiven for tactics born of frustration. I just wish that once in a while, he would sound a bit more like that other towering intellect from Iowa, Henry Wallace.

Renewable energy in India

While I was at the University of Minnesota, I had several neighbors from India—engineering and computer science majors (yes, there was a time when Minnesota had several leading-edge computer makers including Honeywell and Control Data.) These young men were very interested in India's modernization and discussed development issues a lot. At one point, one grumped, "Our problem is that we have but two sources of energy—nuclear and dung."

That might have been true in 1971 but as the clip below shows, it is not true any longer. India has a bunch of serious environmental problems but when it comes to converting to sustainable energy supplies, they have an enormous advantage—they don't have to replace as much embedded infrastructure as someplace like USA and Western Europe. Plus they have an excellent system for training young STEM students and a vast labor pool to maintain the sometimes fussy solar and wind systems.

Go India!


India eyeing a new monster 100GW solar-capacity goal

Country still working to meet its current solar goals and staggering under pollution.

MEGAN GEUSS - 6/24/2018, 8:00 AM

Earlier this week, India's energy minister R.K. Singh suggested that the country is considering issuing a tender for 100 gigawatts of solar energy. PV Tech confirmed the report, which added that the tender could be tied to solar panel-manufacturing buildout. In 2015, India set a goal to reach 100GW of solar capacity as part of its larger aim of 175GW of renewable energy in general by 2022. This latest 100GW tender would be for a 2030 or 2035 target.

The existing goal is ambitious, so a stretch goal further into the future is even more so. The country's current total solar capacity is just 24.4GW, according to The Economic Times. (For context, as of this month the US has about 55.9GW of installed solar capacity total.) But although the solar sector there is still small compared to the US, it's growing quickly. Utility-scale solar capacity grew by 72 percent in the previous year, The Economic Times noted.

Johannes Urpelainen, an India-based fellow at the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy, said that the 100GW tender wouldn't be for one massive plant but would represent financing for small projects.

"Solar is very popular in India," Urpelainen wrote to Ars. "It's not expensive, Prime Minister Modi repeatedly talks about it, and people everywhere now see solar being used. I have been going to India for the past six years, and in 2012 solar was still very rare. Now it is everywhere."

Keeping the momentum on buildout would be significant for India, a country where explosive economic growth and a continued reliance on coal have created terribly polluted cities and skylines drenched in smog. (Despite all this new solar, India also added 4.6GW of coal-fired capacity in the previous year, the Times noted.) In his comments this week, Singh said there is an urgent need for renewable energy in India, where 20 of its cities are ranked among the most polluted in the world.

In addition to adding capacity, India has also been building out its Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS).

Urpelainen told Ars that a single 100GW solar tender would be ambitious but feasible as long as India's economy keeps growing. "The cost of a 100GW tender at current prices could be in the ballpark of 100 billion dollars," he said, "but renewable energy prices will continue to decrease. If the government insists on domestic manufacturing, though, the cost could be higher because the inexpensive Chinese panels would be inadmissible." more

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Week-end Wrap - June 16, 2018

Week-end Wrap - June 16, 2018
by Tony Wikrent
Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus

Sen. Sanders writes op-ed: Trump administration isn't slowing renewables' momentum
(6/6) [Wind Energy Association]
A renewable energy revolution is sweeping the US and will continue to do so as prices fall even further, despite the Trump administration's efforts to prop up fossil fuels and gas, writes Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Sanders touts his efforts to bolster renewables in Washington, D.C., including co-sponsoring a bill that would end federal support for fossil fuels and encourage a shift to 100% renewables by 2050.

IEA: Global renewable energy spending is outpacing other sources [Wind Energy Association]
Falling wind costs and other factors propelled global spending on renewables to $297 billion in 2016 -- more than double the amount invested in fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency. The report added that renewable sources will likely account for 56% of all generating capacity brought online through 2025. 

Solar Has Overtaken Gas and Wind as Biggest Source of New U.S. Power [Bloomberg, via Wind Energy Association]. June 12, 2018
“Despite tariffs that President Trump imposed on imported panels, the U.S. installed more solar energy than any other source of electricity in the first quarter. Developers installed 2.5 gigawatts of solar in the first quarter, up 13 percent from a year earlier....
Billions in U.S. solar projects shelved after Trump panel tariff [Reuters, via Naked Capitalism].
“President Donald Trump’s tariff on imported solar panels has led U.S. renewable energy companies to cancel or freeze investments of more than $2.5 billion in large installation projects, along with thousands of jobs, the developers told Reuters. That’s more than double the about $1 billion in new spending plans announced by firms building or expanding U.S. solar panel factories to take advantage of the tax on imports.

On trade, Donald Trump was right. The rest of the G7 were wrong. by George Monbiot, 13 Jun 2018 [The Guardian, via Naked Capitalism]. There were some people who warned before the 2016 election that the Democratic Party's refusal to actually deal with economic inequality (not just talk about it) would allow Trumo to run to the left of Clinton on many issues, especiallytrade.
In arguing for a sunset clause to the Nafta trade agreement, this odious man is exposing the corruption of liberal democracy.... 
Even if the people of the US, Canada and Mexico had explicitly consented to Nafta in 1994, the idea that a decision made then should bind everyone in North America for all time is repulsive. So is the notion, championed by the Canadian and Mexican governments, that any slightly modified version of the deal agreed now should bind all future governments. 
But the people of North America did not explicitly consent to Nafta. They were never asked to vote on the deal, and its bipartisan support ensured that there was little scope for dissent. The huge grassroots resistance in all three nations was ignored or maligned. The deal was fixed between political and commercial elites, and granted immortality. 
In seeking to update the treaty, governments in the three countries have candidly sought to thwart the will of the people.
The end of net neutrality: The US ruling elite escalates campaign of internet censorship [WorldSocialist Web, 2 June 2018, via Naked Capitalism]
This is not the outcome merely of a change in administrations. It is part of a shift in the class policy of the ruling elite. The 2016 election, with its broad abstention by the working class amid widespread hostility to Hillary Clinton, the favored candidate of Wall Street, and the subsequent strike movement by teachers independently of the unions, has made clear to the ruling elite that the imposition of internet censorship is necessary for the defense of its domination of society.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Final beta (Climate Change video)

This version incorporates most of the suggestions I have gotten, mostly from Tony's Progressive caucus, Grandpa Smet and my favorite political operative, Da Wege!

So this covers the main points I had in mind:

1) The science of climate change is overwhelming.

2) The reasons why climate change is so difficult to address are mostly structural and technological.

3) Only a massive building effort can alter these structural problems.

Enjoy the video. It is 18:03 minutes long. If you enjoy the music track, it is because some of the music is especially appropriate. For example, the song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" topped the charts the same year James Hansen testified before Congress, or that the hymn, "Nearer My God to thee" was published the same year oil was discovered in Pennsylvania—the same industry that was soon to be monopolized by a devout Baptist Sunday School teacher named Rockefeller.